Cooper Vineyards Now
Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard
It has been three years since David and Susan Drillock purchased Cooper Vineyards in Louisa. They purchased the winery on July 28, 2015 with the goal of producing premium Virginia Wines. The transition to the new name “Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard” is complete.
Why Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard? David Drillock has the answer. “Cooper Vineyards became Virginia’s 53rd licensed winery in July 1999, and we wanted some historical context in the rebranding of the name,” he explained.
The Drillocks have made some significant investments in the business since taking over. A new production facility has been constructed with more space and equipment dedicated to improving the quality of the wine. The outdoor pavilion has been enclosed, which provides a venue large enough to host winemaker dinners and special wine club events. The pavilion also provides additional tasting space for busy weekends.
Creating great wine starts in the vineyard. Under the new ownership, grape production has increased, and a philosophy of winegrowing versus grape growing has taken hold. The Louisa vineyard replanted 50 percent of its vines, and the trellising system was converted to vertical short positioning. The crew also planted an additional 12-acre vineyard in the Monticello AVA. New plantings include Albarino, Chardonnay, Chardonel, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Merlot, and Viognier.
It will take a few more years and backbreaking work to get the vineyards to where the Drillocks want them to be. They are making great progress as evidenced by their wine club of approximately 1,000 members, up almost 50 percent since they purchased the winery three years ago.
The LEED Platinum-certified
tasting room uses solar power for electricity, geothermal for temperature control, and rainwater collection to reduce water use. The new construction was also mindful of the environmentally-friendly aspects of the winery. Extensive use of LED lighting to reduce power consumption and rainwater runoff collection systems all contribute to its “green” footprint.
Fifty-Third is quickly becoming a destination stop for the serious and not-so-serious oenophile. It is situated in an intimate setting in rural Louisa County and located between Richmond, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg. It is an easy drive from anywhere on Lake Anna and is conveniently located off Routes 64 and 33 at 13372 Shannon Hill Road, Louisa, Virginia. The winery has live music on weekends from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.; check the website www.coopervineyards.com for details. The current website is under construction, and www.coopervineyards.com will redirect to the new Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard website once complete.
The Drillocks believe it is all about the wine and a great customer experience. Winemaker Graham Bell, assistant Chelsey Blevins, and the vineyard crew continue to create award-winning wines. Voted one of Virginia’s favorite tasting rooms several times, the tasting room staff is knowledgeable and friendly while the grounds and buildings are clean and inviting. However, the most satisfying reward for the whole team at Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard is when customers say an often-heard comment: “how much they enjoyed all the wines.”