The History Behind Vint Hill
The History Behind Vint Hill
Vint Hill Craft Winery History
We are located in ‘The Listening Post’ (aka Monitoring Station #1) on one of the nation’s most covert Army bases. Our building originally served as a dairy barn for more than 100 years before becoming a secret Army post. Fascinating history and fabulous wines are served here. With a 100-barrel capacity, we boast small quantities of a wide variety of varietals – there is something new to taste on every return trip!
In 1940, the owner of Vint Hill, Mitchell Harrison was playing with his ham radio and started hearing transmissions from all over the world.
After sharing the information with his army buddy, the military came in two weeks later, and took over the farm. For the next 55 years Vint Hill farm served as a secret spying base for the U.S. Army.
Since 2009 the property has been Vint Hill Craft Winery, making small batch wines for our friends in Virginia.
“You Were Never Here”
Two things to love about us:
By making only a few barrels of each varietal, the quality of the wine is more easily controlled – superb!
We make all of our wines on-site.
Three unique things about us:
Our tasting room has an observation deck to the production area below. Come on the right day and you can watch our wines being made or bottled, or the fun of one of our events.
One of the only urban wineries in the area. Visit us and meet our neighbors: Old Bust Head Brewing Co., MTO Kombucha, Covert Cafe, Iva Bella Salon and more.
Located on a former covert Army base. Your GPS still can’t find us – gotta use your own navigation skills! (Or call us and we’ll get you here.)
Vint Hill’s History
Vint Hill farm was first established before the Revolutionary War. It became well known for breeding exotic cattle
In 1860 an Englishman named Albert Low constructed his new family home, now the Inn at Vint Hill. Next year, the Civil War erupted at nearby Bull Run. Fearing his new home might be destroyed in the fighting, Mr. Low raised his Union Jack flag over the farm, declaring that Vint Hill was the sovereign property of Great Britain! Battles raged on all sides Vint Hill, but neither army fired a shot on the farm’s 800 acres.
In 1940, the farmer (and Ham Radio hobbyist), who lived at Vint Hill farm, stretched a wire to the top of the barn silo seeking better radio reception. He told his army friend that he could listen to broadcasts from as far away as Berlin. Two weeks later, the government bought the farm and for the next 55 years Vint Hill farm served as a secret spying base for the U.S. Army.
Vint Hill winery is located in a hundred year-old barn, and was literally a nest of spies. Called Monitoring Station #1, it was the very first building of what would become the NSA.
Vint Hill Farms Station
In June 1942, the U.S. Army, established a top-secret post at Vint Hill Farms to intercept enemy radio transmissions. The barns on the grounds housed the monitoring station. The Signal Corps cryptographic school , which taught personnel to encode, decode, and translate messages, was moved here. Pvt. Leonard A. Mudloff is credited with intercepting a message here from Hiroshi Oshima, the Japanese ambassador to Germany, on 10 Nov, 1943. It described German coastal fortifications in western France, troop strengths, and contingency plans. The “Oshima intercept” was a crucial contribution to the planning for D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe. The post operated through the Cold War, closing in 1997.
Below are some photos from when the barns where operated by the Army. Included are examples of the uniforms of the day, the machines use.
The cartoonist Mort Walker who created Beetle Bailey was stationed here during World War II where his experiences lead to the creation of the comic strip.