Some years ago I was looking at bottles of wine in the wine section of a supermarket. Imagine my surprise when I came across a bottle of Chateau Rochdale! I wondered, at the time, if there might be a Chateau Burnley but dismissed the idea as the first signs of madness.
However, I investigated and found Chateau Rochdale had come about because of the admiration in France for the Rochdale Pioneers and the Co-operative Movement. I did not buy a bottle but I wish, now, I had.
More recently, I read that all the Lancashire cotton towns, with the exception of Blackburn, have equivalents named after them in the cotton-growing states of America. Burnley turns out to be an unincorporated community in Albermarle County, Virginia. I am not sure how the Burnley name was transposed to the United States though I suspect it may be to do with the fact a family, whose surname was Burnley, was settled in Virginia in the 18th Century. The Burnleys became quite unpopular as they appear to have remained loyal to the Crown in the years just before the American Revolution.
The mention of the name of the county, of which the Virginian Burnley is part, also caught my attention. Both Burnleys have connections with Albermarle. The first Duke of Albermarle, formerly the Puritan leader, General Monck, who was instrumental, in 1660, in the Restoration of Charles II, was Lord of the Manor of Ightenhill, the Manor of which Burnley is still a part.
In checking on the Virginian Burnley I was amazed to find Burnley Vineyard had been established in 1976 and it was one of the oldest vineyards in the Monticello Viticultural area. So, not only was there a Rochdale wine there was a Burnley wine as well!
The first planting in Virginia’s Burnley was in 1977 and the first grapes were harvested in 1980. Four years later the vineyard opened its winery and, since then, the Burnley Vineyard has been producing its own wine under the name of “Burnley Vineyards”.
A visitor has said the establishment has a “nice ‘petit’ winery with a small but good selection of wines at very reasonable prices”. It sounds ideal for us in Burnley, Lancashire! “My favourites were the Chardonnay, crisp and not overly oaked. I also found the Reisling very good”, continued the commentator.
Over the years I have, I think, picked up a few interesting facts, not only about our Burnley, but about Burnleys throughout the world. It is time I shared them with you. This is the first, but is it not remarkable there is a Burnley wine?
I wonder what they might think about that at Burnley Miners’ Club where they are famous for drinking a very different beverage?