Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Paradise Springs Winery opens in Fairfax (VA) after zoning battle

First modern Fairfax winery opens
After a long legal struggle, Paradise Springs Winery in the Fairfax County town of Clifton opens for business.
By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

With its grapes lightly dusted with snow and the wine cellar wrapped in a red bow, Fairfax's first and only modern winery opened last week after a contentious legal struggle that involved the county, the state alcohol board and Virginia's increasingly powerful wine industry.

Paradise Springs Winery, tucked inside a 37-acre forest in Clifton, a small horse community in a corner of southern Fairfax, has come into existence after an odd mix of legal maneuvering and political drama.

Owners Jane Kincheloe Wiles and her son Kirk, 27, wanted to pay off $750,000 in inheritance taxes on their historic farm and initially considered selling the land to a residential developer. But investors and winemakers encouraged the family to build the county's first vineyard on a piece of property that was part of a 1716 land grant from Lord Fairfax. The Wileses can trace their ancestry in the region back several centuries.

"I really didn't want to break the chain," Jane Wiles said. "I just wanted to really give new life to this place."

The Wileses said they envisioned a small but high-end winery that would add a new flavor to Clifton's Norman Rockwell-like charm. But more than a year ago, Fairfax County zoning officials denied their request to build the vineyard, arguing that the plan amounted to an industrial use because grapes would be trucked in.

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