Located where Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei first began the American wine revolution.
- Considered to have “one of the region’s most consistent track records”
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Convinced by Benjamin Franklin and under the sponsorship of Thomas Jefferson’s merchant friend John Adams, on September 2nd, 1773 an Italian viticulturist from Tuscany named Filippo Mazzei (or Philip Mazzei) set off to Virginia with European vines. Mazzei was headed to Augusta County, where the Virginia Legislature had promised him land. En route, Mazzei and Adams stopped at Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson convinced Mazzei to become his neighbor and gave Mazzei 193 acres south of Monticello - part of our present day land. The following year Mazzei purchased an additional 281 acre tract of land from Edward Carter. Mazzei built himself a house which he called Colle, and put his men to work clearing the land and planting vines.
In 1778 Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and other Colonists sent Philip Mazzei to Italy, to borrow money for the American Revolution from Mazzei’s friend the Grand Duke of Tuscany. While he was abroad, Mazzei rented Colle to Hessian General and P.O.W. Baron von Riedesel. Within one week, the General's horses trampled the vines and “destroyed the whole labour of three or four years, and thus ended an experiment, which, from every appearance, would in a year or two more have established the practicability of that branch of culture in America.