Viognier Loves Virginia

June 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

What is Viognier?

Viognier (pronounced “vee-on-yay”) is a white wine grape traditionally grown in the Northern Rhone region of Condrieu in France.  Once quite widly planted, this grape suffered a drop in popularity after its vineyards were devastated by the grapevine insect phylloxera, then shortly afterward abandoned due to World War 1.

In the mid-1960s, however, Viognier was planted more and more, not just in France’s Rhone Valley, but also in California, and, soon, in Virginia.

Why does Viognier grow so well in Virginia?

Viognier is a difficult grape to grow and is sometimes referred to as a “shy” grape.  It is prone to mildew, gives varying and often quite low yields, and requires a long growing season.

But the fact that Viognier is a less vigorous grape is a good thing here in Virginia because Viognier holds up beautifully against Virginia’s rainy falls. While some grapes can take up to a week or more to recover from an inch or two of rain, Viognier bounces back in no time, giving us consistently ripe grapes.

The wine made from Viognier grapes is, more often than not, distinct and wonderful, and has gained acclaim as a “serious wine drinker’s” wine, with powerful sweet fruit aromas and a rich, low-acid body.

Just recently, our 2009 Viognier (not yet released) won international acclaim, taking home Double Gold (best of every Viognier submitted out of all 50 states and many international countries) at the 2010 Fingerlakes International Wine Competition and Gold at the 2010 International Eastern Wine Competition.

Viognier is on its way to becoming known as the Virginia varietal, and we’re excited that our ’09 Viognier is helping lead the way.

-Nate

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