Our Story - The Williamsburg Winery

With over 50 acres of vineyards, a bountiful on-site garden, a hotel and a restaurant, The Williamsburg Winery is more than just a Winery.

Our goal was to create a home on a farm, to raise a family in a place where with free air and a pleasing climate, to start a business that would lead to complete autonomy. At the time, my wife, Peggy, and our sons, Patrick II and Terence, lived on the Costa Brava in Spain. Our venture might have started in New Zealand or Argentina. Peggy and I discussed both, but something about Virginia, specifically Williamsburg, where we visited more than once, reminded us of our European roots. It took years to find the farm we envisioned — 300 acres alongside a creek where an agricultural business could blossom, a winery where there were none. Peggy and I found the large parcel of land that we called Wessex Hundred, as the use of “Hundred” to name a property dates back to the Colonial era and describes parcels of land sufficient to support 100 families regardless of actual acreage. With several oversized barns fronting College Creek, amid hundreds of trees impressive in size, with the James River in our view, we went to work on a vision that no one else shared.

While the first grapes were planted here as early as 1609, wine and Virginia wasn’t anyone’s ideal pairing. I can’t say I wasn’t daunted by the challenge, but I accepted it, knowing no worthwhile project is ever easy. I was neither a winemaker nor a viticulturalist, but I had a firm grasp on both and the business acumen to persist.

Historical research told us we owned a farm on land that might have become this country’s first settlement had Capt. John Smith not had final say. How special to plant our own roots here.

We penciled in 1985 as the year to start our trial vineyard, a massive undertaking and a milestone in a story that has many. We share the details about many of them in our Inside the Winery Blog written by me, Patrick Duffeler. Enjoy the read, and of course, enjoy life!

Patrick G. Duffeler, Founder

Williamsburg Winery owner Patrick Duffeler.
“Inside the Winery”

Read more about the Winery owner Patrick Duffeler.


Meet our Leadership Team

Patrick Duffeler with The Art & Science of Viticulture and Winemaking Thursday June 3, 2021.

Patrick G. Duffeler

Founder & Chairman

Patrick Duffeler was born in Belgium of a Germanic family and educated in the United States. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Finance from the University of Rochester, New York, he embarked on his professional career at Eastman Kodak.

He later joined the international division of Philip Morris in Switzerland as Director of Marketing and Promotions. Patrick was instrumental in the development of the Marlboro World Championship Racing Team project which ushered the Marlboro brand into international motorsports, proving the value of promotional activity as a brand building mechanism. During these years, Patrick and his wife Peggy became the parents of two sons, Patrick II and Terence.

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During this period, his travels took him not only to Europe, but also Latin America, the Far East, the Middle East, and Africa. He independently became involved in the wine industry in Burgundy, France and forged relationships with those producers. Likewise, his interest in the hospitality industry burgeoned, and he had the chance to participate in a study for the development of a country hotel in Beaune, Burgundy. Both interests were the building blocks for a life-changing decision Patrick was about to make.

Patrick went on to serve as the International President of Fragrances Selective and balanced his time between two continents. In 1983, Patrick and Peggy, after an exhaustive search, purchased 300 acres of land in Williamsburg and founded The Williamsburg Winery in 1985. In 2007, his dream of a European-style Country Hotel came to fruition as the doors to Wedmore Place opened for the first time after 10 years of planning. Sadly, Peggy Duffeler, a driving force behind the business, had passed away in 2004, not surviving to witness the launch of the hotel.  Nevertheless, her spirit lives on throughout Wessex Hundred. In 2007, Patrick was married to Françoise, a native of France.


Matthew G. R. Meyer

Executive Vice President & Winemaker

Matthew came to wine at an early age; he purports to have swirled his milk as a child! Born in Great Britain, Matthew learned to appreciate wine from his father.

Matthew attended one of the world’s premier wine schools, the University of California at Davis, where he obtained a double degree in Oenology and Viticulture with a minor in Business and Marketing. Matthew was elected President of the prestigious Davis Enology and Viticulture Organization.

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Matthew was recruited by Heitz Wine Cellars, one of the premiere wineries in the world and known for its ‘Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon’. It was here that Matthew apprenticed under the Heitz family and Joe Norman. Later as Cellar Master/Assistant Winemaker he took over the Cellar Select Chardonnay program. Collectively, Matthew, like a fine wine, had come of age and was now well-prepared to create his brand of wines in a new and challenging environment.   Matthew came to The Williamsburg Winery as head Winemaker in 2002 with the goal of helping to establish Virginia as the next big wine region in America.

Since joining the The Williamsburg Winery, Matthew has emerged as an industry leader.  His wines have been awarded numerous Double Gold, Gold and ‘Best Of Class’ awards.  A pinnacle moment in the history of the Winery came in 2014 when Matthew’s signature blend Adagio was awarded the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Award as the state’s highest rated wine.  Since then, the Adagio has become one of Virginia’s signature wines and has received multiple 90+ Point ratings from the renowned Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate and the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute.

Matthew was recruited by Heitz Wine Cellars, one of the premiere wineries in the world and known for its ‘Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon’. It was here that Matthew apprenticed under the Heitz family and Joe Norman. Later as Cellar Master/Assistant Winemaker he took over the Cellar Select Chardonnay program. Collectively, Matthew, like a fine wine, had come of age and was now well-prepared to create his brand of wines in a new and challenging environment.   Matthew came to The Williamsburg Winery as head Winemaker in 2002 with the goal of helping to establish Virginia as the next big wine region in America.

Since joining the The Williamsburg Winery, Matthew has emerged as an industry leader.  His wines have been awarded numerous Double Gold, Gold and ‘Best Of Class’ awards.  A pinnacle moment in the history of the Winery came in 2014 when Matthew’s signature blend Adagio was awarded the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Award as the state’s highest rated wine.  Since then, the Adagio has become one of Virginia’s signature wines and has received multiple 90+ Point ratings from the renowned Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate and the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute.


Elena B at TWW

Elena Barber

Vice President, Trade Sales

Ms. Barber commenced employment with The Williamsburg Winery in April 2011 as an On-Premise Trade Sales Manager.  In this capacity, she promotes and places wines from The Williamsburg Winery with a variety of restaurants and timeshares throughout Southern Virginia.  She received her MBA in Grenoble, France, and her BA in Public Law in Moldova.  Ms. Barber is the wife of Matthew Meyer, Winemaker of The Williamsburg Winery.


Francoise C. Duffeler

Internal Consultant Hospitality and Public Relations

Born in Vendome France, Françoise attended hotel management school in Bourges and went to work for a number of hotels in Southern France as well as spent two years in Munich, Germany and then another two years in London UK . She worked as part of the hospitality management team of the Mayfair, a small boutique hotel near the place de la Concorde in Paris where she and Patrick met, in the late 70’s.

From 1981, Françoise participated in the creation of a school based on sensorial bodywork training for physicians, physiotherapists as well as patients interested in the body health field.  Until the end of 2006, she ran the organization of seminars and lectures for students in that field in over twelve countries on four continents. Françoise has travelled extensively through India and Nepal where she climbed the Himalayas, Kashmir for the Amarnath pilgrimage, Malaysia Indonesia, China, etc. 

Williamsburg Winery Francoise Duffeler.

Portraints of Angela at TWW June 23, 2022

Angela Smith

General Manager, Wedmore Place

Angela Smith finds joy in being part of what people love about Wessex Hundred from the solace of the wooded farm to Wedmore Place, the onsite inn where each of the 28 rooms and suites is themed to a different province of Europe. As General Manager of Wedmore Place, Angela oversees every detail of the hotel to ensure guests receive the best in customer service during their overnight stay. She encourages guests celebrating milestones to share that information with her so she can add one of her signature touches to commemorate the occasion. Born in the Outer Banks, Angela volunteered to plan multiple charity fundraisers there before a career as a flight attendant. She joined the winery in September 2021 and enjoys traveling, particularly to London, which inspired her to name her black Lab of British descent, Sir Winston Wales.


Leah Robertson

Wedding & Event Manager

Leah finds reward in ensuring none of the details are overlooked in the planning of the winery’s events, which include weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, fundraisers and retreats of all scope and sizes. Rest assured she’s one step ahead to ensure a memorable experience for every guest in attendance. Leah is a transplanted Floridian with an appreciation for both the green spaces throughout Wessex Hundred and the family atmosphere that make working there so special. When she’s not working at the winery, Leah enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.


Gallery

Experience the Winery

Come see the many ways we’ve earned our place on the world wine map.
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