Almost a decade ago, Dean and Nancy Vanhuss bought a beam barn and the surrounding 8 acres along Dry Mill Road, following their dream to operate a winery.
They’ve since built up Dry Mill Winery to become one of the favorite wineries in a county that boasts more than three dozen. Now, the couple is looking to retire for good, and hopes to see the property continue in good hands.
“They put their hearts and souls into it, and I think they want to relax and enjoy life a little bit,” said Kelly Gaitten, an associate broker with Berkshire Hathaway PenFed Realty.
They officially put Dry Mill Winery on the market a week ago for $2.4 million.
It is the fourth Loudoun winery to go on sale in the past seven months. Late last year, Stephen and Shannon Mackey announced that they were selling their business and property Notaviva Vineyards. They’re moving to Colorado Springs to open an “urban winery.”
Earlier this month, the “for sale” sign went up at 26-acre North Gate Vineyard near Purcellville. And there is a fourth that recently went on the market, according to Peter Leonard-Morgan, real estate professional with Hunt Country Sotheby. He said the owners of that 359-acre property are not quite ready to publically name the vineyard and winery estate that’s for sale.
The reasons driving the sale of each of these wineries vary, but most have one thing in common—their owners are ready to slow down their lives a little, Leonard-Morgan said. “It’s a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation. At some point they’re thinking, we love it but really it’s time for us to pass the baton.”
Dry Mill Winery stands out among the rest, Gaitten said. She noted that the property is the only winery on the market that doesn’t come with vines. The grapes the Vanhusses have used to produce wine were grown near Lovettsville.
“There’s a lot of wineries for sale right now. The difference we bring to the table is there are a lot of possibilities with this property,” she said. “It’s a turnkey business, ready for the next custodian to come in and take the property to the next level.”
She suggested a farm-to-table restaurant, a brewery, or an events venue, or an expanded winery. The property includes a restaurant-grade kitchen, large meeting room, a patio with space for outdoor seating, and a total of 8.2 acres.
For now, the Vanhusses are operating the winery as business as usual. Kelly noted that they are not posting a “for sale” sign on the property. “They’re still wholeheartedly running the business. They want the patrons in the community to know that they are here until the next custodian takes over,” she said. “We hope people will help us find that next person that’s a right fit for the property.”
Fifteen miles away northwest, Notaviva Vineyards has gotten a few nibbles from prospective buyers, according to Leonard-Morgan. It is listed for $1.995 million. It sits on 42 acres on Sagle Road west of Hillsboro and includes a 4,500-square-foot tasting room, a farm, production facility, and vineyard. The Realtor is Janeen Marconi with Hunt Country Sotherby’s International Realty.
“It’s going to go to someone who can really take it to the next level—rebrand it and build on to what it is,” Leonard-Morgan said.
North Gate Vineyard’s property off Hillsboro Road is listed at $4.25 million and includes two four-story houses and 11 acres of vines.
That still-to-be-named 359-acre winery and estate for sale is listed at $11 million. More details on that property and other wineries for sale can be found at Hunt Country Sotheby’s vawineriesforsale.com, run by Leonard-Morgan and Isabelle Truchon.
Of course, a winery sale doesn’t lure a steady stream of interested buyers like home sales do in today’s hot housing market. But, for the right person, these properties could be a perfect endeavor.
“We’re talking about a very special industry,” Leonard-Morgan said. “The people we often see are people who have been in business in some form, have been successful, and love wine. They want to put back into the ground and be involved in something that brings people out to taste and enjoy the fruits of their labor.”