It’s been awhile since our last posting to this blog (around July 2015). We’ve been pretty busy; sorry for taking so long. We have a little down time now around the holidays so let’s catch you up.
The big news is we got through our first growing season successfully. We’ve just completed our initial vine inventory (10000+) and most of the little guys had a very good year (excluding the Viognier, the subject of an earlier post). We’ll be placing an order for some new plantings to expand the vineyard a smidgeon and for some replacement vines, but, all in all, we came through pretty well. We even got a little (very little) fruit this year (from our Sauvignon Blanc vines which replaced most of our Viognier in June 2015). Our vineyard and winemaking consultant, upon seeing this bounty, quipped, “we can make a glass.” We’re on track for a good winemaking harvest in 2018.
Next biggest news is that our initial vineyard operation is essentially completed. Our goal for 2015 was establishing the vineyard and constructing the infrastructure necessary to sustain it. It took almost of all of 2015, but we’re done. We gone from cleared, bare land, without utilities, buildings, vines, and infrastructure to a completed, planted, working vineyard with necessary infrastructure.
Since our last post, we’ve completed our trellis works (metal posts, metal vine rods, vine tying and rod clipping) and deer fence repairs (mother nature and tree damage), our farm roads, our parking lot (including some limo space), our barn and vineyard office buildings, and building landscaping. These buildings will serve as our interim tasting room and winery. We installed our logo road sign (which surprisingly is located just across the street from a Virginia state sign welcoming travelers to the Norther Virginia wine region). We’re also putting up stone main gate piers which will include our “b” logo etched in stone. Things are starting to look nice, less like a construction zone.
In the late Summer and Fall 2015, we began taking the legal and other steps necessary to becoming a working winery too. We took delivery of our interim winery tanks, press, de-stemmer, crusher, and pumps. This equipment will be used for small scale winemaking in our barn. (Once we erect the main winery building, we’ll outfit that building with bigger equipment for larger scale winemaking. But that’s lots of time and money down the road.) The small scale approach will enable us to secure more quickly our federal and state permits to make, blend, and sell wine. In fact, last week, the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued our bonded winery permit. We expect our VA farm winery license to issue from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) early in 2016. We hope to purchase good fruit this coming year and bottle some wine.
By the time we post again to this blog, we should be through dormant vine pruning (in January), have commenced our second growing season, and have secured all of our winery licenses. Til then.