Now that’s a lot of corks!

“It’s truly unbelievable!”

Or such was the reaction of one of Gray Ghost Vineyards’ many visitors last year when they saw the holiday display, including a tremendous nutcracker, made entirely of 120,000-plus wine bottle corks.

A Christmas tree, snowman and incredible nutcracker all made of wine bottle corks await holiday visitors at Gray Ghost VIneyards in Amissville. Courtesy photos

The intricate decorations this year, apart from the corks, also include an eleven-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s throne, a hot-air balloon and train engine with working lights, just to name a few. The unique display is now open to the public until Christmas Eve.

Al Kellert, co-owner of Gray Ghost, creates a new addition each year. The tradition began 30 years ago with a small Christmas tree containing 382 corks. Asked about how the display came to include over 20 items, Al replies with his signature smile, “Well, it just kept getting a little bigger each year.”

Each item takes about a year to construct. Craft time is limited because vineyard work and winemaking are always the priority.

“We do host two events each year to enhance guests’ experience,” says Amy Payette, director of marketing and the Kellerts’ daughter.

Visitors get to guess the number of corks on the new decoration for a chance at a coveted prize. They are also encouraged to bring donations of canned foods for both the Rappahannock and Culpeper food closets. Last year over 3,000 pounds of food were donated. Anyone donating is automatically entered into a drawing for special event tickets.

Gray Ghost, which is located on Lee Highway in Amissville, will host Santa this Sunday, Dec. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. This free event is Santa’s 14th visit to Gray Ghost. Each child receives a stuffed animal and candy from Santa himself.

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