HAMPTON — After he was stationed in Italy for six years, Chris Fox, an Army reservist and geospatial engineer, fell in love with wine and decided open up a winery in Phoebus.
“The closest wine bar is in the Williamsburg area and the next closest is in Norfolk, Virginia Beach,” he said. “I saw that there was a need.”
The winery, located off East Mellen Street, will be a more comfortable and relaxed winery, compared to Williamsburg Winery, which has an outdoor, open space and tends to be loud, Fox said.
He plans to source his wine from local Virginia wineries as well as import some from his friend’s winery in Italy, La Vigna Dolce and another winery in Florida called Morale.
There will be comfortable bar seating, a few tables and Edison light bulbs to add to the ambiance. In addition to the wine selections, customers can buy from a selection of charcuterie boards with cheeses and cheesecakes.
Fox said customers can access WiFi through the winery — they can even buy cigars.
“I want it to be more intimate, somewhere you can take a date with,” he said, adding he wants it to feel romantic.
He said he plans on selling 10 to 15 wine tastings as well as beer since more men will be familiar with it and to “get them in the door.”
“I’ve realized a lot of people are scared of wine,” he said. “I want to expand their perception of wine,” he said. “It’s not just something your grandma drinks.”
Fox, who also attends Old Dominion University full-time, plans to open the winery in late November-early December timeframe before he graduates with a degree in geography.
Once open, people will be able to buy Gluhwein wine, a German wine cooked in a crockpot with spices — a popular drink in the winter time, just in time for the annual tree lighting ceremony in Phoebus.
Together with his girlfriend, Morgan Diercks and his Army buddy, Fernando “FiFi” Feliciano, the trio and co-owners will run the day to day operations of the winery.
Fox and his business partners are leasing the building. The building also has a one bedroom apartment above the winery which Fox plans to turn into an AirBnB.
Other plans include adding outside seating in the springtime, paint nights, yoga and wine and possibly Latin night, taught by his Army friend at Fort Bragg, who just so happens to be an instructor.
So why call it Foxtail Winery? It pays homage to Fox’s name.
“And people do like foxes,” he added.
Foxtail Winery, 15 E. Mellen St., will open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m. Hours are subject to change.