8 Chains North

What’s a “Chain” Anyway?

And 8 chains north of what?

8 chains north logo wall8 Chains North 2010 MerlotFirst, a chain is a unit of measurement—66 ft. to be exact. In 1620, English clergyman Edmund Gunter developed an accurate, low-tech method of surveying land using a chain that consisted of 100 links. In the U.S. during the 19th century, it was commonplace for surveyors to use the chain to lay out townships and map the country along train routes. And in 1785, the U.S. government passed a federal law that required all official government surveys be conducted using a Gunter’s chain.

The second part of this riddle has to do with the location of our original vineyard, Furnace Mountain, which is planted on the owner’s sister and brother-in-law’s farm of several hundred acres along the Potomac River north of Leesburg. During the Civil War, Confederate engineers dug down the banks of the river to make a crossing for the wagons and artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia. The site of this riverbank cut is on the farm and is 1.8 chains (118.8 ft.) upriver of White’s Ford where army crossed the Potomac into Maryland.

So why “8 chains north” instead of “1.8 chains north,” you ask? Frankly, the former just sounds better.

Take a look at our wine labels, where you’ll see a map of Loudoun County and a dot or star next to the Potomac River, designating the location of farm. And in our tasting room, you’ll find a large photo of the farm, vineyard and the banks of the Potomac River where the riverbank cut was made.

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