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Our Story Albemarle County, Virginia, has a long history of outstanding food and wine. In the early 1800s, Thomas Jefferson founded both the Virginia winemaking industry and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the county seat of Albemarle County. Driven by the wide range of fresh food from local farms and the large number of UVA students that stay in town after they graduated, Charlottesville spawned a booming food, wine and restaurant industry. In fact, The Washington Post recently noted that Charlottesville's "insanely committed foodies" ensure that we have "more restaurants per capita than any city in Virginia, or possibly France." It is with that spirit that David Atwell and his wife Nina bought an open-air fruit stand a dozen miles west of Charlottesville in October of 1999. The Atwells planned to grow and sell produce, much as David’s grandfather Willis Corley had done in nearby North Garden. They would also offer wine and other culinary niceties that, at the time, were all but impossible to come by in western Albemarle County. The business had been up and running a mere five weeks when an electrical short set the building alight on the couple’s first day off. The store burned to the ground.
A little over a year later, Greenwood Gourmet’s second incarnation opened for business in the modest white house that had stood next to the fruit stand. Space was at a premium. The entire store was confined to two front rooms, which were crowded with produce, local eggs and cheeses, Virginia wines and bits of handiwork that had caught Nina’s eye. David stayed busy overseeing construction next door on what would become the store’s current home. Work was completed in the summer of 2003, and the Greenwood Gourmet Grocery we know today opened in September.
Local garden, meat and dairy products persist as the core of the business. The bounty from area farmers is available throughout the summer, and in autumn the spacious front porch is an apple lover and pumpkin fancier’s dream. Wines from two dozen of Albemarle County’s finest vineyards are on offer, and David and Nina have built a far-ranging collection of west coast and international wines along with a beer section so ambitious and exotic (400 brands) as to be unrivaled across the state.
The store boasts a full-service espresso bar and stocks a gaudy array of cheeses, cured meats, fish and poultry, and an assortment of cooked foods and sandwiches prepared fresh daily in its kitchen. A spot of gourmet heaven in an otherwise rural and scantly served run of country, Greenwood Gourmet Grocery is the fruit stand re-imagined. Stop in and see for yourself. We’re hardly a minute west of Interstate 64 at exit 107, Greenwood.