Just a few years ago, I noticed a sign for a new winery, Heston Farm Winery, outside of Fairmont on one of my many trips to Morgantown. Word of mouth got around to me about how neat of a place it was to visit. We finally got around to it last weekend. It was a great roadtrip–truly worth the drive a couple hours north for a great meal and a nice setting for tasting some delicious wines.
I love to support the local wine industry. It’s not an easy industry. The climate here isn’t the most ideal for growing wine grapes, and many wineries supplement what they do grow with grapes from regions known for vineyards. Nonetheless, there are some great wineries in West Virginia, producing some fantastic wines that would satisfy just about any wine drinker.
Heston Farm Winery is a little bit different. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, because not only do they produce wine, they produce legal moonshine (corn whiskey) and other spirits. There is also a restaurant on the property. I believe the best wineries produced only a few wines, but do those few very well. Don’t spread yourself so thin and get distracted with lots of projects going at once. Especially when you first open. But Heston definitely doesn’t follow that philosophy, and it worked out well for them.
The property is absolutely beautiful. There is a pavilion that can host events and gatherings. As a matter of fact, there was a wedding reception there the afternoon we visited. The restaurant and tasting room are on a ridgetop that offers breathtaking views, perfect for enjoying a cold, crisp glass of white wine while taking it all in. There is a small stage featuring local live music. Dinner can be ordered from the restaurant while you sit and listen, even. This seems to be the thing to do on beautiful Saturday evenings, since it was packed. We couldn’t get a table outside for dinner.
Inside wasn’t so bad, either, though. The place is kitchy, decorated with antique farm equipment, but not in a cheesy Cracker Barrel kinda way. The wine prices were actually pretty reasonable. I got a red wine flight for six bucks, but glasses were only $5 to $6.
I’m not a fan of sweet wine, but that is what most West Virginia wineries are known for. This climate is actually not bad for growing sweet varieties of grapes such as Catawbas and Niagaras. I had two fantastic dry red wines in this flight–Merlot and the Cabernet Franc. They had this amazing oakiness to them that I absolutely love about red wines. The two sweet wines were not bad for sweet wines, either.
After dinner, we wandered into the tasting room, but it was super busy. I wanted to try the spirits. The odd thing was, that you could only get either a red tasting–basically the same thing I got in the restaurant–or a white tasting. Samples of the spirits were included with either one. I got a white wine tasting, simply so I could try the spirits. The white wines were pretty good, but I’m more of a red fan. The chardonnay wasn’t bad, and I really don’t care for chardonnay at all. The attendant in the tasting room did mention that it wasn’t aged in oak, but steel. I do like steel aged chardonnay better than oak.
I didn’t try any of the moonshines (they had several flavors) but I did try their two “dark” whiskeys”, a bourbon and a rye. I am a huge fan of bourbon, and theirs isn’t too bad. Of course, they haven’t been open more than a few years, so they’ve only aged their bourbon two years. It’s not bad at all. I even bought a bottle.
It was a gorgeous day for a road trip. With great wine and great company. I would definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re in the Fairmont area.
The legal jargon: Heston Farm Winery did not compensate me for this post. I bought my own food and hooch.