Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sans Soucy Vineyards & Backroad Adventures in Campbell Co.

Boasting as the first and only vineyard in Campbell County, Sans Soucy is located in close proximity to my childhood hometown. Through my pre-research, I was surprised to see on their website extended summer weekend hours until 9pm. I would not be arriving into town until late afternoon and since everything that one reads on the internet is true, I knew this would be a great start to our Monticello Wine Trail weekend. Armed with an open mind and my father’s GPS we set out on the country roads that lead towards Brookneal VA. This community is oddly situated in Campbell County as it seems to neighbor more closely with Charlotte and Halifax Counties. The scenery of this drive is quite rural; so much so our GPS often lost satellite connection.

As we approach the entrance to the winery, it was clear that they were not open for business. A woman greeted us in the driveway and we proceeded to explain how we had purposely driven all the way to their winey assuming they would be open. She kindly pointed to the hours of operation as posted on their sign. These types of things really do not upset me, but rather I see them as a nuisance. We chalked it up to a poor business decision on her part to not at least offer us a quick tasting or the opportunity to buy some of their wine as we had already planned to do so. Despite failure to update their website, I can say that the actual vines looked really great. And while very rural, there was something rather charming and quaint about their facility. My sister would later return to the vineyard during operating hours to discover the staff as friendly and inviting. And she very much enjoys their Oak N Berry wine which is a combination of their blackberry wine and Petit Verdot.

The real adventure occurred after our brief visit to Sans Saucy. On the main road to the vineyard, we passed a historical marker which indicated that we were a mere five miles from Patrick Henry’s grave site.

Realizing that we had not been to the home of Patrick Henry on any of our school field trips, we decided to continue onward towards Red Hill. With our handy GPS, surely, it would be easy to find. All true, unless your GPS gets confused and you have naively placed all faith in said GPS. To describe the area as rural would be an understatement at this point. We were on the road to BFE with no historical plantation in sight.

As we dutifully followed the directions, we veered right at a fork in the road and began to pass some rather sketchy houses. As we drove deeper into the unknown we came upon a “Road Closed Ahead” sign. At the end of the road stood two gentlemen outside their cars discussing what we could only assume was very important, very private businesses. Not wanting to interrupt, we politely waved and quickly turned around. As the sun began to set, we knew our chance of seeing this historical landmark would have to wait for another day. Instead we returned to bright city lights of Altavista to enjoy a nice California wine on the front porch and learn more about Patrick Henry’s plantation in a civilize, safe way…via the internet.

I will one day return to San Soucy, so stay tuned for a “San Saucy Revisted” blog entry.

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