About Us

Virginia Farm Winery

8 Chains North embodies the true spirit of a Farm Winery in Northern Virginia. We own it, grow it, make it, and sell it.


Farm winery owners must navigate a great number of issues. These include federal, state and county rules, regulations, and licenses; planning for the growth of the business, expanding the vineyards, and more. We cultivate our vines from planting to harvest, and create delicious wines each vintage. Finally, our staff’s greatest pleasure is for you to appreciate our craft—the wine!

The Winery

The Winery is where the magic happens—from planting to harvest to what you’ll sip during your visit. Our winemaker, Ben Renshaw, is also our vineyard manager. He handles all cultivation and management of the vineyards and handcrafts our wines in a French style, focusing on Bordeaux grapes that grow well in our climate. Our goal—to be a winery Northern Virginia can be proud of.

8 Chains North also makes wine under a separate brand using whole fruit from Washington state. The fruit we bring in from out west is from the same vineyards every year, all of which hand harvest and employ like-minded philosophy. Both labels offer wines that are dry and well-balanced. Try a tasting today!

northern Virginia winery winegrower Ben
Winegrower Ben Renshaw
Tasting Room

The Tasting Room offers guests a spacious, yet intimate setting—cozy chairs, seating for small groups, and some fun and funky decorative touches. It is welcoming and comfortable and will make you want to buy a bottle and stay a while—for the wine, the view, weekly music, and camaraderie. In cooler weather, warm up by the roaring fireplace. And during the season, you’ll love the covered patio’s southern exposure, which overlooks our Waterford vineyard.

Dog Park

In addition to being family-friendly, we are the most dog friendly winery in Northern Virginia. We allow leashed dogs in the Tasting Room and on the patio. In the separate fenced dog park, our four-legged guests may play off the leash and make new friends. Take a look at some of our furry visitors and make sure to read our Dog Policy before you come.

Compass Rose Room

The Compass Rose Room is an ideal location for corporate or private events or special occasions such as weddings. It boasts a large open space with high ceilings, elegant lighting, cork-covered walls, and multiple French doors opening onto the patio with a view of the vineyard. There is a view into the barrel room/production, and the Compass Rose Room has its own entrance and restroom facilities. There is also an adjacent kitchen, suitable for caterer set up and service. See all of our Venue Spaces.

Vine Room

The Vine Room (21+) upstairs is an additional event space that accommodates up to 40 guests and has ample bar space and farm table seating. You’ll be surrounded by vines that came from our Waterford Vineyard, and the space is enhanced by whimsical and elegant vine chandeliers. It is the perfect space for more intimate social occasions and parties. For weddings, the Vine Room may be used as a gathering space for extended family members and early-arrival wedding guests.

Outdoor Spaces

Our extensive patio features ample seating and overlooks the lawn and rolling  landscape. The lawn has comfortable Adirondack seating—so cozy around our fire pits in the winter—as well as room for a game of corn hole. The sunsets are lovely and serene, and the setting is perfect for wedding ceremonies, with a spectacular vineyard backdrop. We also offer reserved seating for large groups or small- to-medium private parties under our 20′ x 40′ Covered Patio and on the Vineyard View Deck (21+).


In the Production Room, you’ll find French and American oak barrels (and a few puncheons!), stainless steel tanks, and all the equipment needed to manage the vineyards, harvest grapes, process, ferment, and age the wine. All winemaking is done on site at the Waterford location—usually right in front of the building. Bottling occurs by mobile truck, also in the parking lot.


As a farm winery in Northern Virginia, 8 Chains North owns and leases vineyards with about 20 acres of mature vines. The original vineyard along the Potomac River, Furnace Mountain, includes Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Traminette. The Waterford Vineyard, where the winery is located, produces Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Viognier, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. The leased vineyards yield Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, and Chambourcin.

Fun Facts

grapes per red glass
bottles per ton of grapes
vines per acre
pounds of grapes per acre

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.


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.


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.


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 along the Potomac River, north of Leesburg. 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 where our vineyard lies. Using poetic license, we called ourselves 8 Chains North.


established furnace mountain vineyards

March 2004

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

Harvesting grapes at the best winery northern Virginia has to offer.
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

vineyard planting at the best winery in Northern Virginia
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 owners

August 2021

After 11 years, Renshaw sold the winery to new owners Edz Sturans and Cissi DeMarco who take the helm for the next chapter.

owners edz sturans and cissi demarco
projects galore


New equipment barn, acres of additional vineyard plantings, increased wine production, new very tall deck (!), and a delicious menu

best little brewhouse in loco

August 2023

We brewed up something great and introduced a handcrafted lager and IPA. Wine or beer? Now you can have both.

wait and see...