Annefield Vineyards to close

Published 1:32 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

Annefield Vineyards, located at 3200 Sunny Side Road in Saxe, will close its doors on March 31 after operating for 10 years.

“Needless to say, this was a difficult decision, but we feel it is the right one,” said owners Stephen Ballard and Michael Leary in an announcement on March 2. “The vineyard remains productive, and the wines will live on in the bottles of other producers. We thank you all for your support and friendship over the years. We’ve enjoyed being part of a community of wonderful people, and we will miss you.”

Ballard and Leary acquired the property in 2005 and planted their first vineyard the following year, according to the announcement.

“When we founded the winery, we pledged to evaluate the business after 10 years and make a decision about its direction, and now with the passage of time, new, different adventures beckon,” Ballard and Leary said.

The remainder of

inventory will be donated to Commonwealth Catholic Charities in Richmond.

According to Annefield’s blog, the property was originally acquired with the sole intention of growing fruit. “We did not acquire Annefield with the intention of opening a winery; the business evolved that way,” the blog stated.

Although Annefield will not produce wine, the post said they would continue to grow and sell fruit.

Throughout the years, several local businesses have carried wine selections from Annefield Vineyards, including Charley’s Waterfront Cafe in Farmville, Bistro 1888 in South Boston and Molasses Grill in Halifax. The vineyard received a great amount of support from Galleria on the Lake in Clarksville. 

“It is time for us to accept the inevitable, which in this instance is the fact that the only Virginia wineries that are financially sustainable are those conveniently located near urban areas, and that put on numerous events to attract the public,” stated the post.

Richard Williams of Richmond, frequently traveled to the vineyard, much like other customers, to enjoy the quality taste of the wine.

“I’m was very disappointed to hear that they were leaving. They were a great tourist attraction for Southside Virginia,” he said.  Williams said he always enjoyed their tastings and homemade appetizers.