vineyard

Vine to Wine with Greenhill Vineyards

Written by Kaitlin Hill

“We have a team that believes in a wine experience that starts in the vineyard, works its way to the bottle, and into the glasses we pour and the information and passion we share,” says Jed Gray, general manager of Greenhill Vineyards. Gray and his team know that more than good soil and the right climate, making an exceptional bottle of wine starts with meticulous vine care, staying true to the land, and pride in the final product. Gray, along with David Greenhill, Ubaldo Morales, Ben Comstock, and Jenny Travers, invest their expertise, sweat equity, and an undeniable camaraderie in their craft to produce bottles as distinct as the property, process, and people on the path from vine to wine. 

A sprawling 128-acres, the Greenhill property is the image of Virginia wine country complete with a stylish tasting room, historic stone manor, gorgeous vistas, and, of course, rolling hills of diligently tended vines. More than the aesthetics, it’s the dedication to the vines that is at the root of the vineyard’s success. “When you are dealing with vines, you are tending to them 365 days a year. It’s personal,” Gray shares. “Each vine is a little different and you can get to know not only a block of vines, but individual vines themselves.” Perhaps no one knows the vines better than Morales, who has worked on the property for 19 years. “I started on this land in 2003…When Mr. Greenhill bought the farm, I started working for him full-time. And, I’m still here.” 

Nearly two decades on, Morales has seen the quality of the landscape improve. He notes, “The vines look nice, and the fruit grows differently than before.” And Gray adds, “Over the years we have implemented more sustainable vineyard techniques that produce a healthier canopy and healthier fruit. Everything we do is to make a healthier vineyard and we have seen the results over the past couple of years.” 

Part of achieving optimum vineyard health is down to understanding the environment of the Middleburg American Viticultural Area. “We really try to understand what is happening in [our] unique microclimate,” Gray shares. He expands, “We plant varietals that thrive in [this] unique microclimate. Now that we have revitalized the land and learned what works best and what doesn’t, it has resulted in some unique fruits from our vineyard.”

Sustainable practices are aided by Morales’ vigilance in the field. Gray shares, “Ubaldo has this immense attention to detail and pride in his work. Growing the vine from bud break in the spring, watching the fruit mature, taking care of the vine to produce the highest quality fruit, when you pick it and know it is as perfect as you can make it, it’s insanely gratifying.” He adds with a laugh, “Essentially, he enjoys the fruit of his labors.” 

The result of Morales’ dedicated tending and the vineyard’s agricultural practices are grapes ripe for picking and producing award-winning wine. This next step benefits from the talent and experience of Ben Comstock, Greenhill’s head winemaker. Comstock got into the wine world when a friend with a winery in Loudoun County needed help with his harvest in 2009. “When I started, I didn’t necessarily have a passion for wine. I actually fell in love with the work first, and then got to fall in love with the industry itself as the years went on.” Comstock brought that love to Greenhill Vineyards in 2018. 

At Greenhill, producing premium vintages is as much a practice in adaptability as it is in standardized methodology, all while reflecting the relative newness and distinct terroir of the region. Of Comstock’s approach, Gray says, “Every single vintage is different, and the fruit that comes in is different. Ben allows the fruit and then the juice to speak to him [about] how he is going to ultimately create a final product.” 

“Our goal, our ideal, is to make a wine from Virginia,” explains Comstock, understanding that in making it, Greenhill is helping define it. “There is no definition of what Virginia wine is supposed to be,” offers Jenny Travers, the assistant general manager at the vineyard. “So, we are part of a process of defining what Virginia wine actually can be.”

Crucial to defining Virginia wine is harnessing the terroir. “Everything [the team] does, they do in accordance with the terroir,” shares Greenhill’s owner, David Greenhill. “It’s not just the land, but the soil, the climate, everything that goes into the wine…We actually care for the vines in accordance with the elements that are here and not techniques from other areas that don’t necessarily apply,” he adds.

“It’s an evolutionary process where we are constantly educating ourselves with the fruit every single year and always striving to make a better product,” Gray says. 

The result? Numerous award-winning and, as Travers says, “cult favorite” wines with something for every preference from Chenin Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon. “Our sparkling is something that people know Greenhill for. Our Cabernet Franc is amazing. Our Merlot is fantastic. And then we make two or three iterations of Chardonnay. Oh, and Petit Verdot. Those are some of the wines we are known for making exceptionally well,” Travers lists. When asked, Morales says his favorite is the Merlot.  

Beyond the wine, the team at Greenhill applies the same laser focus when nurturing team camaraderie and guaranteeing customer enjoyment. “Me, Ben, Ubaldo and Jed, we all have separate roles, but we all work collaboratively. And we all like each other. I mean, genuinely like each other,” Travers emphasizes. 

Just a few minutes in the tasting room or a walk around the grounds reveals an inter-employee warmth that spreads to each customer with whom the team members interact. “Everything we do is about an experience…And every touch we have with the customers is extremely important to us. It is something that every single person that works here takes pride in,” Travers says. 

“We are not [only] successful because of our pride, but [also] because of our passion. If you can look someone in the eye and pour them wine and speak passionately about it, that resonates with the customer and their enjoyment and appreciation of the product is endless at that point. We have pride and passion in everything that we share with our [guests] and we stand behind that 100%,” Gray says. Travers finishes, “And that’s 100% from vine to bottle to glass.”  

Pride, passion, and a spirit of camaraderie are served in abundance at Greenhill Vineyards making it a must-visit during Virginia’s wine month and beyond. Perhaps Travers puts it best when she says, “The celebration around the time you spend with people when you are drinking, that connection you make, that is extremely important [to us]. It’s extremely important to the business and it is extremely important to the experience.” ML 

This article first appeared in the October 2022 issue.

Family, Friends, and Forever Farm & Vineyard

Story by Will Thompson

“Each wine in here I could tell a story about,” says Bob Riggs, pouring a glass of Forever Farm & Vineyard’s signature label, Boykin Blend, in their tasting room.

The stories seem to flow as easily as the superb wine at this boutique, family-run winery nestled in Purcellville’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Bob tends to the vines and is the winemaker, while his wife, Teri Riggs, manages the business. Together they provide a personable and inclusive venue for savoring some of the best that Virginia winemaking has to offer.

 The walls of Forever Farm’s cozy tasting room are lined with photos from Teri and Bob’s own lives – much of which were spent living around the world. Record covers and other artifacts with personal meaning mingle with bottles of wine adorned with the many gold and silver medals that their impressive varietals and blends have won in local and national competitions.

Forever Farm & Vineyard started when Teri and Bob decided to move to Loudoun County upon their retirement to be close to their family and friends. When they bottled their first wines in 2017, a harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chambourcin that became Boykin Blend, their intent was to make wine for the same family and friends as a hobby. A few short years saw their skills and their vines growing and multiplying. They decided to scale up to open a boutique winery for anyone who was interested in expertly-crafted wine in an inviting, community atmosphere.

Forever Farm’s roots – making wine based on a  passion for the craft and serving family and friends – are still the ethos of their winery today. “It’s a passion,”  Bob says. “We’ve won awards. But it’s really not about the awards. It’s about people enjoying and drinking the wine.”

“Being with people is our biggest thing,” Teri agrees.

Visitors can expect a concierge tasting experience with Teri and Bob on hand to match each person to the wine that they will love. Patrons can also expect to be welcomed as part of the Forever Farm & Vineyard extended family, with Teri and Bob sharing stories about their former lives as world travelers, their parents and children, and the stories behind those photos on the wall (including one of Teri dancing while making her television debut!). But perhaps the most compelling are the stories behind each cork popped in their tasting room.

Boykin Blend, for example, is a Bordeaux-style blend named for the couple’s beloved Boykin Spaniel, George, who died tragically but inspired them to rescue their current Boykin, 10-year-old Mojo. George peers out from the label of Boykin Blend, blissfully bounding toward his next adventure. One dollar of each bottle sold of Boykin Blend supports Boykin Spaniel Rescue in South Carolina.

Visioné (Italian for vision), a Sangiovese blend, honors the earliest beginnings of Bob’s interest in wine: growing up in New Jersey at a time when many of his friends and neighbors made their own wine.

Forever Farm’s Norton is made from grapes that are a product of a chance friendship and business exchange that resulted in a unique, deep purple wine that is evocative of holiday spices and dark fruits.

Among the many awards and recognitions that Forever Farm’s wines have received, each year of Boykin Blend has been awarded by organizations such as the American Wine Society, the Loudoun Wine Awards, and the Texas Int’l Awards. Visioné and Forever Farms’ Norton were both awarded a silver medal at the 2021 Loudoun Wine awards. And, it was announced that Norton won a silver medal at the 2022 Loudoun Wine awards. Many more of Forever Farm’s wines have been honored with similar accolades.

“It begins with making sure that you have great fruit to make wine with,” says Bob as Teri explains how he tends to the vines every day. “I even tell them that I love them,” Bob laughs. Perfectly spaced rows of hanging grapes stretch across the bucolic vineyard just outside of the tasting room walls. Teri and Bob’s care extends to all aspects of the winemaking process, from farming to bottling. “We pour the wine into each bottle, cork each bottle, cap each bottle, and label each bottle right here,” Teri emphasizes.

To accept a glass of wine from Teri and Bob is to participate in the Forever Farm & Vineyard story, which is based on the care that Bob puts into every bottle, the hours that Teri works to provide her guests with a comfortable, community-driven experience, and, of course, a really good glass of wine. ML  

Forever Farm & Vineyard Winery is located at 15779 Woodgrove Rd in Purcellville. The tasting room along with outdoor seating is open every Saturday from 12  – 6 p.m., and select Sundays and Fridays. Forever Farm welcomes everyone including children and dogs.

The article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue.

New, Noteworthy, and Need-to-visit: Hunt Country Wineries and Vineyards Off the Beaten Path

With the cool autumn air comes a desire to embrace the season and gather with friends and family at one of the many vineyards or wineries throughout the Virginia wine region. Luckily, no matter what vintage or grape varietals you prefer, there’s something for everyone in Hunt Country.

We’ve rounded up local wineries and vineyards that are ripe for the picking to consider adding to your fall bucket list or upcoming wine tour. 

Three Creeks Winery

18548 Harmony Church Road
Hamilton, VA 20158

For a hidden gem just minutes from Leesburg, wine devotees should not overlook Three Creeks Winery on Harmony Church Road. Owners P.J. and John Lawrence are known for their hospitality and love getting to know their patrons, making it feel like a truly intimate experience. 

The adult-only winery offers vineyard views with outdoor seating in a serene setting. Grab a glass and have a seat near one of the creeks or head into the barn for a tasting to enjoy European-style wines in French varietals grown in Virginia’s soil. 

The winery offers six reds and four whites as well as a rosé made with grapes from a selection of Virginia vineyards. Two of the reds include grapes from the state of Washington and Northern California. The 2019 Sur-Lie Viognier, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sur-Lie Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Melange Rouge all received silver medals at the 2022 Governor’s Cup competition.

Endhardt Vineyards. Courtesy of Endhardt Vineyards.

Endhardt Vineyards

19600 Lincoln Road
Purcellville, VA 20132

Endhardt Vineyards is situated on 46 acres of idyllic rolling hills with 11 acres of vines. Located a few miles outside the village of Lincoln near Purcellville, owner Johannes (known as “Hannes”) Endhardt, and his wife, Sarah, opened the winery in 2021. “We are focused on creating memorable, high-quality Virginia wines while providing an incredible atmosphere to connect with family and friends,” Hannes says.

Guests will enjoy the beautiful vista overlooking grape vines while sampling  their wine selection. Hannes recommends a stainless steel 2021 Chardonnay that is finished on some very light oak. Another popular choice is the 2019 Bordeaux blend that has 50 percent Merlot, 25 percent Cab Franc and 25 percent Petit Verdot resulting in “beautiful notes of red currant and dark cherry with a light pepper finish.”

Hope Flower Farm and Winery

40905 Stumptown Road
Waterford, VA 20197

Picture meandering around a flower field bursting with color as you enjoy a house-made wine or cider. You can make this experience come to life with a visit to Hope Flower Farm and Winery!

October marks the height of dahlia season at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford — the perfect occasion to snip flowers and sip one of the farm’s seasonal drinks. The “cut your own” flowers at Hope’s harvest fields make it a sought-out destination for picnics, photo shoots, and outdoor gatherings. Guests can walk around the farm and see the gardens, the animals, and enjoy being surrounded by the floral beauty.

The farm features flower-inspired wines from around the world including a seasonally driven fall wine selection. In addition to wines, the farm also makes ciders including the “Jack Cat,” which is a hard apple cider with hints of hops. The newest addition to the menu is the farm’s Strawberry Lavender drink.

Purchased by Holly and Evan Chapple in July 2015, this historic 25-acre estate was the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Holly’s successful floral and event business, Holly Heider Chapple Flowers.

Holly was able to expand from her home-based studio of 23 years to the rural retreat that now serves as a gathering place to teach and mentor fellow floral designers.

The estate, once a working dairy farm, is named in honor of the Hope family that farmed the land for over 60 years. The farm includes a stone Quaker house built in 1820, three barns, a guesthouse, and a smaller barn which serves as a studio. 

Already known as a playground for floral design, Hope Flower Farm is gaining a well deserved reputation as a social spot for a glass of vino in a field of flowers. 

Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery. Courtesy of Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery.

Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery

18301 Whitehall Estate Lane
Bluemont, VA 20135 

For a total crowd-pleaser, set your sights on Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery, located at Whitehall Estate. Towering 100-year-old trees offer shade and tranquility on this 50-acre countryside escape. Their slogan, “Come together and visit often,” accurately captures the ambiance of this Loudoun newcomer. In addition to pours of your choice, guests have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of dining options. 

The property, a combination of rustic charm and southern elegance, has been owned by David Weinschel and Doug Armstrong since 1993. Previously Whitehall Estate,  it served solely as a wedding and events venue until March when it was transformed into a brewery and winery. “Being a wedding venue for years, people would come out, they would enjoy this beautiful property and then we’d never see them again,” says Doug, who is enthusiastic about the new operation. They’ve been growing Cabernet Franc grapes on the property for 10 years, in preparation.

The name “Bluemont Station” is a nod to Bluemont’s rail line past. The line went right across the front of the property, connecting Washington, D.C’s social elite to a mountain “cool air” retreat. While visiting Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery, guests can check out a vintage 1926 train caboose that has been restored and is now a centerpiece of the facility and its brand.

Hope Flower Farm and Winery. Courtesy of Hope Flower Farm and Winery.

October One Vineyard

7 Loudoun Street SW
Leesburg, VA 20175

Recently added to the Leesburg scene is a wine tasting room called One October, or O1V. The owners, Bob and Loree Rupy, opened the shop in August after years of experience growing grapes and making wine at their vineyard. In 2013, they planted their first grapes for the brand on their 30-acre Bluemont property. At first, the Rupys sold locally at farmers markets and events before expanding to the Leesburg brick-and-mortar facility.

One October is open Wednesday through Sunday. O1V wines include a Viognier, Albariño, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Guests can either enjoy a flight or a glass on the outside patio or inside for a modernized, aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.

Eagle Tree Farm Vineyards

15100 Harrison Hill Lane
Leesburg, VA 20176

Venture off Highway 15 and take the gravel road less traveled to Eagle Tree Farm Vineyards which occupies a beautiful slice of rural Virginia. The family-owned, chef-driven winery and full-service restaurant sells estate-grown and vinified wines for your enjoyment.  

Eagle Tree is known for blueberry picking in the spring, but to wine enthusiasts and foodies, the place is much more. The picturesque grounds feature an outdoor pavilion with a wood-fired oven for pizzas and a nature trail. The property is open during the weekend and weekday evenings and is also family friendly.
Lori McKeever and Head Chef, Jeff Judge, are co-owners of the restaurant and vineyard. The restaurant is open year-round.  With Chardonnay, Viognier, Cab Franc, Talon, and Tannat, there’s something for everyone in your party. ML

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue.

Enjoy Your Own Private Vineyard

38255 Sleepy Hollow Ln, Hamilton, VA 20158

Offered at $1,190,000

5 BD | 4/1 BA | 5,816 SQFT | 10.08 AC

Enjoy your own private vineyard with both table & wine grapes. Over ten open/usable acres with loads of possibilities. 

Many recent home updates include a kitchen remodel, new white oak flooring in some areas, refinished hardwood in other areas, fresh paint, and more.

The home has plenty of space for all…The second bedroom is en-suite. Bedrooms three and four share a unique Buddy Bath with double sinks and 2 shower areas. Each bedroom has its own walk-in closet. 

The lower level features the fifth bedroom, a full bath, a large living area, and a den/craft room.

The property is in Land Use. Feel like you are miles away but enjoy the convenience of being only a few minutes from it all. No HOA
Click here for more information.

Listed by:
Marcy Canatore
Associate Broker | Licensed in VA & WV
Atoka Properties
540.533.7453
[email protected]
MarcyC.com

How To Go Vineyard Hopping

How To Go Vineyard Hopping

In Virginia Like A Pro This Fall

Written by Sophia Kedzierski

As summer ripens into fall harvest, a Virginia favorite becomes ready for the Commonwealth: wine. While preparing for the season among us, we’re taking it back to the basics. Whether you’re a true newbie or a wine savant, we’ve asked three local vineyards to introduce themselves and their processes to our readers.

Slater Run Vinyard

Tucked away along a quiet creek in Upperville, Virginia, Slater Run Vineyards boasts a unique blend of viticultural genius and family history. Husband-and-wife team Christopher Patusky and Kiernan Slater Patusky made the choice to move their family of four from Baltimore, Maryland down to the historic farm inherited through the Slater name in order to preserve the family’s history for future generations. The entire winery is solar-powered.

Tell me a little bit about the history of Slater Run.

Patusky: Kiernan’s ancestor, John Glascock, acquired the vineyard and winery farm in 1720, about eleven generations ago. For the past 300 years, his descendants have operated a cattle and feed crop farm. This is the source of Slater Run’s slogan: “Roots that Run 300 Years Deep.”

As for some background, Kiernan’s great-great-grandfather, George Meacham Slater, moved from Baltimore to Fauquier County in the 19th century. After the Civil War, he acquired and lived the rest of his life at Mount Bleak Farm in nearby Paris, Virginia (now Sky Meadow State Park). In 1905, George M’s son, George Hoffman Slater, and Kiernan’s great grandmother, Tacie Glascock Fletcher, who had inherited the farm from Thomas Glascock were married, and that is why it has been owned in the Slater name ever since.

Two of your wines honor Kiernan’s ancestors. Can you tell me about those?

Patusky: “First Bridge,” a red Bordeaux blend, is named after the closest of two small bridges that George Hoffman Slater had built along with three of their neighbors along Crenshaw Road over Goose Creek in 1919 so that their cattle could more easily be brought to the depot at Rectortown. “Roots,” our flagship Bordeaux blend, features a photograph of Kiernan’s grandfather, Thomas Glascock Slater, on horseback jumping a stone fence on a neighboring farm. We named this “Roots,” in honor of the deep roots of the family that match to the deep roots of the grapevines.

What’s unique about your winemaking process?

Patusky: Our winemaker, Katell Griaud, was raised in a small family-owned winery in Bergerac, France, just to the east of Bordeaux, and she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in winemaking from Bordeaux University. She makes the wines at Slater Run Vineyards in a traditional dry, French style. We owe the consistent high quality of our wines to both the quality of the grapes that we both grow on-site and purchase from other quality Virginia vineyards, and to the extreme skill and care that Ms. Griaud brings to the winemaking process, cutting no corners, and drawing upon her lifelong experience and university training to make “correct” wines.

What type of advice would you give to beginners in the wine drinking experience?

Patusky: The main thing for beginners is not to think that drinking wine is a stuffy or snobby experience that requires some secret knowledge. Wine is drunk in numerous cultures around the world as a drink that accompanies food, and every person has their own taste, and so the important thing is to put aside any anxiety and try the wines. We have no dress code at Slater Run, although our guests tend to be mature people who have come here to relax and enjoy quality Virginia wines. We offer spit buckets to those who want to try multiple wines without needing to consume too much quantity, and there is no right way to hold a glass in our view, other than the one that feels most comfortable to you.

Any special events coming up at Slater Run?

Patusky: We are open late on Fridays, from 5 – 8:30 p.m., exclusively for our club members and their guests, and we often have music and great food trucks on these nights. For example, we will be hosting an OysterFest for our club members on Friday, September 17, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. with music by Zach Jones. We think it is a wonderful way to end the work week by watching the sun go down over the Blue Ridge Mountains as you eat tasty food, listen to some classic American songs, and sip delicious wines with friends and family.

Early Mountain Vineyards

Located in Madison, Virginia, Early Mountain Vineyards rests on a historic property owned by Revolutionary War General Joseph Early. The property was visited by George Washington in 1784, where he wrote in his journal about the kind hospitality he received. Today, that hospitality continues through Early Mountain, which was first built as a winery in 2005 and opened by owners Jean Case and her husband, Steve, in 2012. Here, their vice president of strategy and marketing, Aileen Sevier gives us insight into their process.

How would you describe the atmosphere of your winery?

Sevier: Come visit! We have a gorgeous light-filled tasting room with vaulted ceilings and stunning views of the vineyards. We have a full-service restaurant integrated in the tasting room that features local, seasonal produce, and producers. We welcome pets in our outdoor spaces which include a full-service patio and more casual meadow seating with a walk-up bar and sandwich/salad menu. We love families and children.

What types of wines will we be drinking if we come visit you this October?

Sevier: We’ll have several exciting releases in October, including our “Quaker Run Chardonnay,” red blends “Novum” and “Eluvium,” as well as favorites “Five Forks” (aromatic white blend) and “Foothills” (red blend).

What year will the wines be from this fall? How long do you let the wine age before opening up a bottle for tasting?

Sevier: They will range from 2017 to 2020 vintage. Our fresher style whites and reds will be 2020, our more age-worthy reds will be 2017 and 2019 (both exceptional

vintages) as well as a limited release amber wine from the 2017 vintage.

What are your best beginner-friendly wines?

Sevier: We make a trio of “young wines” that are fruit-driven, fresh, but also offer some complexity and texture that makes them a notch above other entry wines. Our most popular wines are our rosé, five forks, and foothills, all blended wines that are bottled with screw caps and are accessible and versatile.

Walk me through some basic wine tasting etiquette for beginners.

Sevier: We offer wine
tastings tableside as flights, so it’s extremely non-intimidating. Folks can wear whatever they’d like! Most guests don’t spit, but if you’d like to, just ask your server for a spittoon and we’re happy to provide. As far as holding a glass, by the stem is best so that you don’t warm the wine or get fingerprints on the bowl, but it’s really not a big deal!

Are there any special events you’ll be hosting in September or October?

Sevier: We will be offering a “Bounty of Virginia” wine dinner on September 24, and our extremely popular fall oyster bar pop-up the weekend of October 16.

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards

Complete with a historic circa 1762 house and 11 acres of lush vineyards planted by the Swedenburgs in the mid-80s, Greenhill’s natural Virginian beauty creates an elevated wine experience that is unparalleled. The 128-acre property, formerly known as the Swedenburg Estate Vineyard, was purchased by David Greenhill in 2013. Assistant general manager and wine club manager Jenny Travers gave us some introductory information on wine at Greenhill.

How would you describe the Greenhill experience?

Travers: Greenhill Vineyards is an exception in the local winery scene. The focus is primarily on the experience of each customer and we have cultivated an atmosphere which welcomes small groups, dogs, horses, and of course the best oenophiles in the region exploring some of the best wines in the mid-Atlantic. Greenhill Vineyards is a 21 and over property perfect for dates, intimate conversations, and relaxing.

In your own words, explain your winemaking process.

Travers: The winemaking process starts in the vineyard, managed by general manager Jed Gray, who believes creating quality wines starts with a quality grape. The business owns and manages two vineyards in Virginia. The primary site is in Middleburg and the second is located in Amherst County, south of Charlottesville. The uniqueness of each site provides the winemaking team, led by Ben Comstock, with fruit that has different varietal expressions helping to create one-of-a-kind wines for the region. Using 100% French oak barrels handpicked for each vintage, Ben has already been recognized both locally and nationally for the quality of his wines.

What types of wines will we be drinking if we come visit you this October?

Travers: Greenhill Vineyards has many exciting new releases and of course the signature favorites! Be on the lookout for the 2019 tannat, a new varietal for Greenhill, and the 2019 eternity which has become one of the most exciting wines we have ever tasted. In addition, the 2020 viognier and 2020 petit manseng are two white wines that are Greenhill favorites, available this fall.

How long do you let the wine age before opening up a bottle for tasting?

Travers: Each wine has different aging preferences and potential. We generally suggest not aging white wines, but red wines age in the barrel for 1-2 years and then can be aged in the bottle for 5-infinite years. The red wines being released this fall will be primarily from the 2019 vintage and the whites wines will be from the 2020 vintage. The 2021 vintage is still on the vines, harvest will begin in the next couple of weeks and it will go into October.

Are there any special events you’ll be hosting in September or October?

Travers: Our fire pits will return in October and can be reserved through our website. We will also have our annual harvest dinner the first Saturday in November and tickets will be on sale around the first part of October. ML

This article first appeared in the September 2021 Issue.

Veramar Vineyard Offers Enhanced Tasting Program

by Brian Yost

There is something a little different going on just across the mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. Veramar Vineyard has initiated what it calls an “enhanced tasting.” They’re still doing a standard public tasting, but also have instituted a program that takes a deeper dive into some of their best wines in a guided, small-group setting.

If you’re unfamiliar with Veramar Vineyard, the Bogaty family owns it along with Bogati Bodega in Round Hill and James Charles Winery and Vineyard a little further west in Winchester. In addition to producing wine, James Charles and Bogati winemaker Justin Bogaty also does custom crush for a handful of other Virginia wineries. The quality of the family’s wine is highly regarded throughout the Commonwealth.

I was invited to the first of these tastings in March, so I arrived at the appointed time and waited in the tasting room for the rest of the group to assemble. The small groups are limit- ed to a maximum of eight people. After everyone arrived, we were ushered into a private tasting room just off the main public space.


Once inside, we were seated at a tasting bar. At each seat there were a pair of wine glasses and a plate of excellent Charcuterie. Behind the bar was Tom Donegan, Veramar’s wine specialist, who conducts many of the winery’s special events. Posted on the wall behind him was a board listing the four wines that comprised the day’s tasting.

I love the format. There are other wineries in the Commonwealth that do food and wine pairings, but they’re done either as a part of the regular tasting or as special events conducted for the wine club. To my knowledge, this is the only winery in the state that has a regular food and wine-pairing program that is available on a regular basis for the general public. In addition, these are reserve or club wines that are being poured. In other words, they are Veramar’s premier wines.

After a brief introduction and an explanation of how things would proceed, Tom began to step us through the wines. We started with a Fume Blanc, which is a style of Sauvignon Blanc. Paired with French olives, the wine itself was excellent with bright fruit and perfect balance. It was probably my favorite of the entire event and I took bottles home.

After that great start, we moved on to a Chambourcin dry-style Rosé that was pared with Prosciutto. The acidity of the wine was perfect alongside the saltiness of the cured meat. Then on to a Merlot that had a nose you could get lost in. The red fruit of the wine was expertly paired with a very rich duck rillette. We finished
with the Veramar Rooster Red, which is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The dark fruit of the blend was featured alongside a won- derful aged Manchego and fig jam.

The formal tasting lasted about a hour. Tom did a great job leading us through the wines and for anyone learning about wine, the pairing format is a great educational opportunity.

I also found a certain sense of camaraderie among the members of our group and I very much enjoyed interacting with them. After the event ended, there was no attempt to shuffle us back out of the room. We were afforded an opportunity to purchase glasses or bottles of wine and there was time to socialize and trade notes with other members of the group.

>If you’re interested in attending one of these sessions, you’ll need to check the Veramar website for times. The enhanced tastings are conducted just a couple Saturdays a month and require an advance reservation. I should also point out that the tasting list will vary from session to session. So it may be possible to attend more than one and taste a different line- up. In any case, I walked away a huge fan of the program and the Veramar wines. I strongly recommend checking it out for yourself.