Botetourt County’s three Wineries, Blue Ridge Vinyard, Fincastle Winery and Virginia Mountain Winery, are busy picking and processing grapes for the 2012 batch of wine. Here is a press release from Clarence Renshaw of Fincastle, a local writer and part of Mariner Media:
On the way to Chardonnay!
Fincastle – Dodging almost-daily rain showers, pickers have taken to Botetourt County’s three commercial vineyards, shears in hand, to begin harvesting a bountiful grape crop. The three estate wineries–Virginia Mountain, Blue Ridge, and Fincastle–are all family-operated, and produce a variety of wines from several different grape types.
The county’s wineries’ total harvest this year is estimated to be more than 100 tons, yielding some 15,000 gallons of wine, or, just over six thousand 12-bottle cases. While an impressive amount, it pales in comparison to Gallo, America’s largest family-owned producer that independently sells some 75 million cases annually.
Because of their smaller size, Botetourt County wineries are able to be more hands-on operations. Each grower carefully tends his respective vineyard and monitors grape “health” in the growing season. They literally hand select which clusters are picked and which individual “berries” (grapes) are processed. Lastly, they closely control final fermentation and bottling to ensure consumers get the best wine the makers can provide.
Botetourt’s wineries have become one of the county’s major tourist attractions, drawing some 6,000 visitors annually to their respective tasting rooms as well as to their frequent family-oriented outdoor concerts along the Wine Trail of Botetourt County.
Although relatively new to the winemaking industry, Botetourt County’s products have gained an appreciative following over the past two decades of their existence. Some fans have even taken local bottles abroad to impress European palates with just how good Virginia wines can be. Local fans, though, may have to wait a year or more before seeing 2012’s harvest in bottles on store shelves.
–Clarence Renshaw, Mariner Media