Williamsburg Winery

Williamsburg Winery

About

The Williamsburg Winery has been rated for the “Seventh” consecutive year “As one of the Worlds Best Wine Producers” by Decanter Magazine of London, 2007-2014. Wines produced here are appealing to a broad range of wine lovers from the occasional wine drinker to the enthusiast with production of over 60,000 cases annually. More than 30 acres of vineyard surround the winery offering a beautiful backdrop to the Old World-style village where the winery, the Gabriel Archer Tavern and Wedmore Place are located.

Features

  • Your Unforgettable Wine and Culinary Experience Awaits!

Additional Information

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Winemaker

Matthew Meyer
Vice President, Winemaker

Matthew came to wine at an early age; he purports to have swirled his milk as a child!

Born in Great Britain, Matthew learned to appreciate wine from his father. Together they spent many years collecting and drinking wines from around the world while traveling and living in different parts of the world. During this youthful sojourn, Matthew immersed himself in the local culture, cuisine and wine.
Matthew attended one of the world’s premier wine schools, the University of California at Davis, where he obtained a double degree in Oenology and Viticulture with a minor in Business and Marketing. Matthew was elected President of the prestigious Davis Enology and Viticulture Organization, where the focus of the organization was to promote wine and maintain and nurture relationships with other wine schools. He also raised funds for scholarship programs.

Upon graduation, Matthew worked for Mike Grgich at Grgich Hills Wine Cellars in Napa Valley California. Grigich is best known for being the winemaker who produced the chardonnay that played a pivotal role at the ‘Judgment of Paris’, conducted in 1976, by noted wine expert Steven Spurrier where the California wines ascended to the top steps of the international wine stage.

Matthew was recruited by Heitz Wine Cellars, one of the premiere wineries in the world and known for its ‘Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon’. It was here that Matthew apprenticed under the Heitz family and Joe Norman. Later as Cellar Master/Assistant Winemaker he took over the Cellar Select Chardonnay program. Collectively, Matthew, like a fine wine, had come of age and was now well-prepared to create his brand of wines in a new and challenging environment.

Matthew came to The Williamsburg Winery’s as our new Winemaker in 2002 and envisioned that Virginia has the potential for being the next big wine region in America. Validation of Matthew’s belief came to us this year, when noted wine educator, Kevin Zraly, visited the winery and joined Matthew and a few of his Virginia winemaking contemporaries for dinner. At the conclusion of the dinner, Kevin shared that he had recently completed a 16-country world tour to bring his acclimation with the latest developments in wine up-to-date. His findings?….Kevin believes that the next two hottest regions for wine, in his estimation, are South Africa and Virginia. Yes, Virginia has arrived on the international wine stage.

In April of this year, The Williamsburg Winery issued 5 wines to Decanter Magazine’s ‘World Wine Awards’. According to Steven Spurrier, it is ‘the most prestigious wine competition in the world’. Taking a field of 10,000 internationally sourced wines, the panels ultimately produce a roster of 400 medalists, amongst which….all 5 of Matthew’s wines were so recognized. Matthew had truly made his mark.

History

Our 300 acre farm, known as Wessex Hundred, is home to The Williamsburg Winery. The use of Hundred to name a property dates to the Colonial era and describes parcels of land sufficient to support a hundred families regardless of actual acreage.

In 1606, the newly-formed Virginia Company sent three ships westward to the New World to settle a permanent English colony. Led by Bartholomew Gosnold, with Gabriel Archer second in command, the expedition sailed up the James River and came upon a point of land on a protected tributary. The ground was high, easily defended, and the soil was excellent – which foretold of the land’s later usage. Archer insisted that the expedition look no further, but he was outvoted despite his considerable experience in such matters. The expedition continued on the James River and moved on to a less hospitable spot the following day, May 13, 1607. The place was Jamestown and became the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

The farm, by then known as Archer’s Hope, was subject to the Twelfth Acte of 1619, prescribing that each settler must plant at least 10 vines for the purpose of making wine on his property. Records show that the earliest settler was John Johnson who farmed 85 acres at this location, and his leasehold was the 19th land transaction of record in British America. Johnson farmed 85 acres of the property and would have been the first person to plant grapevines in keeping with the Twelfth Acte. Johnson passed away in 1636, and the destruction of records during the Civil War created a 100 year void in the ownership of the land.

By the time of the American Revolution, the land was owned by Reverend William Bland, a graduate of the College of William and Mary (the second oldest university in the country behind Harvard University). Bland was an active member of the community and a frequent patron of Raleigh Tavern. The Tavern was meeting spot for proponents of independance and a hotbed for fierce debate.

The land played a further role in history when, in September 1781, the main body of the combined American and French armies under Marechal de St. Simon, after sailing south from Annapolis, disembarked at the mouth of Archer’s Hope Creek. The armies marched across the property on their way to Williamsburg where they were to rendezvous with the main supply train and the Southern colonial army commanded by Marquis de Lafayette. From Williamsburg, they advanced to Yorktown, the site of the final major military confrontation of the American Revolution.

It is said that when you visit Wessex Hundred today, you can feel the drumbeat of history as it unfolded on these grounds. The events and the people who played pivotal roles in the rich history of Williamsburg live on through the products we create today.

For the next two centuries, the land was farmed by a variety of owners and tenants. Cattle, grain, and beans were raised here, and the farm assumed a more quiet role in the Tidewater Virginia community.

In 1983, Patrick and Peggy Duffeler, after an exhausting search covering 52 farms and plantations, came upon the land that would become home to The Williamsburg Winery. Planting of the vineyards began in 1985, and the first Crush was in 1987. The release of the iconic Governor’s White in 1988 was met with a Gold Medal awarded within two weeks of its release. Today, Governor’s White is the best selling Virginia wine in the state.

From humble beginnings, The Williamsburg Winery has experienced continuous growth through an expanding portfolio of wines. The introduction of the 2007 Adagio is, for the moment, the culmination of a single-minded goal to produce the highest quality wines in the world. Noted wine educator Kevin Zraly has opined that The Williamsburg Winery makes “some of the Best Wines in the World’.

The Team

Patrick Duffeler
Founder & Chairman

Patrick Duffeler was born in Belgium and educated in the United States. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Finance from the University of Rochester, New York, he embarked on his professional career at Eastman Kodak.

He later joined the international division of Philip Morris in Switzerland as Director of Marketing. Patrick was instrumental in the development of the Marlboro World Championship Team project which ushered the Marlboro brand into international motorsports, proving the value of promotional activity as a brand building mechanism. During these years, Patrick and his wife Peggy became the parents of two sons, Patrick II and Terence.

During this period, his travels took him not only to Europe, but also Latin America, the Far East, the Middle East, and Africa. He independantly became involved in the wine industry in Burgundy, France and forged relationships with those producers. Likewise, his interest in the hospitality industry burgeoned, and he had the chance to participate in a study for the development of a country hotel in Beaune, Burgundy. Both interests were the building blocks for a life-changing decision Patrick was about to make.

Patrick went on to serve as the International President of Fragrances Selective and balanced his time between two continents. In 1983, Patrick and Peggy, after an exhaustive search, puchased 300 acres of land in Williamsburg and founded The Williamsburg Winery in 1985. In 2007, his dream of a European-style Country Hotel came to fruition as the doors to Wedmore Place opened for the first time after 10 years of planning. Sadly, Peggy Duffeler, a driving force behind the business, passed away in 2004, not surviving to witness the launch of the hotel. Nevertheless, her spirit lives on throughout Wessex Hundred.
In 2007, Patrick was married to Françoise, a native of France.

Patrick Duffeler
President & CEO

Born in Switzerland, Patrick spent his youth in Western Europe before accompanying his family to Virginia. He has played an active role in the Company since its inception, first serving part-time in the tasting room to fund his education at the College of William and Mary.

Upon graduation, he joined the Winery as a sales representative while continuing his industry education, completing internships at wineries in Bordeaux and Cognac. Upon his return to the United States, he rejoined the Winery and became the assistant hospitality manager

Later, Patrick undertook coordination of the Winery’s import operations and oversaw purchasing and logistics. Production management and product development followed, and in 1998 he completed an MBA-level wine marketing course at the University of California at Davis. Upon his return Patrick assumed management of all on-site sales activities of the Winery including the retail shop, direct shipping, festivals, functions and the Gabriel Archer Tavern.

Patrick was named Vice President in 2006. That year, he also served as Treasurer and Board member of the Virginia Wine Experience in London. With the advent of Wedmore Place, Patrick served comprehensively on the project, ushering it from inception to grand opening.

Patrick’s touchpoint to The Williamsburg Winery and its business units is extensive and provides him with an excellent purview in his role as President and COO.

Ika Zaken
Executive Chef

Chef Ika Zaken was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1972. His mother taught cooking at a local cooking school and his father was in shipping. His parents both immigrated from Morocco as young children just after the statehood of Israel was established in 1948. He has two sisters and a brother that form a very tight-knit family. Cooking and eating elaborate Moroccan dishes is at the heart of weekend meals in this convivial family and this is where Ika gained his first appreciation for good food.

He has quite a background in meat and butchering working for a locally famous butcher Iwo’s International Delicatessen in Jerusalem and at just 22 years old opened a butcher shop of his own. At age 25 he decided he had more to learn so he set out for Paris where he studied French cuisine at the Ecole Superieur de Cisine Francaise-Ferrandi where he also met his wife Molly, a Williamsburg native. In France, Ika apprenticed at the Chateau du Chevre d’Or in Eze near the coastal town of Nice. Upon returning to Israel, Ika worked under reknowned Israeli chef Ezra Kedem at Arcadia Restaurant in Jerusalem and at Tamuz in Tel Aviv. In 2002, he and Molly were itching for a new travel adventure and opportunity when they were contacted by a childhood friend of Ika’s who was looking for a partner for a restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium. Together they opened Lamalo (meaning ‘Why not?”) featuring the Mediterranean, French and Moroccan cuisine of his origins and travel experiences. In 2005, they were very proud to be awarded ratings in both Gault-Millau and Michelin guides.

In 2011, they sold the restaurant and left Belgium in order to raise their three small children closer to family and old friends which is what brings them back to Williamsburg.

Practices & Techniques

Our winemaker, Matthew Meyer, came to the Williamsburg Winery via Napa Valley, California. His resume includes tenure working for some of the country's most prestigious wineries: Heitz Wine Cellars and Grgich Hills.

As risk-free as a winemaker's work may seem, Matthew tells us that it is not without its hazards: during his time with Heitz Cellars, he amassed a few emotional scars at the hands of Joe Heitz. Joe walked with a cane, and when an assistant winemaker would have a wrong approach on a process, Joe would not be above using his cane to make his point known! But the lessons learned in the midst of, arguably, one of the finest wineries in the world proved invaluable.

Matthew is uncompromising with his wines. If a harvest does not yield the quality of fruit needed to produce one of his signature wines, the winery simply wlll not produce that vintage. It is an unyielding policy, and it ensures that every wine bearing Matthew's handprint will not simply be a great regional wine, but one that can compete on the world stage.

Awards

The Williamsburg Winery has been rated for the “Eight” consecutive year “As one of the Worlds Best Wine Producers” by Decanter Magazine of London.

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Hours

Tours and Wine Tastings Daily: April thru October Monday – Saturday 10am to 6pm Sunday 11am to 6pm November thru March Monday – Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday 11am to 5pm Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day

Address

5800 Wessex Hundred
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
United States

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