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A Winery in Fairfax County? Paradise Springs Arrives

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on May 06,2010
Filed Under Food And Wine , Local Tastes,
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Photo by John Arundel <br /> <br />Kirk Wiles and his mother Jane Kincheloe founded the small winery in Fairfax County.
Photo by John Arundel
Kirk Wiles and his mother Jane Kincheloe founded the small
winery in Fairfax County.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - From the time of Mssrs, Jefferson and Washington, right up until the 20th century,  Clifton, Virginia was a sleepy resort town owing its presence to its famous springs.
 
“Paradise” water was bottled there for decades.  Although no more Paradise water is being bottled in Clifton, the community has grown into a bedroom community complete with luxe townhomes and massive Catholic parishes, cheek by jowl to the occasional herd of grazing heifers.
 

Photo by John Arundel <br /> <br />Wine is served in the Cellar.
Photo by John Arundel
Wine is served in the Cellar.

When Jane Kincheloe’s aunt passed away, she left her neice heir to a large tract of land in the town of Clifton.  
 
Jane and her son, Kirk Wiles, fought to keep the land from falling victim to tax collectors; they fought to keep the land in the family and intact for future generations.  
 
The site of Paradise Springs Winery lies on 36 acres nestled in the quiet corner of Clifton. It borders Hemlock Regional Park with the Bull Run River flowing through the nearby woods. It was part of a 1000 acre land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716 to Jane and Kirk’s direct ancestors and has been passed down through the generations.
 
The original log cabin is estimated to have been built between 1800 and 1825. It was renovated in 1955 by a student of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
 
What resulted was Paradise Springs Winery, formally established in 2007.   The late Esther Podolnick (Jane’s Aunt and Kirk’s Great Aunt) had brainstormed with Jane 20 years ago about what the cabin property could one day become.  
 

Photo by John Arundel <br /> <br />The site of Paradise Springs Winery lies on 36 acres nestled in the quiet corner of Clifton. It was part of a 1,000 acre land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716 to Jane and Kirk’s direct ancestors and has been passed down through the generations.
Photo by John Arundel
The site of Paradise Springs Winery lies on
36 acres nestled in the quiet corner of Clifton.
It was part of a 1,000 acre land grant from
Lord Fairfax in 1716 to Jane and Kirk’s direct
ancestors and has been passed down through
the generations.

They both agreed it provided the perfect backdrop for a farm winery.  Kirk, a graduate of the University of Miami, moved back to Virginia in 2004 and started connecting the dots in putting together the winery. Armed with some of the most talented minds in the Virginia wine industry, Kirk and Jane sought to create high-end, high-quality wines aimed for distribution in the tri-state market.
 
The mother and son team brought in Virginia’s own state wine pundit, Chris Pearmund, to make them a winery from the 37 acres they had inherited.  
 
Chances are, if you have enjoyed any Virginia wine, you have experienced Pearmund’s touch.  He has consulted for many of Virginia’s 160-plus wineries, in addition to establishing his own Pearmund Cellars and Vint Hill Craft Winery.  
 
Under Pearmund’s tutelage, the winery has planted two and a half acres of vines, the varietal being Cabernet Franc. Virginia wine lovers will appreciate that Cabernet Franc tends to do well in the commonwealth’s rich alluvial soil and hot humid summers.
 
Paradise Spring participates in various wine competitions each year, and has won several awards at the local and national level.  
 

Photo by John Arundel <br /> <br />Recent visitors to the winery include Jaclyn Gower and Mark Goode, both of DC.
Photo by John Arundel
Recent visitors to the winery include Jaclyn
Gower and Mark Goode, both of DC.

In particular, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon won the Gold Medal at the 2009 America’s Cup Wine Competition in addition to two other golds and a bronze in local competitions.  
 
Other award-winning wines include the 2008 Vidal Blanc, the 2008 Viognier (another varietal that is thriving in the Virginia climate), and the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc.
 
Wiles purchases grapes from around the state to supplement his own vineyard.  
 
The team at Paradise Springs seeks to create high-quality wines by limiting production to 5,000 or 6,000 cases a year.  
 
They are employing both steel and oak fermentation, using a combination of French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels.  
 
At all of 27, Wiles shows his love for wine and burgeoning knowledge.   
 
“Virginia has its own microclimate, and Virginia winemakers are still seeking their mold in terms of terroir," Kirk says. "There are both possibilities and limitations in any climate.  My mother and I have always loved wine and it is a learning process.  Wine is an art form that is always a work in progress.”  
 

Photo by John Arundel <br /> <br />Jane Kincheloe.
Photo by John Arundel
Jane Kincheloe.

Stop by the winery on Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00 to raise your glass for the sake of art and visit the historic buildings and property and to listen to live music.   For more information, visit the winery’s website at www.paradisespringswinery.com.



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