In Virginia Wine Circles, Chris Pearmund’s influence is both expansive and wine ranging. Beyond his own wineries, Pearmund also serves as a consulting winemaker for a number of well-regarded wineries.
Pearmund Cellars , however, is really his touchstone. It is here where Pearmund first made his mark and here is where his name (and hand) is on every bottle.
Located on Georgetown Road in Broad Run Virginia, Pearmund Cellars vineyards date back to 1976, once they teamed with nine different varietals. Years of experience determined the estate soils were best suited for Chardonnay and Chardonnay alone.
Today over 11,000 Chardonnay vines thrive on fifteen acres. Far from a monolithic vineyard, there are several different cultivars and clones in the vineyards each selected for its respective vigor and flavor profile when combined with the specific microclimate.
Through long term lease agreements, the winery works with several other local growers to supply their other fruit needs. They tend to work with vineyards that specialize in one particular grape. This allows the other growers the opportunity to focus on that one varietal that performs best on their land. In addition, this lease strategy allows the winery to reduce risk of frost and animal damage by spreading the risk out geographically.
Another Pearmund innovation is the barrel ownership program which includes an etched plaque with the owners name as well as the details on the vintage aging in the barrel.
Owners have the ability to taste from “their” barrel during all four years the wine is aging. One the wine is complete, owners bring the barrels home for decorative use – or home winemaking.
The tasting experience at Pearmund Cellars is one that puts the customer experience first. From the first warm hello, the friendly tasting staff puts visitors put at ease. Without any pretension, the staff walks each guest through the tasting.
While the tasting room is modest in size, the real story is outside with the picnic tables. The tasting room staff has a firm understanding of wine and they do not come off as stuffy wine experts but more like neighbors who want you to try this great bottle of wine.
Pearmund Cellars Barrel Room is equally inviting with Italian tile and Spanish antique-gold light fixtures that add to the ambiance of stacked barrels filled with future vintages. The winery likes to suggest this is a great place to “pop the question”. This writer believes such proposals if accepted, would garner some luck as the newly minted relationship might, as with wine, “only improve with age”.
With over 24 years of experience, Chris Pearmund has been recognized for his dedication to the industry and his outstanding wines. His wines have won countless awards. Just last fall at Monticello, I was pleased to be on hand as Paradise Springs (a Pearmund client) won the Governor’s Cup for white wine.
In the end it all comes down to winemaking philosophy and as Pearmund Cellars likes to say – “It’s all about the wine”.