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The Club at Viniterra: A gated golf-course community right at home in the heart of Virginia Wine Country
By Larry Olmsted,
NEW KENT, Va. -- Wine is produced in all 50 states, but that was not always the case. For much of American history significant wine production was limited to a handful of states, including New York, California and Virginia.
Yes, Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson returned from Paris to plant grapes and make wine, an industry that has thrived in the Old Dominion State ever since.
So the region was ripe for something like The Club at Viniterra, a gated luxury wine and golf community centrally located between Richmond and Williamsburg.
The Club at Viniterra spans nearly 1,200 acres of rugged and forested terrain. This includes the massive 7,800-yard golf course designed by Rees Jones, who has had immense success with such private community courses as the Monterey Peninsula Club, Nantucket Golf Club and Ocean Forest Club.
Jones' design rolls across the undulating Virginia countryside with generously massive fairways followed by daunting run-ups to nearly every one of its heavily protected and heavily sloping green complexes. Much of the course is carved from mature and deciduous forest, but it also encompasses several wetland areas, necessitating 13 bridges. Hazards of every type -- sand, water and grass bunkers -- abound, and the course plays to a staggering number of length combinations (some holes have up to a dozen places to tee off).
Viniterra, loosely translated from Latin, means "earth wines" or "land of grapes." And the second jewel of this community is the New Kent Winery, built almost entirely from recycled building materials. The 12,000-square-foot winery was constructed by craftsmen using historic materials reclaimed from buildings and structures more than a century old -- pine railroad trusses, structural and floor timbers from a circa 1852 Connecticut warehouse and even pre-Civil War brick. It was outfitted with state-of-the-art winemaking equipment and has already produced many wines, including Chardonnay, Merlot, Vidal Blanc and Norton, a grape native to Virginia.
The entire project was designed as an environmentally sustainable community, and the low density housing development adds to this natural feel. The lots range from one to more than two acres. Woods surround some lots, while others have marsh or golf course views. The course, which opened for play in 2009, has a similar focus and is exclusively planted with the grass hybrid "Celebration," drought-resistant and requiring 70 percent less water than usual.
The larger New Kent development extends beyond the gates of Viniterra, and adjacent acreage includes plans for everything from an equestrian complex with bridle and carriage trails, to several lakes with walking trails, a swim and racquet club, and a 62-room inn and spa complex with multiple eateries.
The Club at Viniterra real estate options
Real estate options within Viniterra include 297 half-acre estate lots for custom homes of 2,200 square feet or larger and a 30-unit, gated sub-neighborhood, the Lakefront Cottages at Viniterra. These smaller homes will offer maintenance-free living within easy walking distance of the spa, the winery and golf course. Still in Phase I, 80 lots were made available, and nearly half have been sold.
These range in price from $149,000-$400,000 with lot and finished custom home combinations possible from the low $500,000s. Cottage prices are not yet available.
Larry Olmsted has written more than 1,000 articles on golf and golf travel, for the likes of Golf Magazine, T&L Golf, LINKS, Golf & Travel, Men's Health, Men's Journal, USA Today, and many others. He broke the Guinness World Record for golf travel and wrote Getting into Guinness, as well as Golf Travel by Design. He was the founding editor of The Golf Insider, and the golf columnist for both USA Today.com and US Airways Magazine.
May 8, 2012
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.