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DelFosse Vineyards and Winery
Terry Sullivan

February 2009 update:

DelFosse Vineyards and Winery has increased their portfolio by adding Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Petit Manseng. This year, DelFosse Vineyards will increase by 1¾ acres. Additional vines will be Pinot Gris and Malbec. Claude DelFosse would like the public to be aware of the Wine Club availability and the events at the winery as well as the wine cruise available this coming summer. Many of the wines have been awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. Events and medals information is available on the DelFosse Vineyards and Winery website.

Our venture to DelFosse Vineyards and Winery was an adventure. Their website cautions of driving slowly after you turn off US Route 29. Do take your time and enjoy the scenery along the road. One does need to use care especially when rounding curves. We had to stop to let goats cross the road. On the last right we were on a gravel road reminiscent of the road in front of my wife’s childhood home. Eventually you will come before a gated entrance to the winery. Tall fences rim the perimeter of the area preventing deer from destroying the grapes. The journey to the winery is part of the adventure.

Once there we learned that there are over five miles of trails where you can amble past grapevines, up and down rolling hills, and stop to take advantage of views of the winery and vineyards. After the hike you can go to the tasting room and sample some of the great wines made at the winery. If open, there is a cabin next to the trail parking area that also does tastings. Here you can sit on the porch and look out over the terraced vineyards, pond and modern tasting room.

The main tasting room is a modern bright, naturally lit room across from a pond. There is a small tasting bar and numerous tables set up for you to taste the many wines that DelFosse produces.  On the day of our visit, we sat at a table, as did another couple. Claude DelFosse, the owner, brought wine to the tables to serve. Sitting at the tables is a nice alternative to standing at the tasting bar. You have more time to contemplate the different wines or just enjoy a relaxing time. For a fee cheese plates are available to taste wines with.

DelFosse is one of Virginia’s newest wineries. It began in 2002 with its first vintage in 2004. Twenty acres of grapes are growing about 13,500 vines. DelFosse produces about 4500 cases of wine. Most of the grapes are grown on the property around the winery. Those grapes that are sourced from different vineyards are from the Monticello AVA. When asked why this area was chosen for the vineyard and winery, Claude mentioned that the Charlottesville area is a good grape growing area. Previously an apple orchard occupied the area where the vineyard is located. This was an indication that the area would be good to grow grapes. Claude also had experts look at the site.

Expert advice was also available for the vineyard. Most of the vineyard is on a slope. The vines are terraced in such a way to aid in the spraying of the vines. When the tops of one row is sprayed the bottom of an adjacent row is sprayed.

Claude DelFosse likes to follow the style that creates a balanced wine. He wants to have a balance between fruit, acid, tannin, oak and alcohol. He likes to use French oak barrels that have a medium toasting.


On the day of our visit we tasted several white wines including a 2004 Chardonnay winner of three medals including Gold at the International Eastern Wine Competition, 2005 Chardonnay winner of a gold medal at the Virginia State Fair, 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, 2005 Reserve d’Oriane named after his daughter, a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Petit Manseng blend, and a 2005 Viognier Reserve. There was one Rosé we tasted; a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chambourcin. The red wines we tasted included 2005 Deer Rock Farm Red which received honorable mention at the Daylily and Wine Festival. Deer Rock Farm red was named after the name of the land where the vineyard is located. This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin. We also tasted a 2005 Grand Cru Olivier a bronze medal winner at the Monticello Wine Cup, named after Claude’s son. This was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Touriga and Petit Verdot. Looking over the list of wines produced it is easy to see that Claude enjoys producing wines that are blends. Claude, Michael Shaps, the winemaker, and Paul, the cellar manager, taste the wines several times during aging to determine what will be the right combination for the blend. Each blend will differ each year depending on the grape characteristics of that year.

The facilities at DelFosse are available for private events including weddings, rehearsal dinners, private parties, receptions and business meetings. Public scheduled events include a variety of possibilities. Go to the DelFosse website to find out more about wine dinners, wine and food pairings, cooking classes and more.

For the future Claude would like to add more formal type classes, for visitors to learn more about wine.

DelFosse Vineyards and Winery
Faber, Virginia

GPS: N 37° 53.530’  W 078° 45.813’




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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2018