In The Vineyard

Ankida Ridge Horiz Images

We wanted to grow something unique for Virginia, knowing our site was unique to most Virginia vineyards. Our first planting was very small, only two acres.  We recently expanded our plantings with another four acres, most of it pinot with some chardonnay and a little gamay.

Our 1800 ft. elevation keeps us cooler in the summer than most of the area vineyards by about 6-8 °.  Our soils are comprised of weathered granite, providing a very porous consistency allowing for excellent water drainage, a desirable quality when growing pinot noir.  When we first took our vineyard consultant, the renowned ampelographer, Lucie Morton, to the proposed site, she stood there and looked around, studying the land.  After many moments of reflection, she turned to us and told us we might be able to grow pinot noir on this site.  This could be one of those rare Virginia locations where pinot might do well.  Being cooler during the day with great air movement and water drainage, it might work!  “Little Burgundy” she offered.  This could be Virginia’s Little Burgundy!

We were surprised but excited at the possibility.  We were told by most involved in viticulture circles that you can’t grow a decent pinot noir in Virginia.  Pinot noir is a very fickle grape variety. It has very thin skins and is extremely susceptible to mold, mildew and disease. This was going to be a challenge. And on top of that, we were planning on implementing eco-friendly, low input viticulture practices.  But because we trusted Lucie’s expertise and her opinion that our mesoclimate is a good fit for this finicky, yet lovely grape, we accepted the challenge of growing pinot noir in an eco-friendly vineyard in Virginia! And we are so glad we did.