The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|County’s only winery is a homegrown business|
Staff Photo by Leigh Prom:
Rhonda and H.T. Page show off the fruits of their labor in the showroom of their Brooks Mill Winery.
Friday, June 29, 2012
By LEIGH PROM - Staff Writer
What started out as a hobby has become a business for H.T. and Rhonda Page of Brooks Mill Winery.
The Wirtz winery, near Smith Mountain Lake, produces blackberry, blueberry, peach, cherry, plum and pear wines from fruit grown on the property.
No grapes are used, and each bottle is produced only from the fruit identified on the label, said H.T. Page.
Brooks Mill Winery is Franklin County's only winery and produces selections from dry dinner wines to sweet dessert wines.
Traditional wine drinkers, who are skeptical about other fruit wines, find they like them once they've tasted the wines from Brooks Mill, Page said.
The Pages began planting fruit for the winery in 2006. But it took two years for the winery to begin production in December 2008.
Page said he started making wine for his wife, but it turned into a business. Page enjoys growing the fruit and the wine-making process. His wife enjoys drinking the wine, he added.
Once the fruit is harvested, most of it is frozen, Page said, which makes better wine than if the fruit was processed right away. Winter is the time for bottling, he added.
All the work at the winery is paying off with gold and bronze medals in Fingerlakes wine competitions, Page said.
Production is steadily increasing as well. Last year, the winery produced 250 cases of wine, up from 170 cases in 2009.
Rhonda Page recently retired from Member One Credit Union to run the winery business. H.T. Page takes care of the fruit and wine production, but he is also the grounds and maintenance director for The Willard Companies.
"It's tough sometimes" to do both jobs, he said.
Brooks Mill Winery will be one of several wineries represented Saturday at the Franklin County Strings and Spirits Festival.
The festival starts at 11 a.m. on Springhouse Lane, off Grassy Hill Road. Tickets can be purchased online at franklincountyfestival.com/tickets ($20 for tasters, $10 for non-tasters) or at the gate ($25 for tasters, $15 for non-tasters).
Brooks Mill Winery is located at 6221 Brooks Mill Road and is open from May to September. For more information, call 540-721-5215.