The Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
North Garden, VA






Click on any photo on the right to view a slideshow

George Abetti
Owner – GeoBarns LLC
King’s Highway White River Junction, VT

Re: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards GeoBarns
The Design and Construction Process

Dear George:

We began our discussions just under two years ago, with our winery business plan followed by the very preliminary schematic sketches that you did by pencil as concept drawings for our Pippin Hill project. From that start it has been an incredible journey to design, engineer and refine our buildings, with all of its interrelated spaces and functions. The entire 15,000 sq feet of Pippin Hill Farm has your imprint.

It was an incredibly complex process with the multiple trades, a re-engineering of the main tasting room structure to comply with more stringent codes, expansion of the building to accommodate the bridal loft, the modifications to the cupolas and structure to accommodate the geothermal system.

The construction timing still gets raised eyebrows, as the mere seven-month construction schedule was intense, but in the final result amazing and exceeding expectations.

Through it all you were an invaluable and trusted contractor, and most importantly a valued friend.

Simply put, we would not have been able to accomplish the development of Pippin Hill without you and your indefatigable focus and skills.

We wholeheartedly endorse both the GeoBarns system and your ability to execute it.

With our very best wishes,

Dean & Lynn Easton Andrews
Proprietors Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
North Garden, VA

The Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards project was breathtaking in its scope, intensity, beauty and setting at Bundoran Farm in Albemarle County. For Geobarns—this build was the equivalent of a normal year of contracts, square footage and crew days—albeit compressed into half that interval.

While there is no way these few paragraphs can encapsulate the agony and ecstasy of the emotions throughout this last winter’s marathon—the pictures do capture it wonderfully well—and hopefully you will see the passionate hearts and enthusiastic efforts as you pore over the photos and see the progress from early November’s muddy ditches to the hanging of the half ton wooden doors at the end of May to welcome the first bride and groom to what is arguably the finest event venue on the east coast.

I would be remiss were I not to acknowledge a number of people whose love and perseverance and willingness to pursue this dream as a team—which more than any single factor brought Pippin Hill into being. Dean and Lynn Andrews—our warm, generous and visionary clients—never stopped believing we could pull this off in spite of a late start, looming deadlines, difficult weather and hundreds of tasks to manage. Their love for each other, this project, and every one of us was an inspiration and a gift that never stopped encouraging us along the way.

I am also grateful to the many trades and designers who planned and executed this magnificent project—with appreciation for their expertise, long hours and patient tutelage as we sought our way through the labyrinthine codes, structural stresses, interior finishes, landscaping, MEP, IT, geothermal, rainwater catchment, foundation work and construction of the complex shells. There were days there were over 30 different trades on site….all of whom played a critical part in what we often described as a chaotic but choreographed dance that somehow ebbed and flowed and created a work of art that none of individually could have even attempted. While there are too many to mention—I do want to specifically thank Bushman/Dreyfus architects for taking Dean’s and my initial drawings to a full blown functional building, Nolan-Frisa for our engineering, Artisan Construction who helped manage the project as our GC, Williams excavation for their unceasing patience with the weather and terrain, Advance Concrete for a superb job on the foundation, and Matthew Crane /Arterra Design and his crews who were the core of our collective construction team.

I want to close with thanking my wife Susanne for her constant encouragement and support—without which living away from home for six months in a small camper on site through the winter would have been unbearable—and with which this became a gift of both our hearts to God and our clients whom we now count among our dearest friends. We are indeed blessed to have been a part of such an undertaking—with Pippin Hill becoming a testimony to the love and passion of many disparate people loving each other and persevering to fulfill a common dream.


  • Andrews Sketch
  • Andrews Sketch
  • Geobarn original drawings, ESE
  • Geobarn original drawings, NNE
  • Geobarn original drawings, SSW
  • Geobarn original drawings, WNW
  • Bushman Dreyfus Architects venue schematics
  • Nolan Frisa engineering
  • Nolan Frisa engineering
  • Rainwater Catchment
  • Pippin Hill Master Plan
  • Spring 2011 was essentially the starting gun for all the key players to sprint out of the blocks....
  • Sills on
  • We did not want the building to blow we tied it down big time
  • Posts up as far as we could go chasing the foundation crew
  • It was a daily challenge to keep the blueprints from blowing away on our (very) windy site...hence the (saw) fence
  • Most of the posts--beginning of bandboards
  • Quite the varied crew--from me at 5 foot 6 to Thom at 6 foot 10....
  • The sunsets always blessed the end of the matter what had happened
  • 40 foot free span girders from the driveway approach
  • My camper perched on the hill never failed to deliver the most exquisite views on a daily basis
  • Floor systems fast and surefooted
  • The frame taking shape--bridal loft in the foreground
  • Geobarn buttresses keeping the spans securely afloat
  • As big as it is--we are only half way there and out of footings to put the posts on
  • 20 feet up in the air setting buttresses and bolts
  • Specially engineered brackets holding the upper beam at almost one ton per lineal foot of lateral thrust
  • The lacy strength and beauty of diagonal framing--a Geobarn signature
  • The basic frame ready with the loaded rafters
  • Another beautiful sunset before the onset of winter
  • We all knew it was going to hit but never really ready for it when it does--but at least I had the right clothes being from VT...
  • Aaron was from Alaska so he was still pretty happy--while others struggled to get the ice off the tarped tools....
  • Some days we went down to a skeleton crew for those who wanted to stay while others went home to thaw
  • My closest colleague and dear friend Matthew Crane
  • This was the day we ALL retreated to stay warm....note the generator under the Advantech sheathing
  • Mercifully snow melts beneath the Virginia winter sun....
  • With both decks on the bridal and kitchen ends and all the girders up--we are ready for the roof year
  • Trusses going up on the north end--these by hand with the bridal loft floor to stand on...
  • Trusses going up over the south end kitchen & staff area...gotta love those floors for footing
  • With nowhere to stand the crane was a no brainer--and with Derek Van Der Linde it was brilliant
  • Amazing what a crane can do in a single day.....
  • After rafters come the this case several hundred to which we will attach the roofing with many thousands of screws
  • One of my favorite phases with the shadows and light filling the tall vault of the now defined main room
  • Cupolas framed as micro Geobarns on top of the big one
  • The Lull lift was huge asset in staging materials 30 feet in the air--and we all had to tie off working up there
  • Cupolas needed to be roofed first since the main roof makes them dangerously inaccessible
  • I never grew tired of the symphony of the morning dawn's shadows and light
  • No words can express this
  • This was the quintessential Pippin Hill main venue framing picture...just before we began to cover it all up....
  • Meanwhile--the other trades were busy and now that the plumbing and electric was is--the slab was prepped to pour
  • One of Lynn's (one of our client couple) favorite pictures....dawn's early light
  • Roofed at last
  • Magnificent front elevation looking over the valley below
  • Preparing the staging shed area rafters
  • Another blessed day's farewell
  • Another snow greeted by another gorgeous dawn-and at least we are roofed and can work beneath
  • Cold, windy and beautiful
  • Floored at last.....and Matthew at 6 foot 4 showing the scale of the main venue
  • As much as I shiver in the cold--the thawing is way worse--mud my nemesis for months
  • Shed girders ready for roofing--built up with six doug fir structural select 2x12's.....ready for parking....
  • Installing the girders for the tasting room 100 psf floor system
  • Floor joists over the wine cellar with its 12 foot concrete walls
  • Tasting room floor system
  • Going vertical--posts on right wall are 30' tall and go to cellar below...
  • In spite of the rain and ice--I loved every day I worked here....
  • Meanwhile--another crew was framing the great veranda
  • And yet another crew was sheathing the main venue
  • Eye candy...had to get this before the shiplap went on and took it away...
  • Interior eye candy light and shadows prior to shiplap
  • And yet another crew working on interior framing....
  • North side sheathed at last....
  • We went to great pains to maintain the local vernacular of exposed rafter tails--built up to stay within scale
  • We designed and built the bridal cupola on the fly.....
  • Weathertight--awaiting windows from Mexico....
  • The connector was a formidable challenge--fitting everything in between the two main structures
  • One of those priceless moments getting ready to lift off the King trusses--thanks in large part to the craftsmanship of Matthew Crane...
  • Another crane moment....liftoff and landing in a day....
  • A room with a view already
  • The tasting room now has its majestically defined space...exceeding our expectations
  • Room with a view...part II
  • Meanwhile--across the connector--crews are now working nights as the first wedding nears...
  • Ready to roof
  • Roofing is a well oiled machine with flawless execution (when it goes right....8-) )
  • We were blessed with a number of characters--some wearing more than they weigh....
  • Roofed just in time for the next snowfall...and to welcome the vines on their way to be planted in a few weeks
  • With the siding on--the painters can really go to town
  • With the advent of spring--a lot of the booked brides began to visit--which impelled us to run triple shifts....
  • The windows arriving in a magnificent lit up truck from Mexico via Texas...
  • More and more trades on site--the porch tile and stone workers driving us from our habitual work stations
  • They really did take over
  • And did a magnificent job with us out of the way....
  • With the window arrival--the cupolas are now fenestrated and transforming the space they survey and shelter
  • Our clients--two of the warmest and enthusiastic people on the planet
  • The Easton events team
  • We were blessed with two phenomenal painting crews...working day and night
  • The tasting room really taking shape below
  • And above as well
  • Easter morning was honor of the Creator of this piece of heaven on earth
  • It only became more beautiful as I sat in the elevated 60' boom basket watching the dawn unfold
  • So much of this is indeed about the brides....attested by this adorable copper capped cupola
  • They all lit up in sequence as the sun rose Easter morn...
  • Dean and Lynn had planned an inaugural celebration for this special here we are...
  • The sun sets on the most perfect day we have had yet
  • Spent with those among my now dearest friends...a blessing to us all
  • The bar from a 500 year old cypress in Mexico sliced into to two connected board small feat to install
  • Another room with a view for two men on a mission
  • Light everywhere--even lighting up future lanterns
  • Our Geobarn signature stairs up to the staff lounge
  • The weather never ceased to display its glory
  • The farmhouse with painted rustic channel shiplap
  • Another miracle with a rainbow emanating from the bridal cupola--a harbinger of hope for this labor of love
  • The half ton doors finally at rest on their tracks...welcoming many brides to be....
  • Friendships formed that cannot be measured
  • Main venue floor--pristine perfection
  • Main venue floors finished using Vermont Natural Coatings....which were drying as we got our Certificate of Occupancy 3-1/2 hours before the first wedding guests arrived Friday afternoon May 27th....the marathon--well run--and now over.....
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
  • Pippin Hill Farm Winery and Vineyards
    Photography by Jen Fariello
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January 2010
Sketches & Drawings

Pippin Hill Winery
November 2010
Construction Begins

Pippin Hill Winery
December 2010
At War with Winter

Pippin Hill Winery
January 2011
Roofing the Main Venue

Pippin Hill Winery
February 2011
Beginning Tasting Room &
Sheathing Main Venue

Pippin Hill Winery
March 2011
Weathertighting the Main Venue
and Tasting Room Trusses
and Roofing

Pippin Hill Winery
April 2011
Racing To The Finish Line

Pippin Hill Winery
May 2011
Finishing Touches:
The Fruits of our Loving Labor

Pippin Hill Winery
June 2011 forward
Letting go and moving on...
all since we left

Harvest Party
September 2011
Harvest Party

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