A seven-acre lake and the ruin of antebellum wine cellars are features in this day-use park in Dutch Hollow at Dunbar, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Built about 1860, the cellars may be the last obvious reminder that a wine industry thrived in West Virginia before the Civil War. The cellars were established by vintner Tom Friend but operated only three years before the war decimated the industry.
According to Michael J, Powers, who nominated the site to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, descendants of a family who came to work for Friend in 1861 said that the enterprise proved unprofitable after the war. Big blue grapes grown in local vineyards were pressed and fermented in summer sun before being set in the cool cellars to age, Powers wrote. Casks were afterward carted to Charleston then shipped by steamboat to markets in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The cellars stand at the foot of a wooded hill along the run that meanders through Dutch Hollow in its descent to the Kanawha River. Here the City of Dunbar has established a day-use area with a playground, two small picnic shelters, and a larger shelter with a fireplace.
A series of wheelchair accessible paths wander the wooded course of the run between the cellars and Laura Anderson Lake. A wheelchair-access road from the shelters to the lake has been provided. The lake was built by the city in 1984 and is on average 18 feet deep with a maximum depth of 33 feet, according to the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources. Bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass thrive in the lake, which is also stocked with trout in January and March.
Map showing Wine Cellar Park
For more information
For more information or to reserve the picnic facilities, call all 304-766-0243 or write park officials at Wine Cellar Park, 1101 Dutch Hollow Rd., Dunbar, WV 25064.