Awards pour in for Dida’s Distillery before this weekend’s grand opening

The official grand opening of Dida’s Distillery, located at the renowned Rappahannock Cellars winery and vineyards in Huntly, is set for this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, although the nation’s connoisseurs of spirits are already paying attention to the new Rappahannock County distillery.

The new tasting room at Huntly’s Dida’s Distillery, located at Rappahannock Cellars, is open Friday through Tuesday and other times by appointment. Courtesy photo

To launch Dida’s Distillery (pronounced “did-uh’s”), the award-winning Rappahannock Cellars spent nearly three years planning and navigating the unique challenges of distilling from grape, timing it all around one annual harvest where the fresh wine needs to be turned into spirits immediately.

And while the grand opening isn’t until this weekend, Dida’s distiller Allan Delmare reveals that the distillery already has won multiple awards at the Denver International Spirits Competition (DISC), including gold medals for its Pressed Vodka and Vintner’s Choice Immature Brandy.

The brandy, aged only one month in New American Oak barrels, is the first batch ever produced by the distillery. The vodka, made 100 percent from grape, is only the second batch ever produced.

The unaged version of the Vintner’s Choice Brandy was also awarded a bronze medal in the “eau de vie” category.

“We’re honored to receive this kind of recognition on an international stage,” says Delmare. “It’s a striking testament to the passion and expertise of our whole team. With thirty years of winemaking experience, we knew that distilling entirely from our wines at Rappahannock Cellars presented an incredible opportunity. But to earn golds on our first batches, before we’ve even had our grand opening . . . makes it really exciting to be able to acknowledge that we’re only just getting started.”

Dida’s is open for walk-in tastings Friday thru Tuesday (Wednesday and Thursday by appointment — “just ask,” says Delmare) with its award winning initial lineup of vodkas and brandies, and soon to arrive will be a barrel finished pressed gin.

“You will have to wait a few more years though for the signature multi-year aged brandy,” Delmare quips.

Dida’s is a member of the Rappahannock County Artisan Trail, Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop, American Distilling Institute, and the American Craft Spirits Association.

The name Dida means “grandfather” in Croatian and is tribute to the Delmare family’s grandfather, who established the family legacy of fruit farming.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at