ECW Weekender: 1781 Brewery & Wilderness Run Vineyards

1781? That’s a Revolutionary War date! Why is it on a Civil War blog? Hold your horses – let us explain, and maybe you’ll be planning a trip to this brewery (and winery) and historic location.

During the Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium in August, we hosted a Saturday night hang-out at this brewery and winery near Chancellorsville Battlefield. It was a wonderful evening with plenty of opportunities to talk about history, sample beverages, and enjoy some delicious cuisine. One of the historical details discussed that evening revolved around the history of the brewery’s location.

Why 1781? The brewery’s owners are history conscious and shared the answer on their website: 

With so much historical significance surrounding the farm, it was only fitting that the name of the brewery reflects it! During 1781, General Marquis de Lafayette was busy shadowing General Cornwallis’ movements as he set his sites on Yorktown. It was during this time that General Lafayette was recorded camping just down the road from our property. Months later, Lafayette, along with Washington and 17,000 soldiers defeated the British and won the Revolutionary war.

Now, fast-forward on the historical timeline to the 1860’s: American Civil War. Located east of Jackson’s flank attack location and just a little north of Ellwood Manor, the site of the winery and brewery is located very close to where a Confederate Second Corps field hospital was placed during the Battle of Chancellorsville. Dr. Hunter McGuire brought General Jackson and Colonel Crutchfield to this field hospital for surgical treatment. At the battlefield medical facility, Jackson’s left arm was amputated.

There is definitely military and medical history to consider during a evening out at the winery or brewery. (Or you could visit just to see the historic location, too.)

One of the views at 1781 Brewery and Wilderness Run Winery (photograph by S.K. Bierle)

1781 Brewery uses natural ingredients from the farm to create farmhouse ales. They produce French, Belgian, and German influenced ales. Some of their “flagship ales” are even named after historic persons who visited the farm location! For more information about the brews and ales, please visit 1781 Brewery’s website.

Wilderness Run Winery offers unique Virginian wines, produced from vines on the property. The owners say, “Every day here at Wilderness Run is carried out with the mentality of producing real, authentic wines and experiences. From the rolling hills covered in vines, to the wildlife living throughout the farm, we strive to highlight the importance of knowing where the things we put in our bodies come from. We invite you to see for yourself just how much better things taste when they’re closer to mother nature.”

Both the brewery and winery are located on the same farm – a first in the state of Virginia. Their locations offer a wonderful picnicking area and even a playground for the kiddos. It’s okay to bring your own food, but there is also a food truck on location with gourmet cuisine available at certain times. (Check the websites or call ahead for details.)

Perhaps you’ll want to stop by 1781 and Wilderness Run after a day of battlefielding. Watch the sunset and consider the history that occurred decades ago at or near this location. It’s unlikely “Stonewall” would approve, but history suggests Dr. McGuire (and Lafayette) would have raised a glass!

1781 Brewery

Wilderness Run Winery

  • 111109 Plank Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22553
  • (540) 842-0199
  • Please check the websites for current operating hours.
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One Response to ECW Weekender: 1781 Brewery & Wilderness Run Vineyards

  1. I think the brewery owners have misused a word that often gets confused. I believe Cornwallis was setting his sights (as in the sights of his guns) on the property, not his view on the site/property. Nonetheless, it was a lovely evening in a pleasant site with good beer.

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