Stellar cellar: Keswick gets decadent at Treble

“I have lived temperately....I double the doctor's recommendation of a glass and a half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend.” - Thomas Jefferson

Keswick Hall, the 48-room boutique hotel east of town, unveiled a fancy new wine cellar in March named after Jefferson's jaunty use of the word "treble" in talking about the social joys of the fruits of the vine.

The folks at Keswick say the cellar is the only one of its kind and design in Albemarle County (although Clifton Inn has a pretty nice private wine cellar/dining space as well). And after a recent visit to the space the Hook can say this: it's quite a space. And if you're a wine aficionado and/or foodie looking for the ultimate in an elegant dining experience, complete with butler service, then you've come to the right place.

"Clifton does have a cellar, but if you look at the materials used and the purpose of the room, ours is unlike any other," says Keswick marketing director Lynda Sheffield. "It's not converted to look like a cellar to host meetings and events. This is the real deal."

Created by local interior designer Heidi Brooks and builder/architect Enoch Snyder, the cellar features a glass entrance door framed with handmade wrought-iron gates and lanterns reminiscent of old-world European wine cellars that were kept– like prison cells or bank vaults– under lock and key. Two adjoining rooms offer both informal and more formal dining. You're also surrounded by 600-700 labels, at least 5,000 bottles in all.

It took 14 months to create the wine cellar, which was the boiler room of the original Villa Crawford home. Later, after Sir Bernard Ashley’s renovations created Keswick Hall, half the space was used for wine storage; half for storage of dry goods.

To create the eight-to-nine-foot ceiling space for Treble's dining area, 25 tons of dirt and concrete were excavated, one bucket at a time. The cellar also features stone walls, nine tons worth, carried in piece-by-piece and hand-shaped and laid by C.M. Thomas Construction Company.

The unusually long dining table is an original, designed by Brooks and built by Funk Brothers Furniture with wood purchased from a mill in Fishersville. The tasting bar, also built by Funk Brothers, was made from a walnut tree that had been ordered cut down on residential property off Rugby Road. The table is set with Hickory White dining chairs featuring Queen Anne legs with claw and ball feet and Damask fabric.  

A natural Brazilian slate floor leads from the entrance to the dining area where it frames reclaimed wood floors from Mountain Lumber. There's even a sound system from Crutchfield. The cellar can accommodate up to 12 guests, but it doesn't come cheap: rates start at $600.

However, you do get two butlers and sommelier Richard Hewitt and head chef Dean Maupin at your beck and call.

"Once you walk through the iron gates, you will see exactly why Treble is unique," says Sheffield. "It is sheer decadence"


One question and one question only:
What is the temperature of that room?

Man, I'm going to get all of my furniture from the Funk Brothers.

I'm told the temperature is kept at 56 degrees, but then bumped up to a comfortable level when people are dining. Also, in the event that ladies get chilly, pashminas are handed out.

Isn't the purpose of having a climate controlled wine cellar to keep the humidity, and temperature the same while keeping out the light?

What a beautiful room! Lovely table and table setting...I wants me some decadence.

Why the need to put down Clifton's wine cellar? The materials must feel much better about that! Its like a Weather Channel interview after a Hurricane - you find the town idiot to comment on the situation. Bravo!

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It is important to note that Miss Brooks is an Interior Design Consultant and not an an Interior Designer. There is a hige difference