News & Releases from Philip Carter Winery

Vineyard Activity during the Depths of Winter

At this time of year we are frequently asked, what if anything is going on at Philip Carter Winery? While the production work has slowed following the conclusion of harvest, it is one of the most important times of year for our vineyard management program.

The main purpose of vineyard management is to achieve a maximum yield of fruit, at the desired quality level. One of the greatest influences on both yield and quality is winter pruning. Winter pruning involves the removal of up to 90% of the previous season’s vine growth. The overall goal of winter pruning is to prepare the vines for the upcoming growing season. This pruning helps to construct the location and general development of the canopy. A properly constructed canopy has great influence on overall grape yield, health, and development.

This highly influential pruning is normally conducted during the winter months, while the vines are dormant. In the fall, the vines begin moving complex minerals and nutrients via the vascular system from the leaves, down into the permanent wood (roots, trunk, and cordons). Pruning too early in the season can disrupt this nutrient transfer, leaving the vines deficient for the upcoming growing season. Pruning too late can sometimes lead to a delayed bud-break, which in turn can affect the entire growing season. In addition, pruning while the vines are dormant and absent of foliage allows for easier wood selection and cane tying.

The first round of winter pruning removes the majority of the cane (the previous season’s growth) to allow for a more precise bud selection at the final pruning pass.

Pruning removes buds, via cane removal, that would otherwise become new shoots and bear fruit the following season. By removing buds, growth is concentrated into the remaining buds, and eventually, canopy and fruit development. Before winter pruning, a single vine can have well over 100 buds. On average, a single vine is pruned down to 30-36 buds per vine.

Pruning either too much or too little can lead to an unbalanced vine and grape development. Pruning the vines too much means more buds were removed than necessary and the growth from those remaining buds might not provide enough nutrients and minerals to fully ripen the fruit. During dormancy, precious nutrients and minerals are stored in all woody parts of the vines, and the more woody material removed, the fewer nutrients and minerals available for the upcoming growing season. Not pruning the vines enough means too many buds were left on the spurs, which will result in an excess of vegetative growth, leading to uneven fruit development.

Selecting how many buds to leave per spur depends on many different factors. Usually, the younger a vine the fewer buds left per spur. As the vine matures, more buds are left per spur until vine and grape development are at an achieved balanced state. If vines sustain cold damage over the winter, more buds may need to be left per spur to achieve proper vine and grape development.

Winter pruning should be seen as just the first step in a growing season towards achieving vine balance and optimum grape development. When properly pruned, shoot vigor can be controlled permitting the vine to fully ripen its fruit to the desired yield. Equally important to consistently ripening fruit from one year to the next is the overall long-term health of the vines.

At PCW, we have three distinct vineyard locations, Vineyards at Hume, Strother Family Vineyards in Delaplane, and Bigfoot Vineyards in Warrenton. Three unique vineyard sites across the northern Piedmont totaling 20 acres of vineyards.

Of our three locations, the Strother Family Vineyards offers one of the preeminent vineyard sites in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Its southeast aspect and dramatic slopes are perfectly positioned at a 1,050’ altitude. The soils are a silty clay loam with a complex residuum mix of weathered granite and gneiss, and are classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as being of statewide importance. There is a sense of place to SFV and its terroir produces exceptionally delicate wines with beautiful minerality that are both expressive and reflective of the Piedmont of Virginia region. At this site, we grow Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Manseng.

Buds – One or more embryonic shoots protected in a series of modified leaves called bud scales.
Bud Break – When buds begin to swell and grow.
Cane – The vine shoot from the period it matures and lignifies (turns brown and woody) until the end of the second year of growth.
Canopy – The foliage cover of the vine.
Compound-bud – The mature axillary bud that survives the winter; typically possessing three immature buds in differing states of development.
Cordon – An arm or trunk extension positioned horizontally or at an angle to the axis of the trunk.
Spur – A short cane possessing the desired bud count.
Trunk – The vertical wood stem of a vine up to the origin of the branches.
Vitis vinifera – The primary grape species cultivated and used as a source of wine, table grapes, and raisin grapes.
Yield – The fruit crop per area planted.

Historic Valley View Farm Wine Hard Cider Pick-Your-Own Orchard Strother Vineyards Philip Carter Winery

Historic Valley View Farm Partners with Philip Carter Winery to Open Wine and Hard Cider Tasting Room and Expands Pick-Your-Own Operation in Delaplane, Virginia

The Strother Family has served as stewards of historic Valley View Farm for five generations and is proud to announce the recent partnership with Philip Carter Winery to open a wine and hard cider tasting room at the farm located in Delaplane, Virginia.

The Locavore Farm Market at Valley View Farm opens on the weekend of May 5th and 6th and will offer Virginia wines and hard ciders, seasonal pick-your-own fruits, organic vegetables from the Garden at Valley View, and other local farm products, including the Orchard Branch Collection. The Orchard Branch Collection is the finest available Virginia wine country art and furniture, handcrafted by local artisans from repurposed barrels, farm products, wood, and equipment from historic Valley View Farm and Philip Carter Winery. The Orchard Branch Collection will be available exclusively at Valley View Farm and Philip Carter Winery.

“We are thrilled to provide a complete destination experience for customers who appreciate locally produced products, who we refer to as, “Locavores”. Valley View Farm is considered one of the most spectacular landscapes in the northern Piedmont of Virginia. It is stunning. To be able to make this site available to Locavores to enjoy fine wine, Virginia ciders, pick-your-own fruits, and organically grown vegetables is nothing short of being able to create the perfect local farm fresh experience,” Philip Carter Strother, owner of Philip Carter Winery.

The farm is a 500-acre tract that is rich in history and, with one exception, has been in the same family for nearly three centuries. Located in the Crooked Run Valley in northern Fauquier County, the farm was patented in 1731 by James Ball of Lancaster County, a first cousin of Mary Washington, the mother of George Washington. Originally land of the Powhatan Indians, the Valley View tract was inherited in the early 18th century by Thomas, sixth Baron Fairfax. In the 1740s, it was first settled by several pioneer families that moved into the region, many of the original settlement structures built on the farm in the mid-1700s remain today.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Quaker pastor Henry Simpers purchased the property. He offered it as a stopover point for the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, Simpers allowed armies from both sides to camp at the farm, including Stonewall Jackson’s troops who marched through on their way to the battle of Second Manassas.

Upon Simpers’ death in the 1920s, George Thomas Strother purchased the farm for his son Ed Strother who worked the property for sixty-one years, from 1926 to 1987. He bought and sold cattle, raised sheep and horses, and built a new manor house and red barn, which is the current location of the Locavore Farm Market today. Neighbor and famous general, George S. Patton, enjoyed foxhunting with Strother.

In 1997, Charles E. Strother, Jr. inherited the farm he had been helping his father run for the previous decade. Charles expanded the farm business, offering it as a retreat for day outings by business and religious groups. He also established a Pick-Your-Own attraction, formerly known as Virginia Perfection Orchard, featuring both pick-your-own fruits and vegetables.

In 2002, Valley View Farm inspired a two-year odyssey by internationally acclaimed artist Andrei Kushnir to document every aspect of this remarkably historic and beautifully serene portion of Fauquier County, Virginia. The culmination of Kushnir’s work, 50 landscape paintings were part of an exhibition at the Virginia Historical Society in 2004, Painted History: The Landscapes of Valley View Farm. The paintings, all created en plein air, depict one of the few family-owned farms in the Crooked Run Valley, just south of Sky Meadows State Park. According to the Virginia Historical Society’s Lora Robins Curator of Art, William Rasmussen, “the paintings underscore the idyllic nature of the area, as was apparent to Paul Mellon when he set aside the park acreage as a gift to the public.”

In 2016, Charles and his son, Philip Carter Strother, formed Strother Family Vineyards that currently operates a vineyard on 45 acres of the farm. Today, the story continues as father and son have collaborated once again in order to open the Locavore Farm Market & Tasting Room at Valley View Farm, in the red barn that Philip’s Grandfather built in the 1920s.

We invite you to come experience this historic property for yourself starting May 5, 2018.

Valley View Farm is located at 1550 Leeds Manor Road, Delaplane, VA 20144,

The Locavore Farm Market and Tasting Room will be open initially Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00am to 7:00 pm and Sundays, 10:00am to 6pm. For more information, please email or visit

Philip Carter Winery Solaris Stables and Yoga wine country horse rides

Solaris Stables & Yoga and Philip Carter Winery Unite to Offer Wine & Hunt Country Horse Rides

Saddle up, Philip Carter Winery joins forces with Solaris Stable & Yoga Studio to create a truly unique destination experience in Virginia’s wine and hunt country

Hume, VA–In the heart of Virginia’s Wine and Hunt Country, horse and wine enthusiasts alike will soon have something to cheer about. Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, patrons will be able to saddle up at Solaris Stable and ride horseback six (6) miles round trip to Philip Carter Winery where they can dismount at the winery to enjoy award winning wines while taking in the breathtaking views of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Guests can also participate in a yoga session before the ride as an added option.

“We could not be more pleased with this partnership and the exceptional experience that it offers our mutual guests. It is unique and unlike anything available at any other Virginia winery. Solaris Stable provides the very best in equine instruction, and we are thrilled to pair our acclaimed Philip Carter Wine Experience with them to create a truly unique wine and hunt country destination for guests,” states Philip Carter Strother, owner of Philip Carter Winery.

Solaris Stable & Yoga Studio specializes in offering unique equestrian experiences. Wine Country Rides will enable patrons to enjoy the beauty of the northern Piedmont region from horseback and to taste wine made by one of the founding families of American wine. Philip Carter Winery boasts a picturesque vineyard and award-winning wines all located in the heart to Virginia wine and hunt country. This Memorial Day Weekend these exceptional experiences come together for the first time.

At Philip Carter, our history is wine. Our future is to promote a gracious way of living through wine, food & the arts. We invite you to escape with us up to Virginia’s wine and hunt country for a day of wine, horse riding and yoga. Cheers!

Solaris Stable and Yoga Studio is located at 5075 Stillhouse Road, Hume, VA 22639, www.SolarisStableAnd Solaris Stable and Yoga Studio is open year-round. For more information, please email or call (571) 969-9782.

Philip Carter Winery is located at 4366 Stillhouse Road, Hume, VA 22639, Philip Carter is open seven days a week, year-round with extended hours in the summer. For more information, please email or call (540) 364-1203.

2016 Wine Awards & Acclaim

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2014 Rosewell – Gold

2013 Corotoman – Silver

2014 Nomini Estate Cabernet Franc – Silver 

2014 Shirley Estate Chardonnay – Silver


The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

2014 Cabernet Franc – Silver

2013 Corotoman – Silver

2014 Shirley Chardonnay – Bronze

2014 Chardonnay – Silver

Virginia Wine Lover Magazine

Congratulations to Philip Carter Winery of Virginia!

Virginia Wine Lover Magazine 2014


– Voted “Best Winery Tour” in Virginia!

– Awarded Silver in the “Best Winery” category!!

– 4th in “Annual Readers’ Choice” Award!!!

Wine & Food: 2014 Falconwood Red

Wine & Food Pairing From the Inn at Vineyards Crossing

Recommended wine and food pairings, as well as unique recipes and culinary delights created and written by Chef Randy Beattie of the Inn at Vineyards Crossing.


Beef Medallions and Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce
with 2014 Falconwood Red


  • 1 (10 -12 ounce) beef tenderloin or 1 (10 -12 ounce) beef medallions
  • coarse salt
  • fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 -3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 -2 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3⁄4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon flour
  • 3⁄4 cup beef broth


  1. Start by cutting the tenderloin into 6 equal pieces, then flatten each piece using a mallet or heavy weight until each piece is 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter over med-high heat.
  4. Add the beef, and saute until outside is brown but inside is still very pink, about 2 minutes on each side.
  5. After browning remove each tenderloin from pan and keep warm.
  6. Add remaining butter to skillet, and when melted, add mushrooms and shallots.
  7. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the mixture, and cook until deep brown, about 4 minutes longer.
  8. Add vinegar, garlic, herbs, and flour and stir one minute, until liquid is absorbed.Add broth and wine, and bring to a boil.
  9. Cook until liquid is thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  10. Return beef to the pan, and heat through, about 1 minute.
  11. Arrange beef on plate and spoon sauce and mushrooms over.

Take Me to Philip Carter Winery Wines

Wine & Food: 2014 Shirley Chardonnay

Wine & Food Pairing From the Inn at Vineyards Crossing

Recommended wine and food pairings, as well as unique recipes and culinary delights created and written by Chef Randy Beattie of the Inn at Vineyards Crossing.


Monkfish in Tomato-Garlic Sauce
with the 2014 Shirley Chardonnay


  • Eight 6-ounce monkfish fillets about 2 inches thick
  • ¼ cup plus 3 table spoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 heads of garlic plus 4 parge cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced



  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and cook slowly over very low heat, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is deep golden, 15 minutes.
  2. Remove about 1/4 cup of garlic slices to a plate and reserve. Add the paprika to the garlic in the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the water and simmer until the sauce has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a very large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Turn the fish, transfer to the oven, and roast until just cooked through, 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the fish to a large, warmed platter. Pour any juices from the skillet into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Spoon the sauce onto plates and set the fish on top. Scatter the fried garlic over the fish and serve right away.

Take Me to Philip Carter Winery Wines

2015 Wine Awards & Acclaim


American Wine Society Conference
2014 Shirley Chardonnay – Bronze
2013 Corotoman – Silver
2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve – Bronze


Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition
2012 Corotoman – Silver
2014 Viognier – Silver
2014 Rosewell – Best in Category
2013 1762 – Bronze
2014 Norton – Bronze
2014 Sweet Danielle – Bronze


Wine Advocate
2010 Cleve
2010 Meritage
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Results TBD


Virginia Governor’s Cup
2012 Corotoman – Silver


San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – Summer 2014
* Largest America Wine Competition in the World
2012 Corotoman – Bronze
2012 1762 – Silver
2013 Chardonnay – No Medal



Virginia Wine Lover Favorite Winery of Virginia 2009 & 2010
Best White Wine & 2nd Best Winery Tour Overall 2013
Best Winery Tour, 2nd Best Winery and 2nd Best White Wine 2014
Total Medals Won 70, Platinum 1, Gold 10, Silver 37, Bronze 27