Barboursville Vineyard, positioned along the Monticello Wine Trail in Virginia’s Monticello AVA, boasts a stunning vineyard with rolling hills and quaint cottages, historic ruins of a mansion Thomas Jefferson designed for then Virginia Governor James Barbour (governor of Virginia during the war of 1812, two-term senator, and Secretary of War under John Quincy Adams), and award-winning wines—including but certainly not limited to Octagon, a wine recently selected from more than 3,300 wines from every part of the U.S. by international wine critic James Suckling as a Top 100 American Wine for 2018.

You heard it. A top 100 American wine.

I collect Octagon and enjoy drinking it, but my favorite Barboursville wine, by far, is Paxxito—a wine I’ve loved since it carried the name Malvaxia. Made in the style of a traditional Passito, in which grapes are hand-selected and partially air-dried and “raisinized” in a barn for up to 120 days to concentrate the grapes’ flavors before crushing and pressing, Barboursville’s Paxxito is a truly luscious dessert wine—perfect for sipping and designed for 25 years of cellaring should you want to tuck a few away.

Hats off to Barboursville’s world-famous winemaker Luca Paschina.

Barboursville Vineyards is a favorite destination for my husband and me whenever there’s cause to celebrate or slip away for a romantic weekend.

The mansion Thomas Jefferson designed for his friend James Barbour was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 1884 and stands today as historic ruins.

There’s a small family cemetery on the estate and a number of properties you can call your own for the night, or weekend, or longer—the 1804 Inn which predates the structure Thomas Jefferson designed, the 18th-century Vineyard cottage, the 20th-century Sangiovese cottage, the 19th-century Blue Run cottage.

These properties include a renovated 18th-century brick servants’ quarters that once served as the estate’s schoolhouse and a gardener’s cottage modernized like the other properties with AC for comfort. Most rooms feature wood-beamed ceilings, wingback chairs flanking a quaint fireplace—there’s no internet or TV to spoil the surroundings and a short, meandering walk brings you to the award-winning Palladio restaurant (you gotta see this menu), the Tuscan Tasting Room, and the Library 1821 Tasting Room where you can customize the perfect flight of wine.

As a special treat—birthdays, Mother’s Day—my husband often gifts me with a writing escape to Barboursville Vineyard.

A weekend away from our busy family—a weekend just for me to connect with my words.

Fin is French for end.

Often typed in capital letters at the bottom of a screenplay, it means “the end.”

During a February writing retreat at Barboursville Vineyard, I typed FIN at the bottom of the manuscript that would become my debut novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst, Book 1 in the Village of Primm series.

Vines quiet. Snow falling. No internet. Just me and my words and the most amazing feeling . . .

The feeling that comes with typing “FIN” on your first novel in a setting as picturesque as Barboursville.

No wonder there’s a vineyard in the Village of Primm—the idyllic village for which my series is named.