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Story: IAN STALKER Photos: KIMBERLY SHEPPARD
Winter visitors to northern Virginia’s Delaplane Cellars winery needn’t whine about possibly coolish weather while sipping wine.
The winery has “igloos” that provide guests with an outdoorsy experience while keeping Jack Frost at bay.
The dome-shaped structures have steel frames with transparent overlays enabling customers to “enjoy the spectacular views of the Cobbler Mountains and Crooked Run Valley,” says Kimberly Sheppard, in charge of winery marketing.
“Winter in Virginia can have large swings in temperature throughout and between days,” she reports. “Recent winters have been mild, with daily temperatures in the 40s and 50s. January is our coldest month of the year, with average temperatures between 25 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Virginia is not especially wet, and snow is relatively rare in our area.”
Those temperatures are far from winter weather in the Arctic, the home of igloos but may still seem cool to Delaplane Cellars guests, who if they opt for winery igloos will find customer-controlled heaters and faux-fur blankets, although Sheppard says those items aren’t generally needed. “We’ve found the igloos to be cozy and warm while the sun is shining.”
The igloos have steel frames with transparent overlays “so that customers can enjoy the spectacular views of the Cobbler Mountains and Crooked Run Valley. Each igloo has a customer-controlled heater and faux-fur blankets if it gets cold. However, we’ve found the igloos to be cozy and warm while the sun is shining.”
Not all winter visitors who appreciate views of the Great Oudoors book an igloo, with winter temperatures sometimes reaching 70 degrees, and “on those days, people love to be outdoors on our patio and deck areas,” Sheppard reports. “We also have a few firepit tables, which people enjoy when temperatures are a bit cooler. If customers prefer to be indoors, we have several tables along our wall of glass doors in the tasting room, as well as a loft space upstairs.”
But Sheppard says offering the igloos made sense for Delaplane Cellars.
“We wanted a structure that provided a cozy, private, elevated tasting experience for our guests,” she says. “We also felt it was important to preserve the view as a component of the customer experience, so we wanted a transparent structure. The igloos are interesting because customers can be warm and cozy, while almost feeling as if they are outdoors. Some other wineries and restaurants in the state are also offering igloo or cabana experiences, but the offering varies from business to business. Our igloos accommodate up to 6 adults, and include a wine tasting experience, elevated charcuterie platter, and are equipped with customer-controlled heaters, speakers, and faux fur blankets. Each igloo reservation is for three hours. They are an excellent spot to enjoy our area’s gorgeous sunsets!”
Traditional igloos made from ice wouldn’t be able to weather Virginia’s un-Arctic winter weather and so Sheppard says the warm retreats her winery makes available fit the bill very nicely for Delaplane Cellars guests.
“Customer feedback has been very positive!” she reports. “Especially with COVID on the rise again, customers enjoy having a private space from which to enjoy all that Delaplane Cellars has to offer: great wine, spectacular views, and excellent service.”
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