Looking more and more like a vineyard…

Last Saturday I spent the day installing the cordon wire in each of the rows. For anyone who doesn’t know and is interested, the cordon wire is the wire that supports the arms (cordons) of the vines and in essence supports the weight of the vine and its fruit. It was a long day, basically walking back and forth down each of the forty four rows. All in all, I installed about 6000′ of wire. It was awesome to stand back and actually see it all done, it’s looking more and more like a vineyard… The next step is to tie the end posts back to the earth anchors to help support the rows and tighten the cordon wires.

Cordon Wire has been installed.

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A lot has happened!!

It has been over a month since my last post, and a lot has happened. We went to Portugal for three weeks to visit family and friends. While there we had a great time enjoying all of the great food and wine as well going to the beach in Algarve, and doing some sight seeing all over the place. The weather there was the exact opposite of what it was here, perfect every single day we were there. I understand that it’s been raining here non-stop for some time now, something that has wreaked a whole lot of havoc on this year’s grape harvest. We got back a week ago and have not stopped since. My dad and I went down to Delfosse Vineyards to pick up the Chambourcin grapes that I bought to make my wine this year. That was a miserable four hours driving a moving truck in the rain. When we got home we crushed the grapes, and fermentation is now underway. Yesterday I rented a two man auger and with my parents’ help, we were able to drill the 88 holes for the end posts, and get all of those posts set. It really is starting to look more and more like a vineyard. Still have a lot to do this winter, finish putting in the Earth Anchors, run the cordon wire to tie those vines that are tall enough to, prune all of the vines, fix the deer fence so that they stop eating my vines.. the list goes on and on and on…Check out a couple of pictures showing the fermentation and the new end posts.

2011 Chambourcin Fermentation End Posts

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Sneak peak.

I’ve been working on the plans for the Inn for a long time. I’m pretty much done with them and I’m about to take them in to our local copy place to get them copied and scanned. Here’s a peak at what it’s going to look like. This is a view of the front of the building. I’ve been working on it so much I can tell exactly what this will look like when it’s finished. This draft seems like it doesn’t give it justice at all, but it does at least provide a glimpse of what could be.

Front View of Inn

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Updated entrance.

It’s been an rough few weeks. Between the hurricane, the earthquake and the generally funky weather, I haven’t been able to get much done on the vineyard. On top of all that, the weather conditions have been perfect for weeds to thrive and as a result of that, our entrance has become quite overgrown. All the work I did on putting in a ditch down the side of the driveway seems to have been in vain. Last week I had someone come in and regrade the driveway to make it look more like a proper entrance. Check it out below. Next up will be a new layer of stone, and we’ll be all set. In a couple of weeks we’ll be going to Portugal to visit my parents so it will be October before I get any more work done on the vineyard. It’s going to be a busy Winter. I need to get the last 20 posts set, get the earth anchors in place, and drill for and install the 88 end posts. But come next Spring, it will finally look like a vineyard.

A Proper Entrance

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Our first medals!!!!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was submitting my last couple of wines to the Indy International Wine Competition‘s amateur category. In addition to the ’09 Chambourcin(55%)/Cabernet Franc(45%) blend and the ’10 Chambourcin(85%)/Syrah(15%) blend that I had mentioned previously, I also submitted my ’08 Cabernet Franc. The results were posted today and I’m very happy to say that all three earned medals, the ’08 got a Bronze medal and the ’09 and ’10 got Silver medals. This is the first time I had submitted my wines to be judged and I was a bit nervous. I think I checked their website on my phone about every 30 minutes today looking for the results. I can’t wait to be able to submit my wines into the commercial category in the coming years.

Our First Medals

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How cool will this be??

I came across this website this weekend and started thinking that this would be awesome. It’s a company that is about 10 miles from where we’ll be located and they rent classic convertible sports cars for the day or the weekend. They are Sports Car Rentals and are located in Batesville, which is at right about the middle between us and Charlottesville. Check them out if you’re looking to spend some time down in the Charlottesville area.

Sports Car Rentals

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New discovery.

Last weekend on our way to da Luca Cafe and Wine Bar, Tracie and I noticed what looked to be a new vineyard. So during the week I looked it up and turns out that it was – Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards – and they had a new tasting room that had just opened a couple of weeks back. We stopped in on Sunday, and let me just say, this place is gorgeous. They have incredible views and every last detail that went into the construction and decoration of the place was carefully thought out. Some of the wines were still young, and some were remarkably good considering how young they were. We are looking forward to stopping in many more times and would recommend them to anyone who is planning to come down to this area. Check out some of the pictures we took below:

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards - Tasting room and events hall
Pippin Hill Farm - Incredible view

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Local dining at its best.

There is a wine bar called da Luca in Crozet that I’ve been wanting to take Tracie to for quite sometime. Her birthday is this week, so we decided to go down to the Nelson County Farmer’s Market on Saturday, hit a few wineries, and then stop in at da Luca for brunch. Tracie loved it. The food and atmosphere were fabulous. I had the Baked Goat Cheese Salad and she had the Crab Benedict. We would highly recommend both of these dishes. If you’re ever in the area you need to add da Luca as one of your stops, it will be well worth it.

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Local Blacksmith.

There is a blacksmith in Keswick whose shop we have driven by countless times. Each time I drive by, I comment to myself or whoever is within earshot that I need to stop in there since we are hoping to be able to include some custom ironwork in the house. Last week things worked out so that I was able to stop in for a little while and talk to the blacksmith/owner of Stokes of England. His name is Stephen Stokes and as I’m sure you can guess, he is from England. He took me around the shop and showed me some of his work and we talked about some of the things we’re looking for. He does some truly amazing work. He has a gallery in Gordonsville that I’m going to have to stop at to seem some more of his work as well as his Portfolio. Right now it looks like we’re going to try to have him make us the three balconies for the front of the Inn, as well as the interior stair railing. What I am also looking at him doing that I hadn’t even thought about before is the front entry door and maybe all exterior doors for that matter. He has dome some really cool work with wood/iron/glass that will go perfectly with the look we are looking for.

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Just how good is it?

I think I make pretty decent wine and our friends tend to agree. But what does that really mean? Since the plan is to be producing and selling wine in the near future, I figured it was time to find out what unbiased judges think of it. So, I’ve decided to enter my last two vintages in the Indy International Wine Competition‘s amateur category. The actual judging will take place in early August and I should know something shortly after that. I’m entering the following:

  • 2009 Red Blend – This is 55% Chambourcin and 45% Cabernet Franc. It has a dark ruby color, it’s somewhat fruity on the nose, with hints of black cherry on the palate, and a long finish.

  • 2010 Chambourcin – This wine is 85% Chambourcin and 15% Syrah. It is the biggest, boldest, driest wine I have ever made. It is even darker than last year’s. It is earthy with strong berry notes on the nose. Tracie describes it as being velvety on the tongue.

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