Michael Broadbent Raves About Virginia Wine
My name is Carlo DeVito, and I am the author of East Coast Wineries: A Complete Guide from Maine to Virginia published by Rutgers University Press. This blog is dedicated to primarily east coast wines and wineries including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. It will also feature products and information from other regions.
So, while I was down in Virginia, one night I had to dine alone. Ah well, it's one of the hardships of traveling for business by yourself. While I was in Charlotte, I went to the old historical district, wherein they have a lovely downtown, outdoor mall, complete with cobblestones, etc. In the mall there are many nice restaurants, but I was only there for one - Siips Wine and Champagne Bar.
Wine lover and entrepreneur Dennis Horton began his wine making venture with a small home vineyard in Madison County, Virginia in 1983. It did not take him long to realize that, although the Virginia summers were warm enough to ripen almost any grape variety, the humid conditions favored growing grapes with thicker skins and loose clusters. In 1988, Dennis and longtime business partner Joan Bieda acquired 55 acres for the beginning of Horton Vineyards. The task of establishing the vineyard was given to Dennis' wife Sharon. Together, they have made history.
And in the mean time, follow the message!!! Give New York Wine This Holiday Season!
When one wants to really learn about Virginia wine, the first person they need to speak with is Richard Leahy. Richard has been involved in Virginia wine for well more than 15 years. As the East Cost editor of Vineyard & Winery Management and the organizer of Wineries Unlimited for more than a decade, Richard is in touch with many people.
The 2010 growing season on the east coast is one of the best in more than two decades. From Virginia to Long Island to Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island, winemakers harvested happily and early! The Brix were high, and the grapes were sweet!
1. East Coast had a great winemaking season in 2010 and the 2009 vintage, a tough one, has shone pretty well so far. The 2010 vintage will be one for the ages. Yet another sign of the rising tide of quality on the East Coast.
2. I'm tired of hearing about all the star power California and other wine regions have. East Coast has it's own star winemakers like Richard Olsen-Harbich (Bedell), Eric Fry (Lenz), Roman Roth (Wolffer), Russell Hearn (PWG), Tom Higgins (Heart & Hands), Eric Miller (Chaddsford), Jonathan Edwards (Jonathan Edwards), Adam McTaggart (Boxwood), Luca Paschina (Barboursville), Cameron Stark (Unionville), Andy Reagan (Jefferson); Bob Bartlett (Barrtlett Estate), and many others. Apologies. there's many more...can't list them all. I put this list of people up against anyone. This is my East Coast Wineries Justice League.
3. Better winemaking know-how and knowledge across the board from Virginia all the way to Maine are better than ever. Period. Not even a discussion.
5. Even if the New York legislature still doesn't get it, Virginia, Maryland, and a number of other wines states do. More money will be spent in 2010 to promote east coast winemaking than ever before.
6. Great marketing people. In the past, the east coast had inexperienced wine professionals promoting their wines (and in some cases no one), but now there are a maturing crop of wine professionals who have the funds to create demand and drive more wine into consumers hands, like Morgan McLaughlin of the Finger Lakes; Kevin Atticks of Maryland; Richard Leahy and Annette Ringwood Boyd of Virginia; the people who created the Maine Winery Guild; and of course Jim Trezise (who is currently over-matched by his demands and severely under-funded by the state - and who could use some help).
8. It's Local! This is one of the biggest boosts East Coast wineries have ever had. And it's more important than ever. Consumers want to support local. A little state pride is a good thing. Local dirt tastes better. It tastes and smells like home. It's unique.
9. Quality. The over all quality is better than ever. I can't tell you enough how wine quality has improved over the last 15 years. Part of this has to do with a better understanding of chemistry, but more importantly, the wines are better made, with more oeniological understanding, and many are truly cellar worthy.
10. The east coast has great, dedicated bloggers, starting with Lenn Thompson and the gang at New York Cork Report; your truly, East Coast Wineries; a slew of great Viriginia blogs including Virginia Wine Time, Virginia Wine In My Pocket, Virginia Wine Dogs Blog, and My Vine Spot among others; Vinotrip; The Wine Classroom, The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, and many, many others. These dedicated men and women are the engine that help promote and celebrate the many things going on in and around local wine.
BONUS 11! And the biggest reason is? Taste! East coast wines have never tasted so good! And now, with a vintage like 2010 under their belts, East Coast wineries are in fact second to none. Will some of the wine regions continue to evolve? Will new varieties inevitably rise up? Yes, yes, and yes, I say again. But for now, this is as good as it's been - and it's only going to get better. No more apologies. No excuses. We have great wine, come and drink!