Written by Heidi Baumstark | Photos by Jennifer Gray
A blend of old and new. That’s one way to describe Three Fox Vineyards in Delaplane. The new owners, Tim and Emily Faltemier, are busy implementing cool, hip plans — and adding a brewery to boot.
In June 2020, this young, professional couple in their late 30s purchased Three Fox Vineyards from original owners, John and Holli Todhunter, who planted the first vines in 2002. Under the parent company of Three Fox Farm LLC, Three Fox Vineyards remains at the same location along with the addition of Three Fox Farm Brewery.
“My wife and I love Napa Valley and would go with friends to wineries and spend relaxing afternoons picnicking,” Tim said. “We had been looking for about three years for a place like this. And with a 10-year-old and an eight-year-old, we wanted to create a place where we could bring our kids and dog.”
And they aren’t alone. They knew other families were scoping out places that welcomed their whole crew: a place to come, relax, and watch their kids enjoy a pleasant afternoon in the Virginia countryside. With Three Fox, they nailed it.
Tim and Emily Faltemier.
“Emily is a physician in Centreville, Virginia and I’m a government contract worker,” Tim said. “We were co-owners/investors in a brewery in Northern Virginia and loved the atmosphere; we’d go there on weekends. We gained so much knowledge as investors and found Virginia could have a great beer-following cult.”
Their goal is to create world-class products. “Playing with wine and beer was very interesting to us,” he said, adding that they saw other Virginia wineries offering both. But they still wanted to retain and honor the vineyard tradition started by the Todhunters with the vines they planted almost 20 years ago. “People want to get away,” Tim said. And here, they can.
In the heart of Virginia’s hunt and horse country, Three Fox has 15 acres of vines on 50 acres of rolling hillside property in northwestern Fauquier County. It is one of 26 wineries and vineyards in the Fauquier Wine Trail, running through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When guests drive up the gravel path, they are greeted by a trio of statue foxes. While searching for properties in 2001, Holli spotted three furry foxes running on a grassy hill. And the vineyard’s name was born.
After soil testing, the Todhunters realized Italian varietals could be grown successfully. After vines were planted in 2002, the Todhunters opened their tasting room in 2004. Three Fox retains its Italian focus, which matches Emily’s Italian roots. The vineyard is planted with estate varietals such as nebbiolo, sangiovese, pinot grigio, viognier, cabernet Franc, and merlot, and in the coming years, more. They also purchase grapes from other Virginia vineyards.
Creek at Three Fox Vineyards.
What about the hops for beer? Well, they’ve already been planted. “That’s the first thing we did,” Tim said. With COVID, they opened an outdoor tent over the summer. In October, they are building their brewery onsite, and in November, will be offering beer. A large open-air pavilion is in the works to host parties, showers, weddings, and corporate events allowing for four-season capability. “We’ve gotten a lot of help from friends and family and expect it to be completed by December,” he said.
Richard Thompson is their creative winemaker and brewer. “Richard wants to use the wild raspberries growing on our property and add it in the beer-making process, which is great to experiment with, since beer doesn’t take long, and you can make small batches,” Tim said. “If one doesn’t turn out, we can adjust as we go along.” In spring 2021, they will plant grains such as wheat and barley.
They want their products to be cutting edge, using new techniques. “We’re not afraid to experiment,” Tim said. “I’m an engineer, so I like trying new things. With wines, we can try different types of barrels, grapes, and equipment. We want to keep it fresh and offer the best quality. We’re excited to implement new changes but are respectful of the winery’s original roots.”
Tim and Emily Faltemier.
Guests are free to bring their own picnic or purchase the light fare available for purchase. Guests have plenty of options for sitting — the vineyard’s picnic areas, which include a large meadow, hillside tables, patios (tented/heated in winter), or one of the creek-side picnic tables. They even offer cornhole/bean bag tosses and have grass bocce courts.
The vineyard invites guests to join their cellar club where membership has its perks. Members get exclusive access to the vineyard during quarterly wine pickup parties and receive 10 percent off all purchases — plus, free tastings at every visit.
By combining their passion for life and sipping on wine and beer in a relaxed family setting, the Faltemiers offer a healthy dose of “La Dolce Vita” (“the sweet life” in Italian) right in the Virginia Piedmont. ML
The winery is located at 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane. For details, call 540-364-6073 or visit threefoxvineyards.com.
Published in the October 2020 issue of Middleburg Life.