New Vineyard Update – From Mike and Diane
April 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Sunset Hills Vineyard 2012 Expansion Update
Since we bottled our first vintage in 2005 (all of 5 barrels!), Sunset Hills has become more popular, and we’ve increased our winemaking each consecutive year. To keep pace with the increased winemaking, we have needed to expand our original 7 acre vineyard. We planted our second vineyard behind the winery, and naturally called it Vineyard 2. In 2009, we planted our 3rd vineyard, which we reluctantly called Vineyard 3. This month, we plant our 4th vineyard, and while we are getting pretty good at farming, we desperately need help with naming!
But, we also saw that we have maximized the use of our land, having planted about 20 acres of the 45 we have, and yet we still want to grow. We want to make it easier for you to find our wine in fine restaurants and in the Virginia wine section of local stores. We are firm believers in the quality of estate grown fruit, and are unwilling to drop our standards. Clearly, we need more land!
This winter, we lucked out, and found not one, but two perfect vineyards less than an hour away that produced over 260 tons of top quality fruit last year. These vineyards were part of a business that was growing grapes for 10 years for many Virginia wineries, and was about to open their own winery until the passing of its founder. The family put the vineyards up for sale, and we quickly saw the opportunity and put in the winning bid. (How quickly? We were literally on our way to Antarctica, and signed the agreement from Tierra del Fuego just before boarding the icebreaker).
The first vineyard, called Shenandoah Springs, is located about an hour away in Woodstock, Virginia. It is in a beautiful setting, at an elevation of about 1250 feet. The 45 acre parcel has 23 acres planted. The second vineyard, called Catesby Vineyard, is in Upperville, and also has about 45 acres with 20 acres planted.
What excites me most about these vineyards are the no-expense-spared way in which they’ve been planted and maintained, as well as the varieties grown. Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Tannat, Sangiovese, Viognier, Chardonnay and more! For example, one of our favorite grapes is Petit Verdot. Normally, when we make Petit Verdot, it sells out in months, which is as discouraging for us to run out as it is for you. I am excited that this year, with the addition of these two new vineyards, we should harvest about 30 tons of Petit Verdot, enough to make 2000 cases of wine. That is very cool!
We might invite you out for a tour of these over the summer, or fall, so stay tuned. Exciting times are here!
Diane and Mike