Todd and Aimee Henkle, the owners of The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek, are planning an expansion to downtown Leesburg.
This week, they announced plans to open the Echelon Wine Bar in a 3,200-square-foot space at 32 S. King St. They envision private event space, a classroom for wine education, a commercial kitchen, a tasting bar, bistro tables and lounge seating—along with a 1,000-bottle wine cellar stocked with international and local favorites. There also will be a remote tasting room for Lost Creek Winery.
The wine bar is named for Lost Creek’s top red blend, Echelon, the first vintage of which in 2016 was awarded a double-gold in the San Francisco International wine competition and scored 90-points from James Suckling.
The couple hopes to offer about 100 different international wines on the initial wine list and plans to feature themed wines each month.
“The idea is to explore aspects of wine styles, wine regions and terrior with our guests,” Aimee Henkle said. She holds a Level 3 certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and will act as the wine director at Echelon. The inspiration for the themes comes from an annual tasting series the Henkle’s started in 2015 at Lost Creek Winery with Neal Wavra of FABLE Hospitality.
“People loved the experience. The tasting gave them the opportunity to try unique varietals, emerging wine regions and different winemaking philosophies. Every wine has a story and that is what we love to share,” she said. “Think themes like Drink Pink, where we feature Rosé wines; Volcanic Wines, where we feature wines from volcanic soils; or You had me at Merlot, for example.”
“Part of our motivation to open Echelon is to not only share the Lost Creek brand but to showcase other local brands. We felt downtown Leesburg was a perfect place given it is the gateway to Loudoun County wine country,” Henkle said.
In moving to the newly renovated retail building at the corner of King and Market streets, the Henkles are building on the downtown resurgence that has been fueled by other restaurant and craft beverage venues.
“Our goal is for Echelon to have the same vibe and feel as Lost Creek. A place to not only enjoy wine but explore and learn about wine,” Todd Henkle said.
Echelon will offer a small plate menu designed to pair with the monthly themed wines. The culinary program will be headed up by Executive Chef Landon Barnes, a West Virginia native who features farm-to-table menus driven by hyper-seasonal with local ingredients.
Construction is expected to complete in the spring. Follow the progress at echelonwinebar.com.