Have you ever sipped a nice glass of wine in a building that changed history? My partner in crime, Jim, and I did – but as far as the Vint Hill Winery was concerned “we were never there.”
Located in the historic barns at Vint Hill Farm Station, the tasting room is in the actual building where in 1943 our military intercepted the German encryption codes that started the end of World War II. Many of their wine bottles have artistic labels depicting the pin up girls found on the nose art of American bombers and fighter planes of the time, and are nicknamed after these inspiring ladies. We sipped on a nice, full-bodied red blend called “Enigma” in the simple, small tasting room which overlooks the workfloor where – if you’re there on the right day – you can watch them make the wine.
Originally a dairy farm in Warrenton, Virginia, in the 1940s the farmer told an army buddy that with an antenna stretched to the top of his silo he could listen to radio broadcasts from as far away as Berlin. Two weeks later, the government bought the farm and for the next 55 years Vint Hill farm served as a secret spying base for the U.S. Army. Today it hosts the covert wineworks of the Vint Hill Winery, as well as a small Cold War Museum. Considering it is not very big, the free museum is chock full of cold war memorabilia including mementos, uniforms, signs, and even a Soviet era rocket booster! The staff at Vint Hill Winery are super knowledgeable and happy to share their own cold war stories. It’s well worth a walk though! (If you’re not into wine, pair your visit to the museum with a visit to Old Busthead Brewing Company, just across the parking lot.)
Vint Hill Winery is well worth a visit for the history, the wine, and the reminiscing! But remember, as their tag-line notes: “you were never here.”