Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale
A drive through Aldie takes you by an array of colorful Amish furniture lined up in front of shops on both sides of route 50 and a small wine shop.
There’s a painted sign hanging out front of Wally Lunceford’s shop on the north side of the road: Aldie Peddler– Wine, Eco Furniture, Antiques. The late Milo, Wally’s American Bulldog watches from above.
Inside the Aldie Peddler, a former house converted into a shop, most rooms and coolers are packed with wine. One room is chock full of Virginia nuts, local jams and sauces for the wine enthusiasts who drops by and needs a few picnic supplies. However, this place is mostly about wine-all kinds of wine at all prices. The store boasts a very good selection under $10.
Wally’s wine connection began years ago when he managed a Safeway store in Alexandria. “I did resets—markdowns on wine. They were one and two dollars, so I would buy them and bring them home. I just fell in love with wine.”
Living in Aldie and commuting to Alexandria grew old so he transferred to the Middleburg Safeway. In 2007, he retired and took to the road RV’ing. According to him, ever since then it has been antiques, outdoor furniture and wine, but mostly wine. Behind the store under a carport are two prized possessions. An all-wood replica of a camper built on a teardrop Airstream frame is one of only two in the country he said. That one stays put. The other is a well-loved and used 24-foot 2016 Mercedes Forest River RV that hits the road regularly.
Wally’s weekend starts at the close of business on Sunday, when he sets off both near and far for a few days of fun and relaxation. Often his RV lands in a quiet campground along a river. He sets up camp–sometimes there are linens and a well-dressed table, other times there is bacon on a griddle, but the one thing Wally always breaks out is the wine. His personality, described perfectly by “Southern Living Magazine” in an article about the Middleburg area is “charming and chatty.”
“Everywhere you go, everyone is in a happy place,” says Wally about his mini vacations. “It’s like meeting new neighbors every time.”
The Aldie Peddler gives Wally the same opportunities as his RV getaways do which is to meet new people and make connections. Old and new customers come in, sample wines and visit. And they keep coming back, filling up his little store with conversation and laughter. The people and the relationships he makes are his favorite part of running the Aldie Peddler.
“I can’t wait to get over here in the morning. I have the best customers—they keep me here,” says Wally. Then, he adds “I can’t wait to taste new wines.” ML
—Originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Middleburg life.–