John and P-J Lawrence were living in the Cascades neighborhood of Sterling when their passion for wine inspired them to take winemaking classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Then they planted an acre of vines on a rocky slope near Old Rag mountain and joined the make-your-own wine program at Vint Hill Craft Winery.
Nine years later, they operate one of the newest destinations in Loudoun’s wine country.
Last spring, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was closing down public gatherings, they opened Three Creeks Winery on 28-acres south of Hamilton.
As those restrictions were lifted in late June, the winery marked its one-year anniversary, and the Lawrences were looking to welcome new visitors who hadn’t yet discovered their quiet oasis in the heart of western Loudoun’s wine country.
In the decades before the Lawrences purchased the farm in 2017, the property had been used mainly for equestrian activities. They converted the hay barn into a tasting room, with renovations using oak, silver maple and greenstone from the property and the nearby stables offer room to expand their event space. On an ideal south-facing slope, they have 12 acres under vine.
But the focal point of the winery didn’t require any upgrades. The property, where the main house was built in 1898, is crossed by three creeks and is surrounded by thousands of acres of preserved open space—leaving views that have been unchanged for centuries.
While nestled in a cluster of the county’s best known wineries—including the Loudoun’s oldest at Willowcroft Vineyards, the popular Stone Tower Winery and the Barns at Hamilton Station—it sets itself apart in a number of ways. It is an over-21 venue, welcoming leashed dogs but not catering to children. Also, it’s not a destination for live music, a hallmark of many winery operations. Instead, the property’s most popular features—outside of the bottles—are the sounds of the bubbling brooks and the quiet, shady spots beneath a towering walnut tree to meet with friends and family.
“People say, ‘do you have music?’ and I say, ‘no, I have aquatic music, I have avian music, and lately I have cicada music,’” P-J Lawrence said. “People actually like being out here where is it quiet and where they can talk with people.”
The Lawrences teamed up veteran winemaker Ashton Lough, who they met early in their winemaking days at Vint Hill. Since 2012, Lough has put his knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology to work in the fermentation process and today is the winemaker at The Winery at Bull Run. They share a passion for European-style wines.
“I’ve always liked the European style; I’m not a West Coast, Napa person,” John Lawrence said, noting the growing season is similar to Virginia’s. “We’re trying to make European wines. We’re serious about that. So far so good.”
The partnership has paid off, with the winery bringing home six silver awards during the 2021 Governor’s Cup competition, for its 2019 Sur-Lie Chardonnay, 2019 Vidal Blanc, 2019 Sur-Lie Viognier, 2019 Petit Verdot, 2018 Melange Rouge, and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon.
“You don’t take anything for granted, but the most common compliment we get here is ‘there wasn’t one wine we didn’t like,’” P-J Lawrence said. “Hopefully, it will stay that way.”
Three Creeks Winery is located at 18548 Harmony Church Road south of Hamilton. It is open Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays.
Learn more at 3creekswinery.com.