By. Neil Williamson Editor Virginia Wine Journal
Located less than an hour away from DC, Veramar Vineyards one hundred acre estate sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Berryville. The foothills provide an excellent backdrop to frame Veramar’s fountain courtyard truly an outdoor room.
Just driving in the tight winding gravel driveway, guests admire the large stand of hard woods surrounding them. As they pass through the classically styled winery wood gate guests feel transported to a place apart, Veramar.
First planted in 1999, the soils of the vineyard include loamy clay overlying limestone shale. The East facing hillside vineyards provide great drainage (both water and air) as well as offering the vines the morning sun to dry the evening dew but protecting them from the potentially harmful scorching afternoon sunshine.
Due to its location in the thermal belt, Veramar tends to have less rain and a longer than average growing season than the majority of Virginia. The benefit of the longer “hang time” is more mature fruit whose acid chemistry is kept in balance.
Veramar strives to be one of the leaders in sustainable grape growing in the state. Some of the winery’s current sustainability practices include reducing soil erosion through the planting of beneficial cover crops, safe, controlled spraying using soft pesticides (such as biodegradable oils, soaps, and plant extracts) and conducting and participating in ongoing research on environmentally-friendly methods of pest control.
University of California-Davis trained viticulturalist, Justin Bogaty raves about Veramar’s Shenandoah Valley vineyard location as “ one of the best growing region on the East Coast,” he finds the combination of his vineyards orientation, geologic conditions and climate provides great benefit in retaining the volatile aromatic compounds in Veramar’s fruit.
“Grapes and wine need to be treated with respect,” Bogaty said. “A winemaker can’t create quality – it’s our job to preserve and enhance what comes out of the vineyard. With appropriate viticultural practices, desired flavor profiles, balance and texture can be developed in the vineyard long before the grapes are brought to the winery”.
While Veramar has a wide range of wines to appeal to many different palates, there is an understated elegance in each of their vintages.
Beyond simple quality control, the more subtle nuances of the Veramar fruit seem to be enhanced by the hands on winemaking style, much like a trainer works to bring out his charges best performances.