It’s an autumn tradition: Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery’s Oyster Roast, held over a weekend in November at its vineyard in Afton, Virginia. Rappahannock River Oysters cooks up its bivalves and Cardinal Point pours its wines, while children scamper through the grass and grown-ups relax to the live music amid the rural setting. This approachable, family-friendly vibe is one the winery comes by honestly. Since 1985, this farm has been the home, and then business, of the Gorman family.
Started by Paul and Ruth Gorman in 1985 with four acres of grapes, Cardinal Point quickly became a family affair, with Paul and Ruth’s children—John, Sarah, and Tim—taking on various roles at the farm. Tim manages the fifteen-acre vineyard, John oversees construction and renovation of the property’s buildings, and Sarah manages the day-to-day business at the winery, which opened in 2002. Tim’s wife, Susan, runs the tasting room.
Families are at the center of many wine businesses in central Virginia. Sarah came to know Claude Thibaut of Thibaut-Janisson Winery through this wife, Pamela Margaux, whose company distributes Cardinal Point’s wines. Having the opportunity to get to know Claude and his talents as a winemaker inspired Sarah to want to share his story.
“I find him to be friendly, amiable, and always willing to share his expertise,” Sarah says. “He is one of the best winemakers in the area.”