Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vintners as Placemakers

With autumn in the air and a long holiday weekend upon us, my husband and I ventured forth to visit several Loudoun County vineyards. I've always loved visiting vineyards perhaps because, better than anyone or anything else, they distill the essence of Place.

Sited surely to maximize grape production, Virginia vineyards seem sited to maximize beauty as well. Most are ringed with glorious views of rolling field and lavendar hillside, immaculate rows of vines canopied by sunrise and sunset. Most, too, take advantage of the old farms there before them, serving wine in centuries-old barns or farm houses with low beam ceilings. Proud of the local history, they tell stories of early settlement, the first Norton grapes planted, who owned this house originally, and which parts date back to 1830. And they have a strong connection to the wildlife and weather, remembering the year of the big floods, the big droughts, the year when deer and raccoon ate every grape or when the weather turned cold too soon.

The wine itself is a distillation of everything that makes Virginia Virginia. It tastes different from California or French wines and that is to be expected, because the land and air and water are different here, as are the leaves and flowers, which add their own taste and aroma, as the vintners add their different preferences and history. We bought several bottles to bring home, and I feel certain that someday, maybe weeks, months, even years from now, when I uncork a Virginia Viognier, Meritage or Cab Franc, I'll remember this glorious, windows-down day in September when we ventured forth down dusty, sun-dappled Old Loudoun roads.
Photo courtesy of Neva Spell


Unknown said...


You achieved your goal of putting 'place' into your writing with this article! Great job and thanks for writing about Loudoun's wineries. We already sent it out to the followers of our LoudounWineries Twitter account.

Please keep us posted about any upcoming articles on Loudoun wineries you are posting and we'll send those out, too.


Our Founders said...

Will do and thank you!

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