2016 Dan Berger International Wine Competition

The hope of a new world

The clash of two civilizations

A disappeared settlement

One cryptic clue.

Where had they gone? Had all been lost?

The Legends

THE LOST COLONY is inspired by the disappearance of one of the first English settlements in the New World. The Lost Colony left behind one of the great mysteries in American history, and set the stage for the origin story of American wine.

In 1587, John White led 118 English men, women, and children on a three-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. They landed on Roanoke Island, which is now part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and set about establishing a permanent colony. A month after arrival, White’s daughter, Eleanor, gave birth to a baby girl: Virginia Dare—the first child of English parentage born in the New World. But times were hard in the colony. Governor White made a trip to England, vowing to return promptly with aid. Before he left, he instructed the colonists that if they should be forced to move, they would carve a symbol into a tree to indicate their fate. While White was in England, a naval war with Spain broke out, and Queen Elizabeth I ordered that every available ship be used to battle the mighty Spanish Armada. It was three years before White was able to obtain a ship to sail back to America. When he arrived, nobody was there.

The colony was lost without a trace. The only clue was a cryptic carving: “C-R-O” in the bark of a tree. Nearby, on the ruins of a wooden fence, someone had scratched out “CROATOAN”—the name of a neighboring Native American community, home to Manteo’s tribe. White prepared to travel there, but a hurricane was brewing, and his men refused to go any further. They left and the colonists were never found.

What had happened? Were there any survivors? To this day, the Lost Colony remains a mystery, and theories about its fate are numerous. Local legend has it that soon after the colony’s disappearance, a fair-haired baby girl was seen playing among the children of the Croatoan, and there she happily grew into a graceful young maid. Could she have been Virginia Dare?

THE LOST COLONY is a distinctive, full-bodied blend of Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc sourced from warm reaches of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. Each glass of THE LOST COLONY invites you to uncover its secrets and surrender to earthy flavors of oak and tobacco, subtle notes of black and red berries, and harmonious hints of spices.


Sandy Walheim

45% Syrah, 37% Malbec, 7% Petite Sirah, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot


14 months in French and American oak; 10% new oak, 90% 1- and 2-year oak

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