About Oakencroft

About Us

Established in the early 1980’s, Oakencroft was one of the first commercial wineries in Albemarle County and much of the Monticello region. The original owners, John and Felicia Rogan, are considered by many to be among the “founders” of Virginia wine. Mrs. Rogan has dedicated much of her life to building the stability and recognition of the Virginia Wine industry. Oakencroft’s original winemaker, Phil Ponton, dedicated forty years to the vineyard and still plays an important role here at the farm.

Our Team

Dorothy Batten, Owner

I love to travel and my favorite trips have been the ones where the nature and environment is most spectacular, i.e. New Zealand, Africa, Galapagos, Alaska, Indonesia.  There are many beautiful sites still on my bucket list, but I learned years ago that many of these places are being adversely affected by climate change, and the clock is running out.
I first became involved in conservation in the 1990’s when I visited Peru and saw the destruction of the tropical Andes from mining companies.  My most astounding environmental experiences have been in the bush observing the large species of Africa, and particularly learning that I could hear the low frequency communications of elephants.  My favorite outdoor activity is forest or jungle bathing.
Oakencroft has always been one of the most beautiful properties in the Charlottesville area, and it was one of the last unprotected large parcels of land close to Charlottesville which had many building rights on it – a developers dream.  My goal in purchasing the property was to protect it from development, restore it after the decades of unfavorable cattle management practices, replant an abundance of trees, enrich the land and soil, and support more biodiversity of plants, birds, wildlife.
One of my favorite spots on the farm (other than my house) is the section of Brown’s Creek between the bridge and the dam. This is where much of the wildlife congregates to drink water and where I have spotted turkeys, foxes, deer, and coyote.
I am excited to bring in experts and host conversations about how to be the best steward of the land.
Jessica Trapeni
Head Winemaker – Chemist Extraordinaire
Science has long been a passion of mine. I earned my degree in Biochemistry, and got my first job at a Biotech company that specialized in DNA production and research. My career fortunately lead me to wine and I absolutely love it. I completed the UC Davis Winemaking Certification program after working as both Lab Manager and Production Manager at Virginia Wineworks. In addition to my role as the Winemaker at Oakencroft, I also serve as the enologist at Imbibe Solutions.
I lived at Oakencroft in 2015 and 2016 and then we finally moved back in 2021. Some of my favorite things about Oakencroft are: running around the farm, our twins playing on the bridges, our ten-year old dog, Jake at his happiest running around the farm and looking for some lunch scraps, Logan’s excitement for the species of birds coming back and the return of dung beetles, the view from our house (fireworks, hot air balloons in the am, fog on the pond, sunrises/sunsets).
I’m very much looking forward to the varieties of grapes we can grow and the wines we can craft from these grapes.
Marisa Vrooman
Mission & Culture Champion – Wearer of All Hats
It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to work on a project that is multi-faceted, complex, lofty in its vision, but yet approachable, fun, and full of humility and hope.
After a varied career, which crossed film, television, education, food system development, event planning, and organizational development, I’m so lucky to be a part of this endeavor.  It’s a perfect reflections of all my interests and passions.
I’m most excited about hosting groups who want to break out of the everyday rut and see things in new and interesting ways. I’m also thrilled to be working alongside each and every person who is a part of this team.
My favorite place to travel is Costa Rica due to the incredible biodiversity and people there. In my spare time, I create ceramics, tend my vegetable garden, and hang out with my son, husband, and sweet pup, Tilda.
Amanda Griffin
Director of First Impressions – Manager of Customer Wow
After working in VA wine since 2019, I was delighted to join the Oakencroft team in early 2023. Growing up, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t outside, camping, canoeing, swimming at the beach, or simply running barefoot with my cousins. Nature and the outdoors always felt like just a natural extension of our day to day life, and I love being able to work in a place that is so eager to bring nature into the story of our tasting room. At Oakencroft we work to curate an environment and events where we can highlight our team’s passion for sustainability and stewardship of this land. I want everyone who visits to know the care and commitment that the people who work and live on our farm have for this place and to feel like they get to be a part of what we are doing here each time they visit. When I am not in the tasting room, I can usually be found with my family or friends enjoying a sunny spot and a good laugh.
Logan Collins
Farm Manager – Carbon Wrangler
“Momma, I wanna be a working man” is apparently what I said to my mom when asked about what I wanted to be when I grew up and Oakencroft was the truly start of that journey.  Working in the vineyard during summers in high school and throughout college prompted me to pursue a degree is Soil Science from Virginia Tech. After graduating, I was hired on full time as farm manager and have been very fortunate to share a common vision with the land owners. Since Dorothy purchased the farm in 2018, I am incredibility excited about the direction the farm is taking and am looking forward to continuing to research, experiment, and develop a self-sustaining farming system where each leg supports the other for a greater whole. In my spare time, I like to have a beer and listen to Merle Haggard while walking around the farm with my twin boys, admiring the brilliance of agri-nature.
Phil Ponton
Winemaker & Vineyard Manager Emeritus
Growing up on a family farm in Orange County Virginia, hiking in the Shenandoah National  Park, and  fishing in nearby rivers and streams instilled my love of nature. Over the years, as I continued to farm our Century Farm, managed the vineyards at Oakencroft, and visited wine growing regions in Europe and the U.S., I learned about best farming practices that will conserve and protect the environment. After 4 decades at Oakencroft Winery, I am pleased that, more than ever, we are committed to protecting the land and water through sustainable farming and viticulture practices. Visitors to this beautiful property will see agriculture at its best.
Gay Beery
Consulting Chef

As founding chef and owner of APimento Catering, Gay Beery has dedicated her energy and enthusiasm to bringing memorable meals to tables indoors and out, for celebrations large and small, utilizing first what comes from the local foodshed and local makers, the way it was meant to be. Over the last twenty years, she has garnered a loyal following for intimate gatherings focused on handcrafted wines from around the world, creatively paired with local, seasonal and ephemeral ingredients, meant to bring guests together with winemakers and community.

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