Having a Monster Good Time at Wind Vineyards
Tyler Wind lived in Charlottesville and Charleston, South Carolina, cities that always rank among the most desirable to live nationally.
Yet he’d rather be in Tappahannock, and not just because it’s his hometown.
“I chose to come back to Tappahannock,” said Wind, owner and operator of Wind Vineyards in Essex County, roughly five minutes from where he grew up. “The biggest thing is I see such potential here, and I want Tappahannock to reach that potential. It’s right in the middle of Williamsburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg — the gateway to the Northern Neck. The roads to everywhere in eastern Virginia lead through Tappahannock.”
Wind Vineyards gives travelers a reason to stop and stay.
Wind is that unique orthopedic surgeon who also happens to own a winery that just happens to offer monster trucks as regular entertainment — a unique pairing, indeed.
“Does it go with wine? Absolutely not!” he admitted. “But neither does a surgeon who drives a monster truck who gets out and makes wine. I enjoy being a jack of all trades.”
Wind loves his work at Bon Secours Kilmarnock Surgical Specialists, where he treats everything from general orthopedic problems to fractures and complex joint replacements.
But he’s equally passionate about Wind Vineyards, an evolving project that will feature a full farm agritourism experience to visitors when complete. The winery is the cornerstone of that, but it’s only part of what promises to be mammoth in scope of entertainment options
Wind Vineyards already offers tastings, frequent live music, pick-your-own sunflowers, Amish-made cider and donuts and yes, monster trucks with your Chardonnay.
Showcasing a monster truck at a winery attracts a whole new audience even though he confesses, “I had never been to a monster truck show before doing this.” But Wind learned how to operate one and now performs at arena events in addition to those at the farm. He has since added a Grape Crusher Monster Truck ride. Both were part of the Wind Vineyards Fall Harvest Festival, held on weekends during October, that draws families with its carnival games, hay rides, corn maze, pumpkin patch and more.
But that’s only a hint of what Wind has in store. A sampling of what’s coming:
- A brewery, distillery and cidery – add the winery and this would be a first-of-its-kind operation in the state
- An onsite restaurant with a brick pizza oven
- An outdoor tasting bar on a deadrise boat
- Outdoor movie nights for families
- Multiple Christmas events, including horse and buggy rides, bonfire singalongs, concerts, dinners with instrumental holiday music, Santa Claus visits
- Pick your own strawberries, blackberries, apples and blueberries
- Regular 5K races including a mud run this spring
- A farm-to-fork market
If that’s not enough, Wind owns Wind Farms Excavation & Clearing — a plus as he has all the machinery needed to clear the land on the farm when necessary — and his real estate company, Wind Luxury Properties, specializes in high end vacation rentals. He also oversees every aspect of the winery that draws an eclectic mix of visitors from affluent locals that reside in the surrounding homes on the riverfront to folks who have never tried a glass of wine before. Industry veteran Tom Payette is the winery’s consultant; the nationally renowned expert was recently named a Wine Industry Leader of the Year by Wine Business Monthly.
Wind Vineyards’ 37 acres of grapes ranks it among one of the larger venues in the state. “We also grow 25 varieties of grapes, which to my knowledge is the most variety of any winery in the state,” Wind said. “We’re also, to my knowledge, the only winery that grows and produces wine from muscadine grapes.”
Wind’s wife, Ashley, manages the tasting room and events along with a bunch of etceteras.
What sounds daunting— along with four children aged 4-11 — fuels Wind, who is always on the hunt for ideas to improve and enhance Wind Vineyards.
“We’re trying to mix it up, intentionally having this variety, so we can have year-round entertainment, and there’s always a reason to come to the Tappahannock area,” Wind said. “We think Tappahannock is a place that’s worthy to be a destination and we’re trying to provide the reason why.”