Vint Hill Craft Winery
Kathy and Terry Sullivan
Summary: Vint Hill Craft Winery is a winery slated to open during the summer of 2009 in a historical one hundred year old farm building. This winery is designed to educate visitors and enthuisasts who what to make wine. People will have the opportunity to craft their own barrel of wine. They can partake in the process as much or as little as they wish. If you don't know what to do with aproximately twenty-five cases of your wine, you'll have the option to sell it in the tasting room.
We met with Chris Pearmund of Vint Hill Craft Winery in Virginia. Chris is the owner and executive winemaker at Pearmund Cellars. Vint Hill Craft Winery offers a great opportunity to become involved with producing your own wine. We discovered that this urban winery is especially for the hobbyist winemaker. Restaurateurs, consumers and wannabe winemakers will learn a great deal by having a hands on experience in producing their own barrel of wine. Groups are also encouraged to share the cost and the approximate 25 cases of wine they make.
While Vint Hill Craft Winery is not yet open to the public, we were able to see the work in progress as the building is renovated into a winery devoted to education. Chris sees this winery as an educational venue for the consumer.
Chris briefly mentioned the history of the area and the barn. The former dairy barn is almost 100 years old; although along the way there have been various changes and additions. In 1942, the property became part of a military base. The eastern Primary Monitoring station was housed here and the area became a training school for signals, interception and deciphering. It was in the barn that houses the winery that personnel deciphered messages sent to Japan.
Renovations are being done with an eye on environmental friendliness. Geothermal technology will provide air conditioning and heating. Lighting in the tasting room are LED. The insulation that is currently exposed is “green” technology. Energy efficient windows are located on both sides of the second floor.
Visitors will be able to look down from the tasting room into the busy working area where they will see the work in progress including sorting and destemming. Chris pointed out the areas designated for two sorting tables. Any none-grape material (MOG-Material Other than Grapes) will be removed from the grapes on the first sorting table. The resulting grapes will go through the destemmer and then onto a second sorting table. The second sorting table is to remove the jacks from the mixture. Jacks are the small green stems that connect several grapes. If the jacks are left in the grapes, they will add harsh tannins and unwanted flavors to the finished wine. For a truly quality wine, jacks should be removed before the cold soak storage (if applicable) and fermentation.
The tasting room walls are in the process of having cedar siding attached. The siding is placed in design form to provide a dramatic style and adds to the character of a one hundred-year-old barn. The tasting room area will also be the location for classes for those participating in the wine barrel program. Participants will learn and observe the process before proceeding downstairs where all of the activity will take place. Chris believes that participants should know what to do before going down to work with their grapes.
While the current focus is on the renovation of the barn into a winery, the property also offers an area that may become a pizza restaurant. A few steps away another barn is under consideration as a cultural art center.
For their first year, Vint Hill will source grapes from Virginia and California. Due to the variations in climate and varietals, the grape harvest is expected to take place in September and October. The wine making process will last four to five weeks. Wines will age in barrels for several months before bottling. Vintners who make wine at the winery will have their own label design and will have the opportunity to have their wine sold from the tasting room.
Wine tastings promise to be delightful. Visitors will be able to order a flight of wines of any one varietal. Chris has decided to use an argon system available to preserve the wines at the wine tasting counter. Education is an important aspect of the visitor experience. For example if they order the Cabernet Sauvignon flight, they will receive five different Cabernet Sauvignon samples to taste and compare. They can discover the difference in taste and aroma for a Cab that underwent cold fermentation versus one that did not, as well as compare California and Virginia fruit.
One of the house wines that will be created will be appropriately called Enigma. Visitors will have to try to figure out what is in it. This is a great way of holding on to our past, to a time when the military used the barn to decipher messages encrypted by an enigma machine.
Vint Hill Craft Winery is scheduled to open in July 2009. The first winemaking vintage will include the 2009 harvest and people can make wine at this state-of-the-art winery during the fall of 2009.
Vint Hill Craft Winery
7150 Lineweaver Road
Vint Hill, Virginia 20187
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