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The estate's main house also features a formal dining room, a parlor with a European marble fireplace mantle added by previous owner Art Garfunkel, a piano room that overlooks the vineyards, a full-floor master suite, a third floor with two bedroom suites, and a mahogany-paneled library. The library is furnished with rich fabrics inspired by the region's fox hunting renown. In fitting with the fox hunting theme, the room’s custom-made fireplace screen is embellished with a hound dog and bugle blower motif, which, when placed in front of wood burning in the fireplace, is silhouetted beautifully, Cindy says.
The Schornbergs' main living space is supplemented by a 5,000-square-foot structure that once served as the home's carriage house. "It is a real carriage house, where the family's horses and carriages were kept. There's even a water tower that supplied water to the main house before plumbing," Al says. The Schornbergs have repurposed the space to house Al's office, the family exercise room, and a home theatre. "We get together as a family a few times a week and enjoy family night," Al says. "We enjoy the huge screen and we pop popcorn. It's a place to relax." The carriage house also has a full kitchen, 3 guest suites and 5 total baths, making for ideal accommodations when guests arrive.
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Schornberg estate offers scenic views of the wilderness and plenty of quiet hideaways. Browse our distinctive Outdoor Living collection for ideas on how to savor your open air spaces.
When weather permits and the family needs a break from vineyard duties, the family enjoys a meticulously manicured area of lawn bordered by an 18"-high stone wall. "It makes for the perfect game of croquet," Al says. The Schornbergs spend time at their outside patio area, too—a long brick lanai with two shade trees—that they keep cool with their Frontgate misting fan. During the summer months, the family enjoys a swim in the in-ground pool. "We've found the Frontgate pool floats to be the most luxurious available," Al says.
A Place for Family
Harvesting grapes at Keswick Vineyards has become family affair. Every night, the family sorts grapes on tables in stacked crates. "The kids help with the whole process. They are a part of the family business," Cindy says. Daughter Kris is especially integral to Keswick Vineyards—she serves as manager of the wine tasting room, and also designs the wine bottle labels by hand.
In the evenings, when the family comes inside from harvesting, life in the Schornberg house revolves around the kitchen. "We don't eat out. We eat home-cooked meals, and we use the Frontgate grill we bought in 2000 every day," Cindy says. The Schornbergs' favorite family meal is a wine chicken recipe they enjoy every Sunday. Cindy pours their own wine into the bird, and then rubs the chicken with peanut oil and seasonings. It is then grilled over broken wine barrel chips to add a rich, smoked flavor. "The meal is a big production. We have wine, homemade mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce—it's like Thanksgiving every week," Cindy says. During the week, the family grills steaks, burgers, and corn on the cob.
After the day's harvesting is over and they have enjoyed dinner, the family often retreats to the second-story master suite's balcony to enjoy the breathtaking sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains. "It's a spectacular view," Cindy says. The setting is made even more beautiful by the soothing sounds of water flowing from their grand fountain below.
An elegant sign welcomes visitors and marks the entrance to Keswick Vineyards. Distinguish the pathway to your home with customized Address Plaques & Mailboxes from Frontgate.
The Schornberg family is savoring life at Keswick Vineyards now, but the year after their first vintage, their vines faced an unexpected foe. Hurricane Isabel struck Virginia in September 2003 with drenching rains and high winds, which hit the grape crop in the middle of the harvest. "The rows of grapes we'd made as straight as soldiers were leaning at a 45 degree angle," Cindy says. "We harvested half the grapes before the storm, but after the storm, it was a challenge to access the vines because of the infrastructure damage. We were reminded that we're always at the hand of Mother Nature," Al says.
In typical growing seasons, Virginia’s seasonal weather and terrain is comparable to that of European vineyards, and the Schornbergs' winery is reaping the benefits. In 2002 Keswick Vineyards produced 1,500 cases of wine, one of which—the Viognier Estate Reserve 2002—beat out national and international competitors for the title of “Best White Wine in America” at the Atlanta International Wine Summit. “It was our first time up to bat, and we won. Not anyone else has done that,” Al says. Since that first year, Keswick Vineyards has received more than 100 medals for their Viognier, Chardonnay, Touriga, and Bordeaux blends, and for their Nektar, which has been labeled sweet enough for dessert.
"It's been like the longest pregnancy ever. Our first harvest was like a birth. Then the baby came—a bottle of wine representing everything we'd created. Since we started enjoying our baby, we've forgotten about all the pain it took," Cindy says.
Keswick Vineyards is located just north of Charlottesville, Virginia on Route 231 in Keswick. Wine is available for sale by phone at (434) 244-3341 or online at www.keswickvineyards.com.
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