By Randy Arrington
LURAY, May 22 — On Tuesday evening, Chris and Lindi Jenkins sent sad news via Facebook to their family, friends and patrons of a downtown wine bar they named The Valley Cork.
“We have some heavy things to share, but our first priority is to say ‘thank you’. Your support has meant the world to us as we’ve tried to grow something special here in Luray, a place where we can all ‘Congregate, appreciate, and celebrate,’” the May 19 post began.
“Like so many, we’re having to make some difficult decisions during this time,” the post continues. “We must turn our full effort and attention to Faithbrooke. Because of this, we’ve made the difficult decision that we will not be reopening The Valley Cork.”
The personal touches the Jenkins put into the former hardware store on East Main Street were evident — from the reclaimed wooden panels from the family farm to the wide selection of Virginia wines that dominated their stock. They first opened the doors of The Valley Cork on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018.
The Jenkins gave a sneak peek of their new business that October and then operated one of the destination sites along Luray’s Main Street for only 16 months before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses all across the country.
Four years earlier, the Jenkins launched Faithbrooke Barn and Vineyards north of Luray and hosted their first wedding there in 2015. The first wine production at Faithbrooke took place about a year ago.
In 2018, Faithbrooke was voted a Best of Virginia winner among readers of Virginia Living.
Their local business efforts in recent years were the realization of dreams the Jenkins held for more than a decade while living in Northern Virginia. They moved back to Page County to raise their two daughters and bring their dream of starting a vineyard to life.
The Jenkins have not stated if they would open another wine bar in Luray at some point in the future after recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But they did leave their former fans and patrons guessing.
“With that said, you haven’t seen the last of us,” the May 19 post reads on The Valley Cork’s Facebook page. “We are dedicated to doing something special here in Luray, and we believe wine is a big part of that.”
And for those entrepreneurs out there: “If you happen to be interested in taking over the best wine bar in town, let us know ASAP!”
Efforts to reach the Jenkins for additional clarification, reflection and comment were unsuccessful.