A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



The Journey, Part Two!

Five years ago we cleared a spot of land atop a lovely knoll on our beloved mountain retreat.  A vineyard we would plant.  I remember the first few times I referred to that plot of land as "the vineyard".  I nearly felt embarrassed when speaking the word in reference to something of ours, as if we could or would actually ever own a vineyard!  The reality of it still seemed so distant, so dreamlike.  But we could and we did, and we now own and tend to a little vineyard all our own.  I love that little spot of land!

And now after three years of the vines in the ground, we can claim our first harvest.  We have wine in barrel at our dear friends', The Stinson's Winery.  Both families were newbies last harvest...  sort of like the blind leading the blind throughout "crush", that term used in the industry referring to the period immediately post harvest when we are sorting, destemming, crushing, pressing etc.  Fortunately, we were in the capable hands of our dear Monsieur Matthieu Finot, winemaker extraordinaire!.  Merci, merci, Matthieu!

Our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are resting quietly in oak barrels, a mixture of new and neutral French Oak.  They continue to undergo their transformation.  It amazes me, the change in flavor and mouthfeel in these wines from their post primary fermentation period.  Currently they are undergoing a process called "malolactic fermentation" in which the malic acids are converted into the smoother lactic acid molecules, changing the mouthfeel and acidity levels.  In France they refer to this as the "spring fermentation", as that is when the wines naturally kick into this stage of their cycle of development.  It is all just so amazing to me, and I continue to see the comparisons of rearing children to giving birth to wine... Our adolescent wines are now tucked away in their rooms, away from us as they continue their growth and transformation.  We only peek in once in a while to make sure they are coming along OK!  Our hope, as is every parents' hope, that they will emerge from their adolescence unscathed, mature, and ready to give their talent and gifts to the world.  A taste of  their talents we will soon enjoy.


In the dark you rest
Transform young, unknowing ways
Emerge, speak our land

Looking back........

Clearing land, Winter 2006-07

Cover crop planted, Aug 2007

Tilled, rocks removed, marked, ready for planting, May 2008

Ready, Set.. Plant!!! May 10, 2008 (3,500 vines!)

Baby vines emerge, June 2008

And grow up to show their beauty, July 2010

And bless us with their lucious, sweet fruit

And after the harvest

The transformation.... the fruits of our labor become wine

Sometimes, when I sit back and reflect, and try to assimilate all that has brought us to this point,  I think of it as somewhat of a lofty, dream.... one that I have been delighted to share with you.


I feel very honored to have had one of my photographs selected for the cover of the 2011 Virginia Winery Guide. I thank those who voted for this photograph.  I hope through this image, I can do my little part to help promote the amazing wine industry of Virginia! 

And Next, Looking Forward...
A winery of our own!

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