Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Union Star (VA) Raves ABout Sans Soucy

A visit to Sans Soucy
Thursday, July 7, 2011 11:49 AM EDT
Jennifer L. Maxfield The Union Star

In the sprawling countryside off of Mount Calvary Road, the verdant hills are laced with grapevine.

At Sans Soucy Vineyards & Winery, Traminette, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo jewels hang heavy on the vines.

Sans Soucy means "without worry" in French. And visitors are likely to leave feeling just a little more carefree than when they arrived.

Paul and Jackie Anctil, the owners of Sans Soucy, specialize in something beyond making wine; they've become masters at creating a unique and lingering experience.

Paul Anctil, a 25-year retired Marine and his wife Jackie, have traveled the world and lived in various places, including France, Italy and Spain. In 1987, the family moved from Virginia Beach to Brookneal.

"We wanted a small community," Jackie Anctil said.

Prior to opening Sans Soucy, the Anctils made beer and wine at home as a hobby. They later decided to share their passion for making wine and beer. The process of creating their first vintage began in 2006. Their first yield was aged for two years and released when the vineyard opened to the public in April 2008.

Sans Soucy was the first farm winery to open in Campbell County.

In picking the varietals of grapes for the vineyard, the Anctils were careful in their selection.

"We took what we liked, along with what worked well with the climate of Southern Virginia," Jackie Anctil said.

Since the vineyard's opening, the operation has met with tremendous success.

"We've gone from making 500-600 cases to making 1,000-1,200," Jackie Anctil said. The Anctils attend as many as 30 festivals per year across Virginia. The tasting room at Sans Soucy has also been expanded, adding more room for visitors as the front porch has been converted into additional space.

Sans Soucy is part of the Southern Virginia Wine Trail (SoVA).

SoVA was started in the spring of 2009 by Southern Virginia vintners and winemakers, including the Anctils, who were instrumental in its development. In recent years, Southern Virginia has been recognized for its ideal climate in growing varieties of grapes that are suitable for making wine. SoVa adds a personal experience for those who enjoy wine by inviting interaction between wine enthusiasts and winemakers

The wine trail currently includes Molliver Vineyards in Nathalie, Annefield Vineyards in Saxe, Bright Meadows Farm in Nathalie, DeVault Vineyards in Concord, Greenwood Vineyards in Vernon Hill, Hunting Creek Vineyards in Clover, Hickory Hill Vineyards in Moneta, Tomahawk Mill Winery in Chatham and Homeplace Vineyards in Chatham.

The Anctils have won numerous awards for their wines, including a World Wine Championship Dessert Wine Medal for their dessert wine, Ginger.

Beyond all their successes, the vineyard is still about passion.

"We planted every vine here by hand. We grew them. We cultivated them. There are very few things in life, outside of having your own children, that you get to see this kind of completion in something you started," Jackie Anctil said.

The vineyard hosts various festivals throughout the year.

The Bark 'n' Wine Festival was held June 4 to benefit All-American Mutt Rescue in Bedford County. Still ahead on this year's calendar is the White Party in The Vineyard July 9, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets for the event are $50 per person. The White Party is a celebration of summer food and wine pairing.

The next Sangria Saturday will be July 16, beginning at 7 p.m. Preston Lund will provide live music. Admission will be free, and food will be available for purchase.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, there will be a concert in the vineyard at 8 p.m. Hugh Vaughn will provide live music. Admission is $10 and includes a souvenir glass. Food will also be available for purchase.

The Shrimp & Wine Festival will be held Sept. 10 from 12 noon-6 p.m. The festival will include arts and crafts, wine and local food vendors. Live music will be provided by Sick n' Tired and Deanie Blues. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.