by Russ Barnes
WASHINGTON DC. November 2, 2009. Here in Washington, people make policy. It’s important stuff done here. Capital of the free world.
Out in places like Loudoun Country, Virginia -- a hop, skip and a jump from downtown Washington --people make things. At one spot, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, they make good stuff. Bree Ann Moore, and her husband, Cameron, make things. Wine. A line-up of very locally indigenous wines.
Tasting Room, Loudoun Valley Vineyards
Photo Credit: Michele Surwit
Their grapes are grown, harvested, fermented, and oak-barrel aged within a unique micro-climate. The vineyards are located near Waterford in the rolling foothills of the Shenandoah mountains. The weather and the alkaline soil resemble regions in Southern France and California’s Sonoma Valley.
Bree Moore, 30, the youngest vintner in Virginia, with whom I talked last week at her Vineyard’s “tasting room” is an heir to the art and science of winemaking. Her father operated a vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Bree is obviously keen on the challenge of creating fresh wine labels emerging from the local conditions of the Virginia countryside.
Travelers take note. A journey to a place like Loudoun Valley Vineyards, and other specialty wine makers in the Virginia countryside, offers a refreshing contrast for long-time Washington residents, visiting business people, and traveling vacationers alike.
It’s a short drive from downtown Washington. And there are several limousine and hotel shuttles that will take you out of the Washington intrigue toward a refreshing aside.
Things -- wine and the hospitality that go with it -- are made at this small family farm in Loudoun County, Virginia.
The cares of Washington -- the policy, the publicity, the lobbying, the calculating, the idealism, the long busy work hours -- all these melt away as you meet your equal enthusiasts at the tasting room and maybe a large friendly Virginia dog on its veranda.
At my tasting, along with my photographer friend Michele, I met several fellow appreciators. Folk from Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and England. And a pair of motorcyclists cruising the Virginia countryside who had more knowledge about wine than I do.
One informed me, “Virginia wine has a different taste. There are many good wines in the world. But here they are in a class by themselves. I
like this Classic White. It is sweet, but smooth. Only place you can find it on this earth.”
The view outside the tasting room is made aesthetic by the facility’s generous glass windows and doors, its tile patterned floor and its abundant outside verandas.
What your eyes see from the tasting tables are six acres of chardonnay and five acres of chambourcin grapevines in orderly vineyards that gently roll out in different directions against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge and Catoctin Mountain ranges.
It makes for a relaxing view of one of the unique Loudoun County micro-climate’s landscape and bounty. There is live music many days and evenings in the tasting room.
“Ninety-nine percent of our wine is sold right here,” says Bree. “The other one percent we sell only to boutique delicatessens and wine shops. We don’t sell to big chains. We give exclusive rights to independent boutiques.”
“This is small farming,” Bree continues. “It doesn’t emit the global warming methane gasses in the huge quantities of industrial farms. We do fertilize with some nitrogen. But we also have a trade arrangement with many equestrian VIrginia farms.”
“Horses love to eat the grape must [part of the grape skin] which we dispose of anyway. So we ship the must to the horse farms. In return, they truck us back the horse manure that is THE best fertilizer for grapevines.”
There is something fundamentally human and god-like about wine and wine-making. And you feel it in the atmosphere of Loudoun Valley Vineyards. Theater, the ancient ancestor of our modern movies, began at the Temple of Dionysus,dedicated to the god of wine, in Greece. And Virginia celebrates this heritage in its many theaters and provides many settings for modern movies.
If you go to Loudoun Valley Vineyards or other wineries around Virginia, there are many ways to get there. You will see some transportation methods and directions in the sidebar below. There are also many other attractions in the area which are referenced.
© 2009 Bethesda, Maryland. All rights reserved. Text copy is owned by Russ Barnes. All original photos are owned by Michele Surwit. Licensing of either may be arranged by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Or call 301-637-7841.
IF YOU GO:
Loudoun Valley Vineyards. www.loudounvalleyvineyards.com
Custom limousine tours. Point-to-Point: http://www.visitloudoun.org/things-to-do/details?id=77822
Specialized tours at http://www.visitloudoun.org/things-to-do/details?id=49603