Randy Phillips is one of the state’s premier winemakers and one of the most respected winery owners and winegrowers in the Shenandoah Valley. He only makes wine from his own fruit and he is disinclined to engage in a gimmick that might result in anything less than quality wine. It is probably an understatement to say, he was a little skeptical.
Owner(s): Julie Houshalter
Winemaker: Randy Phillips
One of the five lavender-infused wines.
The eventual meeting bore fruit (so to speak). Haushalter infused several wines and the results were something of a revelation to Phillips. In fact, I tasted the wines at Cave Ridge months before I finally visited Purple Wolf. Phillips has every right to be proud of the resulting collaboration. The wines are quite good.
After arriving at the lavender farm, you will first notice the striking beauty of the place. It is almost possible to forget that a wine component is part of the larger operation. There are tours of the lavender farm and a store sells all manner of lavender products. Fortunately, the tasting bar is housed in a different building, because the smell of lavender permeates the farm store (in a good way) and would make it nearly impossible to evaluate the wine.
Outdoor seating allows you to enjoy the beautiful property.
2644 Cross Keys Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Inside the farm store you will find everything lavender.
The tasting room opened in 2015. When I visited they were pouring ten wines with the Purple Wolf label. Only five of them are lavender infused. I think the Chardonnay is emblematic of most of the lavender wines. There is light oak on the nose and on the palate there were muted floral notes and hints of honey. It is not a typical profile, but neither is it in any way off putting. I took a bottle home.
Other offerings included a dry-style, Cabernet Franc rosé, Traminette, Chambourcin and a Port-style wine. Only the Chambourcin displayed lavender on the nose. At most the wines had light floral notes. The lavender did mingle with other characteristics to provide very nuanced influence on the wine. Visitors are generally enthusiastic and the wines fly off the shelves.
Purple Wolf Vineyard Profile
Written by Brian Jul 30, 2017
I have heard versions from each of the parties involved. A basic condensed story line is that Rebecca Haushalter of The White Oak Lavender Farm approached Randy Phillips of Cave Ridge Vineyards and asked him to make a lavender-infused wine.
The tasting room is in a separate building.
Open to Public
Mon-Sat 12 to 6; Sun 1 to 6
The whole Purple Wolf lineup.
At the end of the day, this is a venue that has much to offer the wine tourist. The Purple Wolf Vineyard offers more than a tasting opportunity. I certainly encourage you to stop in, sample the offerings and explore the rest of the property. It is not your typical winery visit, but it is certainly worth your time.
Haushalter has worked in the wine industry, but also has a passion for lavender. At her family’s lavender farm, it is fair to say, Haushalter has gained extensive experience at infusing all manner of products. Try the lavender-infused ice cream and you will see that the lavender notes are nuanced and not overpowering. She persisted and successfully convinced Phillips to meet and at least give it a try.
The Purple Wolf Vineyard is easily accessible from Interstate 81 or State Route 33. It is only a short drive from Harrisonburg, it is very near Massanutten Resort and it is clustered with several wineries of note. So the area has much to offer beyond this one stop. No excuses. After you visit, please let me know what you think.
Advocating for under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States