Shenandoah Valley AVA, Virginia

Our Story

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJuan C Mansilla / Vineyard Co-Owner

I am a native San Franciscan with generations of Sonoma Valley wine growers in my family. I graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and have spent many years working in the finance discipline. My passion for wine comes from my experiences while living in San Francisco and then visiting my parents in Glen Ellen where I got to watch many of the local wineries grow and prosper. I have traveled to many of the world’s premier wine growing regions including Champagne and Chateauneuf-du-Pape in France, Penedes in Spain, and Auckland in New Zealand. I have also explored many of this country’s other viticultural regions in California, Virginia, New York’s Finger Lakes, Texas’ Hill Country, New England, and Iowa. Since moving to Virginia, I have enjoyed promoting our region’s wines and working with local wine makers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavid Rourke / Vineyard Co-Owner

I am a native of the Boston area and learned to appreciate wine while attending Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. During my 25 years working in the hospitality industry, I have lived in such diverse locations as San Francisco, Houston, El Paso, Newport RI, and New Orleans; but I have never lost my love for Boston and its sports teams. I too have visited many of the world’s best wine growing regions which has served to increase my desire to begin this adventure. Upon moving to Virginia, I worked in a local winery’s tasting room, while bringing Juan’s and my vision for M&R Vineyard to life; I love talking with visitors about Virginia’s vineyards and wineries. In January 2014, I was elected Treasurer of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Growers Association and was re-elected for another term in January 2017. Juan and I spent nearly a year selecting our vineyard site and used several criteria in doing so: elevation, soil type, slope, aspect, and climate. We worked closely with Virginia Estates’ realtors and vineyard consultant, Jeanette Smith, to find this site in Quicksburg.

MandR Winter 2017The Vineyard Site / Quicksburg, VA

When we decided to start our adventure in Virginia, we soon realized that the Shenandoah Valley AVA was best suited to our vision. Shenandoah County has one of the driest climates on the east coast and sits at the same latitude as California’s Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The property features a gentle slope facing west toward the Allegheny Mountains, an average elevation of 1060 feet, and a limestone-based soil similar to that of the Loire Valley in France. All of these factors contributed to our decision to move here in 2012 and purchase the property on the corner of Pinewoods Road and Quicksburg Road. We planted our first vines in 2013 and, under the continued guidance of Jeanette Smith, we are currently growing Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Petite Pearl, Vidal Blanc, and Chardonel.  Our grapes are currently being sourced to local wineries within Shenandoah County.