< Back to Oral History project: Wine in the South
Felicia Warburg Rogan, owner
Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery
Felicia Warburg Rogan is widely considered the First Lady of Virginia Wine. In 1976 she relocated from New York to Virginia to marry John B. Rogan, a real estate developer and cattle rancher in Charlottesville. She befriended Lucy Morton, a noted viticulturist, and in 1983 her husband’s Oakencroft Farm became Oakencroft Vineyard and Winery. She planted European varietals, invited her gardener, Deborah Welsh, to be the winemaker, and turned a farm building into a tasting room. This new all-female venture was the first of its kind and only the sixth winery to open in Virginia.
In her decades-long career as president of Oakencroft Vineyard and Winery, Mrs. Rogan has found time to look outside of her own estate to work in support of Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry. She led the charge to establish the Monticello appellation for the area, started the Jeffersonian Grape Growers Society, and was chairwoman of the Virginia Wine Growers Advisory Board for a number of years. But in 2008, Felicia Rogan’s long history in the wine industry came to a close, as the First Lady of Virginia Wine retired. Oakencroft Vineyard and Winery shut its doors. Still, Felicia Warburg Rogan continued to support the industry she helped to create.