Monday, November 09, 2009

Roanoke Times Reports on Six Wineries About to Open in Southwest Virginia

Southwest Va. vintners hope winery takes root November 9, 2009 - 8:20am
By JEFF STURGEON The Roanoke Times

CHILDRESS, Va. (AP) - Rik and Melissa Obiso are living proof that wine is taking root in Montgomery County.

Out their back door, the buds have set on the grape vines for Eclipse Winery, which is not yet in production but on its way.

The Montgomery County couple is one of several with ambitions to make wine.
Right now, winery maps list no wineries in Montgomery County, even though Virginia has a burgeoning wine industry.

In 2008, the state produced 370,340 cases of wine with an estimated retail value of $74 million. There are an estimated 150 wineries in operation and more getting off the ground all the time, according to the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.

There are six wineries in Southwest Virginia. In the next few years, that bunch will grow.
David and Allison Dunkenberger are building a tank room and grape pressing area in Ironto, where they have planted 2,500 vines. The couple _ he has a background in information technology and she is a physical therapist _ expect to sell their first bottles of wine in 2011, David Dunkenberger said.

Meanwhile, the owners of Maison Beliveau, a bed-and-breakfast and event center in the Catawba Valley, have planted 800 vines on their property to support a future winery. Yvan Beliveau directs the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. Joyce Beliveau, who has a master's degree in counseling and leadership experience, is running Maison Beliveau. The launch of their winery is several years out.

For the Obisos, the Eclipse Winery project represents a professional and recreational diversion from day jobs in which he is a biosciences consultant and she is an architect.

They expect the business to produce income someday and, hope it'll be a lot of fun _ not to mention a tourist draw and enhancement to area property values.

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