Many have dreamed of creating their own vineyard, but only a few manage to do it. The latest in this rarefied list of doers are Sarah and Johannes “Hannes” Endhardt, with their new, eponymous Endhardt Vineyards.
It opened quietly in September, located on 46 bucolic, rolling acres on Lincoln Road, a scenic byway between Middleburg and Purcellville. The land has been placed in conservation easement, limiting any development in perpetuity, and includes 11 acres under vine and a newly built custom-tasting room. Photographs don’t do justice to this beautiful property.
Hannes hails from Bavaria in southern Germany and developed an appreciation of fine wine early on, thanks to his father’s love of visiting wine properties in Europe, primarily Italy. He continued this tradition, meeting and developing his oenophilic knowledge from experienced winemakers and vineyard owners all over the continent.
Sarah, originally from Minnesota, spent 15 years working in Chicago, but on an assignment in the Middle East, she met Hannes, who was working there on the same project. They tried a long-distance relationship, but when it became obvious that didn’t work, Sarah convinced Hannes to move to the U.S., one of the few countries he’d never visited.
They settled in Chicago, but continued to travel, exploring wineries in France and Italy, and driving through Veneto and Tuscany on their honeymoon. They moved to Loudoun County in 2011, and have since been blessed with a son, Sebastian and daughter, Sofie.
In 2015, inspired by the many picturesque wine properties they had visited, they began sketching out a plan in earnest, crucially deciding to search for the perfect parcel of raw land rather than acquiring an already planted vineyard. They considered existing vineyard/winery properties, but couldn’t find one that encapsulated their vision. As a result, they tasked their real estate agent to help them find the beautiful location that is now Endhardt Vineyards, which they purchased in 2018.
Ordering grape vines requires significant lead time, one of their earliest challenges. They selected Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. They were painstakingly planted and continually tended to, resulting in the now maturing vines.
Eight acres are three-year vines while three are two-year vines. This fall is truly exciting for the Endhardts with their first harvest, overseen by renowned local winemaker, Ben Renshaw, whose 20 years of experience will be put to good use.
Renshaw, the epitome of the vineyard farmer, predominantly works the vineyard rather than pacing the tasting room. He’s well-known for producing excellent wines at notable properties. Now, he’s embracing the challenge set by Sarah and Hannes to produce excellent Virginia estate wines at Endhardt Vineyards.
While they wait for the day when they can pour their own wines, Sarah and Hannes serve two wines under their own label, Prologue White and Prologue Rose, blended by winemaker Renshaw from selected Loudoun County grown grapes. Tasting room visitors are also offered curated wines selected from some of the Endhardt’s favorite properties, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon which they served at their wedding in Germany ten years ago, and a delightful, effervescent Prosecco.
Endhardt Vineyards is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 5 p.m. Hannes and Sarah manage the tasting room themselves, so go soon, and enjoy this authentic, fledgling property before it takes off, which it surely will.
Endhardt Vineyards is located at 19600 Lincoln Road, Purcellville, VA 20132. Go to endhardtvineyards.com.