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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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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.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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