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Home Highlights

Owners:Al and Cindy Schornberg

Home Site:400 acres in Keswick Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains just east of Charlottesville, Va.

Style:Jeffersonian Colonial built in 1911 for the then U.S. ambassador George Barclay Rives

Living Space:10,000 square feet indoors including a grand foyer, master suite that spans the entire second level, and a custom kitchen with butler's kitchen; plus a carriage house-turned-guest quarters with office, media room, exercise room, full kitchen, and five bedrooms

Unique Features:European marble fireplace mantle added by previous homeowner Art Garfunkel; two staircases; in-ground swimming pool; new gazebo that overlooks a manicured croquet court

Nestled in a valley of rolling farmland surrounded by the smoky peaks of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, historic Edgewood Estate provides Frontgate customers Al and Cindy Schornberg the ideal setting to pursue a family dream—making and enjoying their own bottles of fine wine.

Keswick, Virginia

The Schornbergs' desire to live among their own grapevines intensified after a near-fatal plane crash in 1995. At the time, the couple was living a fast-paced life near Detroit, Mich., where Al had built his multi-million-dollar software company from the ground up. When the small plane he and Cindy had chartered to visit Canada’s Northwest Territory crashed into a mountainside's trees during a morning of thick fog, the couple knew that walking away alive meant it was time to pursue Al’s lifelong dream. Al and Cindy began a six-year search for the ideal location to build their winery.

A Search for The Best

Al and Cindy visited countless properties over an intense six-year search before discovering the 400-acre Edgewood Estate in Keswick, Virginia. "When we saw that the dining room's crown molding had clusters of grapes in the design, we knew this was the one," says Cindy. The Schornbergs had searched in other parts of the country, mainly in California and Texas, but the landscape surrounding the Virginia estate won them over. "The land is surrounded by white fences, and across the way we see rolling bundles of hay with a mountainous backdrop. There are cattle and horses around, and it's beautiful," Cindy says. The land is bordered by Virginia’s route 231, which has been named one of America's most scenic routes.

The property is more than scenic—it's historic. The land was part of the original 1727 Nicholas Meriwether Crown Grant. During the Revolutionary War, British Col. Banastre Tarleton and his troops approached the property on their way to capture Thomas Jefferson at the order of Benedict Arnold. The owner of Castle Hill, the original tract of land to which Edgewood Estate now belongs, offered the troops breakfast in an effort to stall them. While the troops dined, informant Jack Jouett rode to notify Jefferson that the British were on the way, and Jefferson evaded capture. A century later during the Civil War, Confederate troops stopped to camp on the property and were reviewed by Confederate General Robert E. Lee before fighting the Battle of the Wilderness, where 30,000 Americans would later lose their lives. In more recent years, Edgewood Estate has been the home of singer-songwriter Art Garfunkel and movie director Hugh Wilson.

In 2000 the Schornbergs purchased the estate, with a 10,000 square-foot, seven-bedroom Jeffersonian Colonial its crown jewel. The home was built on the property in 1911 for U.S. ambassador George Barclay Rives. “You could never duplicate this home. The walls are a foot thick, made of stone and concrete. They're virtually soundproof, and make it very hard to hang a picture,” Cindy says.

"Al and I both come from big families, and I love planning and hosting parties," Cindy says. "Everyone always gathers in the kitchen." Ensure effortless entertaining with our Kitchen & Entertaining Essentials.

Renovations Underway

With Edgewood Estate their new home, Al and Cindy—along with their six children ranging in ages from 5 to 30 years old—dedicated themselves to producing the best wines in Virginia. Bulldozers began clearing 40 acres of land around the home to make way for what would become Keswick Vineyards. Before grapevines were planted and irrigation systems installed, Al and Cindy hired an historian to search the cleared land and wooded areas for Revolutionary War and Civil War artifacts. He found discarded camp equipment, dropped bullets, uniform buttons, and belt buckles, which are now on display at the winery.

During the year it took to transform the terrain outside, Cindy set out to incorporate muted shades of green and burgundy into the home's interior to bring the outdoors inside. Cindy renovated the kitchen with vineyard-inspired accents, including the grapevine tile that borders the black marble counter. Over the kitchen sink, Cindy added custom tiles designed to resemble worn wine labels.

Along with the winery-infused decor, Cindy added formal touches to the home's interior. "When we moved in, the rooms were painted bright colors. We wanted a different feel," Cindy says. To improve upon the home's entrance, Cindy replaced the foyer's heart pine flooring with Italian marble in black and white. The room, with the new floor, the crystal chandelier and a grand staircase, greets guests with sophistication befitting a fine winery.

In the kitchen, the Schornbergs also updated the cabinets with a custom glaze to add richness and warmth to the room, and they installed floors of tumbled limestone travertine to incorporate a European touch underfoot. These updates—along with the kitchen's adjacent butler's quarters, professional-grade oven, and generously sized island—make their kitchen an ideal gathering place for friends and family.

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