Effingham Manor Winery Clears Major Hurdle

Virginia Circuit Court rules in favor of the Prince William County winery

by Linda Jones McKee
wine effingham manor
An onsite winemaking facility was built in the same style as Effingham Manor (above).
Nokesville, Va.—May 26 was a very good day for Chris Pearmund, owner of Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, Va., and managing partner for Effingham Manor Winery in Nokesville. On that day, Prince William Circuit Court Judge Steven Smith ruled in favor of Pearmund and the Effingham Manor Winery in a suit that had been brought by 12 homeowners in the Effingham Manor subdivision. The neighbors had argued that the winery was in violation of the homeowner association’s covenant against allowing commercial traffic on the community’s private roads. However, the previous leadership of the association had granted Pearmund an exemption from subdivision rules for his plans for Effingham Manor, and Pearman can now open the Effingham Manor Winery.

“The biggest domino fell,” Pearmund told Wines & Vines, “and we think the rest of the dominos will now fall in place.” He anticipates receiving the license for a farm winery at Effingham Manor from the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control within the next week. “I hope to be open by the first of July,” he stated. “We’re ready, we just need the ABC license.”

According to Pearmund, the main house at Effingham Manor was built between 1765 and 1767 for William Alexander, a member of the Prince William County Committee of Safety in 1774 and a lieutenant colonel of the county’s militia during the Revolutionary War.

The two story, Tidewater-style mansion originally was the main house for a 42 square-mile plantation, which was divided into smaller farms after Alexander died in 1814. Electricity, central heating and indoor plumbing were added in a major restoration project circa 1937, and by the 1950s, the property was a 687-acre cattle farm. The owners sold the farm in 2004 to a developer, who constructed large homes on part of the property. When the developer went bankrupt, the bankers approached Pearmund about taking over Effingham Manor, renovating the house and adding a winery while retaining the historic character of the property.

Pearmund put together a group of investors, purchased the manor house on a 16-acre lot and has spent the past year and a half renovating the manor and its grounds.

He also built an 8,800-square-foot winery facility nearby. “The manor house is front and center of the entrance; the new winery building is offset to the left 250 feet and at a right angle, as subordinate to the manor house, but with the same architectural style,” Pearmund said. The front entrance to the 3,000-square-foot tasting room has pillars that are same style as the pillars on the manor house and the siding is similar.

The production facility is almost ready for the 2017 harvest. “The winemaking equipment is in place, or on a boat. We have custom-made wine tanks from Italy that are due to arrive in the next two weeks,” Pearmund said. He plans to install 90 barrels and make approximately 2,500 cases at Effingham Manor this fall. Until now, he has produced 3,500 cases of wine for the Effingham Manor label at the Pearmund Cellars winery. The 2015 rosé from Effingham Manor Winery received the Rosé of the Year award at the 2016 Indy International Wine Competition.

In the future, Pearmund would like to add more land to the existing property and plant a vineyard of about 15 acres. Currently there is a 4-acre vineyard planted with Chambourcin and Norton. He plans to install a stone patio outside the tasting room to give more space for events. Because the manor house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, a special-use permit will be required in order for the winery to conduct house tours or tastings and wine sales there.

More information including before and after photos of the renovations at Effingham Manor are available online. The winery is located at 14337 Trotters Ridge Place in Nokesville, Va.

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