Bearing the surname of the wealthy, 17th-century Virginian Robert "King" Carter, owner Philip Carter Strother—Robert’s direct descendant and a 12th-generation Virginian—strives to keep his family’s deep winemaking roots alive at Philip Carter Winery. Robert’s sons, Charles and Landon, made wine from the grapes they cultivated on the grounds of their plantation in the mid 1700s, driven by a 1619 law that required all Virginian landowners to maintain at least 10 vines and one three-cornered hat. But the Carters took it further than that, eventually planting 1,800 vines along the banks of the Rappahannock River by 1754.
Fast-forward more than 250 years to 2008, when 27 acres overlooking the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains were purchased. There, Philip Carter Strother would oversee the planting of 1,800 vines in a symbolic nod to his ancestors. Today, daily tastings, educational sessions, award-winning tours, and corkscrew lessons take place to let guests peruse the vineyard's rousing collection of vintages, from the full-bodied flagship 2010 Cleve blend, winner of a 2013 Virginia Governor's Cup gold medal, to the bright, acidic 2012 Rosewell.