Published Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2021, 9:44 am
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Above Ground Winery is located in Middlebrook at the base of Little North Mountain. Photo courtesy Above Ground Winery.
Virginia native Matt Barbagallo and his wife, Mary Beth chose a former cattle farm in Middlebrook as the place to locate their Above Ground Winery when they made the move to Augusta County in 2014.
Located on just over 14 acres, the vineyard, winery and farmhouse property sit at the base of Little North Mountain, at an elevation of 2,100 feet that makes it one of the highest grape wine-producing vineyards in the state.
In 2016 the vineyard was planted with Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and later Pinot Noir. Matt Barbagallo converted the former tractor and animal barn to a production facility and tasting room using nights and weekends to complete the project.
The crafted wines appeal to a broader audience than what was produced at the earlier iteration of Above Ground Winery in Loudoun County. The tasting includes some familiar wines that include a stainless steel Chardonnay – Exit Strategy, an off-dry red blend – Wild River Red, and the signature blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot – Karma.
In addition, two fruit wines have been added to the menu, Dividing Ridge White – apple wine and Dividing Ridge Red – raspberry wine.
More wine varieties are planned in coming years – a plum port style wine, reserve Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a big and bold red wine blend.
“Making this move to Augusta has already proven to provide a great network of support from the community,” Barbagallo said. “We wanted to find a place where the soils provided the terroir, which would be a distinguishing characteristic of Shenandoah Valley wines. So far, we’ve accomplished that.”
Barbagallo sees Augusta County as a prime location for future growth for Virginia wine. Augusta County’s 971 square miles lends a lot of opportunity to expand Virginia’s wine industry.
Matt and Mary Beth are always revisiting their business plan to incorporate the needs of their guests. Future plans include walking trails to the vineyard, refurbishing the bunk house, vineyard expansion, and of course a dedicated tasting room with views of both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Allegheny Mountains.
“Looking toward the future we are optimistic that we will provide a visitor experience that provides the hospitality our guests deserve,” Mary Beth Barbagallo said.
You may visit for a tour and wine tasting experience Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.