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Vineyard View

It’s All in the Family at Zephaniah Farm Vineyard By Peter Leonard-Morgan

Bill Hatch and his family have farmed hundreds of acres of fertile Loudoun County land for the past half-century. That’s in addition to what was, until his recent retirement, his day job as a videographer covering presidential inaugurations, funerals and much in between. In the 1970s, as the family dairy farm faced the same challenges as so many of the 400 other dairy operations in Loudoun back then, the Hatches moved into the beef farming business, raising hormone- and antibiotic-free cattle. However, a chance meeting in 2001, when Hatch was visiting his daughter then studying in a castle in the Italian Alps of all places, first planted the “grape” seed in his mind. Upon his return to Virginia, he enthusiastically went out and purchased a thousand vines and 600 trellis posts and planted his first vines during the following Spring Break. Zephaniah Farm Vineyard was born, making the most of a then recently-introduced Virginia Farm Winery Act. It allowed farmers to grow vines and make wine, and sell their products from their premises without many of the traditional bureaucratic and tax hurdles. Hatch’s father, Bill Sr., was a member of the Greatest Generation, serving in the U.S. Navy

Zephaniah Farm Vineyard pays homage to family history. during World War II. He remained in the Navy for 32 years, rising to the rank of Deputy Director, Naval Intelligence. The family traveled the world extensively, calling many places home for relatively short periods. But his fa-

ther’s greatest wish was to raise his family in beautiful Loudoun County. Bill Sr. stumbled upon the quaint hamlet of Paeonian Springs, which he loved, but was unable to find a large enough property to farm. He eventually decided on land on Dunlop Mill Road, just off Harmony Church Road, which was a fairly easy 32-mile drive to the Pentagon, his workplace throughout the Cold War. Zephaniah Hatch, the great grandfather of Bill Hatch Jr., was a steamship captain in California and Washington state, passing down the sailing genes to his grandson, Bill Sr. That family history is all memorialized in the name of the vineyard, and on a number of Zephaniah’s labels, such as ‘Three Captains Red’ and ‘Steamship White. A trip to the tasting room at Zephaniah finds you, rather uniquely, in the family room of the original 1819 manor house built by Loudoun builder William Benton, socializing around the dining table, being served samplings from a selection of wines made from the 14 grape varietals grown in the vineyard. Larger groups are able to reserve a time at the newly-built barn, which sits atop the winery building, a wonderful space that exudes an enticing aroma of freshly cut wood. Today, Zephaniah comprises some 27 acres,

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Country Spirit Magazine Winter 2019  

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Country Spirit Magazine Winter 2019  

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