OUR STORY

Farm Winery

We own it, grow it, make it, and sell it. Ben Renshaw, as the owner, must navigate a great number of issues involved with being a farm winery. These include federal, state and county rules and regulations; planning for the growth of the business, expanding our vineyards and identifying

NAVIGATE, CULTIVATE, CREATE, APPRECIATE™

the most suitable grapes to plant. Moreover, Ben is our grower, he cultivates our vineyards from planting to harvest. Ben is also our winemaker, and creates delicious wines each vintage. Finally, his greatest pleasure is for you to appreciate his craft—the wine!

Owner and Winegrower Ben Renshaw

Owner and Winegrower Ben Renshaw in the vineyard with Jaeger

Renshaw is a vineyard guy. He manages 8 Chains North’s two Loudoun County vineyards: Furnace Mountain and Waterford (the site of the winery). There is nothing he’d rather do than walk the vines with his faithful German Shepherd companions. All of this attention in the field, means he can employ simple, proven techniques in the cellar and let the grapes speak for themselves each vintage. He is renowned in the region for his commitment to viticulture, and we are proud to play a vital part in the Virginia and Loudoun County wine communities.

Soil

The soils on our Furnace Mountain Vineyard along the banks of the Potomac River are sandy, silty, and well-drained. The Waterford Vineyard has very rich, loamy, nutritious soils about 18`` deep, under which is typical Loudoun County clay.

Climate

The climate for grapes in Northern Virginia is good, but humid, so we have to rigorously manage the canopy to get the best results from sun, wind, and spray. We have good growing seasons and nutritious soils, but the disease pressures are challenging.

Grapes

Grape varietals that do well in our climate are those which we can ripen them within a typical growing season. They include Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, and Chardonnay—all of which we grow.

process

We process from start to finish. The grapes come in from the field and are cooled, stemmed, crushed, fermented, aged, and bottled on the premises. We do the same for whole fruit from Washington. By focusing on the vineyards, we're able to employ a simpler winemaking philosophy and remain hands-off in the cellar.

What's In a Name?

First, a chain is a unit of measurement equal to 66 feet. In 1620, English clergyman Edmund Gunter developed an accurate way of surveying land using a chain made up of 100 links. In the 19th century U.S., surveyors commonly used the Gunter’s chain to lay out townships and map the country along train routes.

The second part of this riddle has to do with our first vineyard’s location, north of Leesburg, along the Potomac River. During the Civil War, Confederate engineers dug down the banks of the river to make a crossing (known as White’s Ford) for the wagons and artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia. That ford is 1.8 chains (118.8 ft.) upriver from Colonel White’s farm and is now part of the large farm owned by Ben’s sister, and where our vineyard lies. Finally, we took some poetic license and called ourselves “8 Chains North.”

HISTORY

established furnace mountain vineyards

March 2004

Renshaw established Furnace Mountain Vineyards, a vineyard installation, management, and consulting company

planted first vineyard

April 2006

Renshaw and his father planted the first vineyard of 4 acres on the bluffs of the Potomac River

first winemaking contract

September 2006

The vineyard management company grew, and Ben got his first winemaking client. He produced Chardonnay, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc

established 8 chains north

January 2007

Renshaw established 8 Chains North as a DBA of Furnace Mountain Vineyards for the purpose of making our own wine

first bottle of wine

March 2007

In its first year, 8 Chains North made 270 cases of wine and sold it through other wineries and wholesale outlets

planted the second vineyard

May 2010

6 acres of grapes at the site of the future tasting room in Waterford, Va.

opened the tasting room

August 2010

Renshaw renovated the barn on the Waterford property and welcomed our first customers

established secondary wine brand

October 2013

Several factors, including a late frost, booming business, and dearth of Virginia grapes, led us to source additional grapes from Washington state

planted third vineyard

May 2014

We acquired and planted nine acres of grapes on a property south of Purcellville, Va.

first release of 8 chains north west wine

March 2015

Customers got their first taste of several varietals of wine we made using whole fruit trucked in from Washington, which was processed, aged, and bottled on site

new vineyard purchase

August 2018

We are in the process of acquiring a new 20-acre piece of ground in Waterford, Va. to plant next year. It's a beautiful property for grapes, and has stunning views

wait and see...

2019