Even as the Virginia wine industry grows to over 200 farm wineries, it is still an industry where people really do know and genuinely like each other. So it was not unexpected to be warmly greeted when we ran into Aubrey and Justin Rose at the Virginia Wine Expo this past February.
With almost ten years of wine growing under their belt, they are no longer rookies and their wines are advancing very well.
Located near the North Carolina border, in LaCrosse, the 450 acre Rosemont Estate has been held by the Rose family since before the Civil War (1858). Successive generations have raised cattle, vegetables, peaches, tobacco and other commodity crops.
The initial vineyard plantings were completed in 2003 and 2004 (16,000 vines each). Regular VWJ readers know that vineyards do not produce truly useable fruit until year three, known as third leaf.
With the vineyards in, the Rose family turned to designing and building a flexible, wine and guest friendly winery.
Desiring to fit in with its surroundings and heritage, the front of the winery recalls a classically styled Southern home complete with a balcony. Only upon closer inspection do you begin to see how the building was built into the earth to maximize gravity flow wine production (see vincabulary).
Winemaker Justin Rose studied at the University of Virginia before he went west to get his winemaking certificate and practical training at O’Shaughnessay Estate Winery in the revered Howell Mountain American Viticultural Area.
Rose’s background and expertise helped hone his consumer driven winemaking style. Rather than trying to make the perfect niche wine, he attempts to grow wines that can be enjoyed by all, from big complex reds to delightfully sweet light summer wines.
Winemaking is a passion for Rose. His wines were among the first approved for the new Commonwealth Quality Alliance (CQA). Unlike a competition, the CQA is designed to provide consumers the confidence of the level of quality in the vintage. Rose has helped lead the charge for this important industry advancement.
Rosemont was recently featured in The Virginia Wine Gazette story about winery weddings. Author Nancy Bauer wrote, “The imposing, plantation-style winery has enough acreage and parking to accommodate extra-large outdoor weddings, but holding the reception indoors expands the options. After a ceremony overlooking 22 acres of vines, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres can be served indoors around the tasting room’s Williamsburg fireplace.”
Aubrey Rose, who heads up sales and marketing for the winery (and keeps her husband winemaker in line), is a fantastic ambassador not only for the winery but for Virginia wine overall. Together she and Justin are making a positive impact on the industry.
No longer the rookie, Rosemont of Virginia has established the southern outpost for quality Virginia wine.