Lush, rolling vineyards stretch toward the sunset as guests chat with friends and sip their wine, leaving behind the troubles of their day to day lives.
That’s the vision Williamsburg Winery President and CEO Patrick Duffeler II had in mind when he announced plans for the construction of a new two-story veranda and adjacent terrace in a James City County press release.
The veranda and terrace will offer guests a chance to relax as they enjoy the view of the winery’s vineyards, a gentle breeze, friendly conversation and a glass of wine.
“It seemed like one of those things that just came about from a couple of us walking around the tavern and the vineyard and thinking, ‘My goodness, this view would be fantastic if it were 10 feet up in the air,” Duffeler said.
The veranda and terrace will be built next to the Gabriel Archer Tavern and boast views overlooking the Albariño and Petit Verdot vineyards. Both the veranda and terrace will be open-air.
“I want to make sure that everybody is able to catch the breeze,” Duffeler said.
He added he hopes the additions are open by William & Mary’s homecoming Oct. 18-21 but that is not yet set in stone.
Unwind and relax
The Williamsburg Winery opened in 1988. Duffeler said at first the winery focused on selling through distribution channels rather than providing a guest experience through tours and tastings. At the time, he said the winery only had a very small tasting room.
“It used to be going to wine country was very much transactional in nature,” he said. “The expectation was you’d go to a winery, you’d taste some wine, and if you liked it you’d buy a bottle.”
He said over the years he began to see other wineries offer more than the opportunity to sample and buy wine.
“Today people are looking to use wine country to get away from it all,” Duffeler said. “Ultimately people want to get away, unwind, relax — and certainly wine is notorious for helping people relax.”
Duffeler said the veranda will be stocked with chairs, couches and coffee tables, perfect for kicking back and relaxing with family and friends.
The veranda is about 2,600 square feet, with room for 80 to 100 guests. There will be additional seating on the 1,100 square foot terrace.
“Things changed over the years, and we just finished our 31st harvest,” Duffeler said. “The market has fundamentally changed. A lot of our competitors are offering that casual enjoyment of wine space, and we were not. We had to make changes and invest and offer what people are looking for.”