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Navy veteran opens craft winery in Norfolk. But don’t overlook the sirloin steak and churro fries!

After 21 years in the Navy, Jason Witt told his wife he wanted to be a winemaker. Now, they have their own winery in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. — Editor's note: This story is a part of our Friday Flavor series.

A building in Norfolk that is now Waters Edge Winery sat empty for years, and that had Jason Witt asking his wife, Dyan, questions.

He was deployed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower during 2000 and 2001 for a total of 418 days in two years. During this time, and when he was able to communicate from time to time, he would ask about this building.

"I had no idea what he was concocting in his head while he floated at sea on an aircraft carrier in the middle of nowhere," Dyan laughed. 

Jason was floating the idea of opening a winery on Hampton Boulevard, something that his military friends questioned, since many of them ended up going to the airlines or a civilian government job.

His background was 21 years in the Navy, so to go from that to being a winemaker is a huge change, Dyan said.

So, what wine is Jason making? 

"This is somewhat of a new concept. We are a craft winery," Jason said. 

This is similar to a craft brewery where they have tanks in-house but do not own their own vineyard.

"We pull from estate vineyards all over the globe," Jason explained. "We bring in grape juice. We put that in our tanks. We ferment. We rack. We filter. We bottle, cork, label all right here in our tank room."

You can find reds, whites, sangrias, and bubbles on the table. You can order by bottle, the glass, or a flight to try out your options. You will also get a mat with your flight explaining each sip and the flavors behind them. 

"He decided to risk it all and open up a winery and restaurant that not only we can enjoy, but all of our neighbors and the community around us can enjoy," Dyan said.

Yes, it's a restaurant, too, with Chef Matt in the kitchen! 

"Matt is supported by a really great team of young, creative up-and-coming chefs. A lot of them are students at the Culinary Institute of Virginia, so we pulled really heavy from that school," Jason said.

They take the food here seriously. They serve up chicken piccata, crab cakes with apple slaw, Mediterranean salad with shrimp, and a sirloin steak with cabernet butter.

And if you're in the mood for something sweet, try the churro fries! They are delicious with their homemade raspberry spread. Or, grab a brownie or cookie skillet! This spot truly has something for everyone. 

"It's a place where people can get out and meet each other, and it's right down the street. I'm hoping that all of the neighbors know each other," Jason said. 

For Dyan, it feels like a second home.

"And when any guests come in here, I treat them as if they're coming into my home," Dyan said. "It's just been a dream to have kind of great food, great wine, and a great location. It's just been a blessing."

Dyan added that they're grateful for everyone who takes the time to spend their afternoon or their evenings there, and they can't wait to serve them.

If you would like to visit Waters Edge Winery of Norfolk, you can find them at 6464 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia.

Right now, they are also running a special. You can buy a 3-pack of premium wines for the new "Serving Those Who Serve" series. 

Proceeds from the 3-pack will be donated to The Travis Manion Foundation in memory of Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, who was killed on Sept. 22, 2013, when his MH-60s Nighthawk Helicopter crashed into the Red Sea. This pack includes a brava red blend, pineapple pear sangria, and a pinot grigio. The 3-pack is $99 and can be bought on location.

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