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Mountain & Vine Vineyards and Winery reopens for the season

Mountain & Vine Vineyards and Winery is officially open for the season.

The Faber winery, fresh off its 2023 victory at the Virginia Governor’s Cup, has just won two more gold medals for its products — and is, once again, up for the top prize in Virginia winemaking this year.

Previously known as Delfosse, Mountain & Vine has been around since 2001. The original owner, Calude Delfosse, first planted vines in 2003. He owned the winery until he died more than a decade ago.

Michael and Adrienne Albers bought the vineyard in 2015 and began transitioning the estate to their Mountain & Vine brand.

Fruit has long been grown on the land, which served as an apple orchard from the 1920s until the 1970s.

This year marks Mountain & Vine’s ninth harvest. The winery has a total of 320 acres with 17 of those under vine.

It has 11 different varieties of grapes. All wine is grown and made on the estate.

“This is a beautiful place to grow fruit, to grow grapes,” Michael Albers told the Nelson County Times.

He said the winery is still trying to bounce back from COVID-19 and he is hopeful this is the year things will finally get back to normal.

Elizabeth Sites, the tasting room manager at Mountain & Vine, has been planning several events for the winery, including educational workshops and entertaining murder mysteries.

While foot traffic may still be recovering from the pandemic, harvests have been been healthy. The 2023 vintage is expected to be a banner year for Mountain & Vine, as well as other wineries in the Monticello wine country in Central Virginia.

“2023 was one of the best vintage years that we’ve ever had,” Michael Albers said.

The growing season starts in early April and harvesting starts between August and November.

“It takes one to two years before the grapes go into bottles,” Sites said.

Michael Alders said how long the process takes depends on the type of wine being made.

For white wines, the grapes and leaves start off being put in a big crusher, which is about the size of a small school bus. This machine crushes the fruit to make the juice, then the juice gets stored in oak barrels.

Other wineries in the area opt to store white wines in steel barrels. Michael Albers said the oak barrels give his wine more juice and complexity and a better mouthfeel.

For the red wines, the process is different. First, winery workers have to destem and put the grapes into vats, where they punch them. The more time used to punch the skins into juice, the more taste and deep color the wine will get. The juice will then be put into oak barrels to let the leaves settle until they are filtered out. Finally, the wine is put back into the barrel until it’s time to bottle.

“If you have a passion for winemaking, I think it comes through in the wine,” Michael Albers said.

Mountain & Vine’s goal is to make wine fun, he said. It wants to make it enjoyable for the experienced wine drinker but also the novice.

“Wine can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Go try it, go to tastings and see what you like,” he said.

“We have 20 different labels, there is something for everyone,” Sites said.

Michael Albers said his white wine is more popular in the spring and summer because they’re lighter and chilled, while red wines sell better in the fall and winter because they are heavier.

Mountain & Vine does traditional wine tastings, for those looking for a bit of conversation and education, as well as flights, for those who’d rather enjoy their libations on their own.

The winery encourages guests to spend the afternoon, bring a picnic and the family. The winery is also dog friendly.

There are also on-site accommodations: an 18th-century cabin and a farmhouse that has four bedrooms and bathrooms.

This coming year may be its banner year, but last year wasn’t too bad for Mountain & Vine, which won the 2023 Governor’s Cup, the commonwealth’s top prize for winemakers.

The winery won that prize for its 2021 Screaming Hawk Meritage.

This year’s gold medals have already been announced. Mountain & Vine won two for its 2021 petit verdot reserve and its 2022 chardonnay.

The 2024 Governor’s Cup will be announced at a Richmond gala on March 7.

“We’re taking three blends to the first lady next month where she will pick one. That wine gets a label under the governor’s mansion, and the proceeds of that wine will go to her charities,” Michael Albers said.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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