In September, Greenhill Winery and Vineyards moved to an adults-only model.
The 21-plus Middleburg vineyard will restrict games, sports and loud music. The announcement on Instagram drew almost 40 comments spanning from “This is so disappointing. I can appreciate a no kids space, but to ban them all together is a bit extreme. We will be cancelling our membership.” to “Love this!!! More wineries and breweries need to follow your lead.”
Rebekah Pizana, the director of sales and marketing at Greenhill, says, “We’re trying to focus on the wine.” She says the winery started to become more like a “public park” with people bringing picnic baskets (including the permeating smell of Chipotle), their kids and, a lot of the time, not buying wine.
“They see it as a place to put down a blanket.” It’s like bringing a laptop to a coffee shop and never purchasing a cup.
With the goal of emphasizing the wine-making and creating a higher-end experience, Greenhill recently started charging about 2 to 5 percent more for bottles.
“We have raised our prices because we don’t just want people coming here to get drunk. Our goal is not to be a sports bar to come and get sloshed,” says Pizana.
She sees the 21-plus rule as a growing trend for a region she thinks has the potential to be an East Coast Sonoma. And it’ll take wineries paying more attention to the grapes and less to the party vibe wine can attract.
“Some of the wineries are more focused on selling weddings; our goal is to promote Virginia wine.”