We like to say that great wines aren't exactly made; they are grown. It all starts in the vineyard. We've put a lot of thought and care in the planning and tending of our little site, and it's been a great experience working as a family designing our layout, setting trellis posts, planting the vines, pruning the shoots, and harvesting the fruit.
Our family also takes a lot of pride in how we're making the most of our land. What used to be our sledding hill and impromptu driving range, can now produce to 800 cases of wine annually. In a few years, as the vines mature, we'll be close to 1,000.
All of the vines are planted on a high Smart-Dyson trellis system with wide 4 x 9 spacing , prioritizing quality over quantity. Also known as the "Ballerina," we meticulously train and prune our vines to curve upwards of nine feet, as well as curl down like a ballerina's skirt. The result: more sun exposure to the leaves (resulting in more sugar produced to the fruit), but still keeping everything neat and tidy. The picture of the vineyard after the ice storm shows off this system pretty well.
Situated 580 feet above sea level, our east facing slope benefits from the morning sun but is spared the scorching late afternoon heat. The site’s incline also minimizes frost in the late fall and early spring. We also have semi-rocky soils provide excellent drainage producing a hearty and resilient vine.
Petit Manseng is our feature grape, grafted onto 101-14 rootstock and initially planted in 2005. The vine features small clustered thick-skinned berries and produces smaller than average yields with higher than average brix. Originating from the Jurançon region in southwest France in the foothills of the Pyrenees, we have a similar topography and climate here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, so the grapes feel right at home.
We also grow Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Grenache is rarely grown here, but our favorite wines from Côtes du Rhône, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, usually have over 80% Grenache. It's actually one of the most grown varietals in the world, but its tight clusters make it particularly susceptible to powdery mildew and fungi in Virginia's humid growing season. We're trying our best though to make it work though, and our 2010 Grenache varietal (the only one produced in the state) sold out in a few months.
But we can talk about this stuff all day. It's our life and passion. Come out to see us and we'd be happy to show you around. As we're all too aware, the vineyard changes every day, so we're bound to show you something interesting.