Trump Winery

In some management classes, learners are trained to boil down their operations to one word.  In the case of Trump Winery the word would be “sparkling”.

Not only does sparkling describe the revitalized tasting room and the redecorated event hall, it also describes over 60% of the winery’s production.

Sparkling Winemaker Jonathan Wheeler has been with the organization since long before the Trump acquisition and has a reputation for excellence.

Situated just a few miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Ashlawn-Highland, Trump Winery in Charlottesville features almost 1,300 acres of breathtaking scenery. Trump is focused on making new world wines inspired by the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Champagne.

With an elevation range between 600 and 1,000 feet, high density plantings, and an emphasis on sustainable practices, Trump has three wine growing programs: sparkling, white and red.

The sparkling vineyards, planted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, were chosen because of their unique microclimates. Since these vineyards have the coolest terroirs, they delay the maturity of the grapes and help preserve the natural acidity and minerality needed to make them into truly great sparkling wine.

No wine tour of Charlottesville is complete without a visit to Trump Vineyards.

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November Sweet Wine Shenandoah Vineyards Lot 11 Shenandoah Valley Sweet Serenade N.V.

In building this sweet white wine Shenandoah Vineyards smartly kept the sweetness balanced with acidity.  In the glass, this wine presents a goldenrod yellow hue.  The floral nose includes elements of citrus.  The balanced attack leads to a viscose midpalate exuding light citrus.  The finish lingers nicely with undercurrents of lemon and pastry crust.

This wine pairs well with hard cheeses and grilled chicken.  Designed to be consumed now, the lovely fruit forward nature of this wine will fade with additional aging.



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Editor’s Note

I have to start this month’s message with a declaration, “You are right”.

A number of members contacted me this past month indicating your desire to see something, “anything” one wrote, other than Chardonnay. “Please find a Pinot Gris” another wrote.

Agreed.  In the last three months we have shipped three Chardonnays in a row, which is a record for the VWC.  As Chardonnay is the most prolific grape in the world, it is of little surprise that Virginia wineries make a wide array of styles of this wine.  Do not fear; we are not becoming the Chardonnay of the Moth Club.  Both Wine Club President  Stewart Reynolds and I are committed to provide members with a wide variety of varietals grown in the Commonwealth – Thank you for letting us know – trust me your message was received loud and clear.

On a brighter note, we are headed into the holidays and time with family and friends.  Xen and the entire VA Wine Club staff are eager to put together a package of our hand selected Virginia wines for you and yours to enjoy.

Whether you are headed over the river and through the woods or keeping the home fires burning this holiday – bring Virginia wine with you – OR ship it ahead to be ready for your arrival!

This is also the season of giving.  Virginia wine makes a fantastic client gift.  A three month membership to the Virginia Wine Club will remind clients throughout the first quarter of your generosity.

If you are looking for a custom case or trio pack – we are here for you.  This year we are able to ship to even more states! Looking for an exclusive gift ask about our Cellar Reserve memberships.

Call us to help solve your business gift challenges!

Thank you for your membership, thank you for letting me know about your concerns, as always, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your Virginia Wine Journey.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, VWJ Editor

Chairman VA Wine Club Tasting Panel

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Vincabulary – Soil Moisture

The best vineyard soils are those that permit deep and spreading root growth and provide a moderate supply of water, released incrementally over time (Seguin, 1986). Soils to be avoided include those that are compacted and severely restrict rooting, soils that are chronically or seasonally water-logged, and soils that are extremely droughty (in the absence of irrigation).

Excess moisture leads to surplus vegetative growth, increased fruit acidity, and diluted fruit and wine flavors. At the other extreme, drought stress can lead to insufficient vine growth and reduced yields, impaired fruit ripening, and sunburning of fruit.

Source: Virginia Tech Extension

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Shenandoah Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc

Once exclusively a blending grape, Cabernet Franc has come of age as an independent varietal.  One of two red grapes seeking to be Virginia’s red wine (Norton being the other), Cabernet Franc grows exceedingly well in the Old Dominion and has a malleable flavor profile dependent on geologic and climatic vineyard conditions.

A 2013 Governor’s Cup Gold Medalist Shenandoah Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc also has earned high praise from The Beverage Tasting Institute (84 points) and Wine Enthusiast (86 points).

In the glass this wine presents with a deep rich brick red hue.  Aromas of Plum, licorice and baker’s chocolate fill the nose.  The slightly flinty attack has undercurrents of black cherry.  The silky smooth midpalate expands nicely to include elements of fig, and chocolate covered strawberry.  The firm finish, likely from the use of American oak, lingers with framework of cherry, white peppercorn and plum.

This elegantly styled wine would pair well with most savory dishes.  My primary menu selections include Chicken Marsala, Vegetable Lasagna or even a more casual Hawaiian Pizza.

An unfiltered wine I find drinking very nicely now, I fully anticipate with proper cellaring this wine will continue to evolve, especially in the midpalate, over the next 36 months.


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Shenandoah Vineyards

The agricultural prowess of the Shenandoah Valley was a primary driver to the 1730’s settlement of German and Scotch-Irish immigrants.

In 1976, Jim and Emma Randel looked at the fertile soils on their property and began Shenandoah Vineyards.

Based on industry best practices in the mid 1970s (the “golden dawn of the modern Virginia wine industry”), Shenandoah’s first plantings were 5,000 vines of various French Hybrid varieties.   In the years that followed as Statewide experimentation with other varietals became successful, plantings of classic Vitis Vinifera grapes followed.

According to the Virginia Tech Extension office (see Vincabulary), “Soil affects grapevine productivity and wine quality; but soil, like climate, comprises many components”. Soil can be described in terms of its depth, parent rock origin, organic matter content, texture, chemical properties, hydrology, and in terms of its microbial and other invertebrate fauna density and diversity.”

The wine made from grapes grown in the valley has a pronounced fruit character.  The fruit quality is emphasized by the climate and soil. Limestone and sandstone have eroded from mountain onto vineyard, forming a hilly terrain with good air and water drainage.  The winery says, “Roots grow deep and fruit grows sweet”.

The fertile soils produced the Shenandoah Valley nickname the “breadbasket of the confederacy” during the US Civil War. Most structures in the valley were burned during General Sheridan’s Campaign to destroy confederate supply lines, there is some controversy surrounding if Shenandoah Vineyards’ Barn (now the Barrel and Tasting Room) survived the war or was rebuilt soon after.

The macroclimate of the vineyard is of equal if not greater importance than the soil conditions.  The climate conditions of the Shenandoah Valley, with an average of only 32 inches of annual rainfall, help to focus the fruit’s flavors and aromas.

Viticulture is dramatically impacted by climate.  The Shenandoah Valley has an average high temperature in July under 90° and overnight lows near 60°.  Such warm days and cool nights during the growing season promote ripening while maintaining fruit flavor, complexity and bouquet. Valley breezes help dry and encourage healthy foliage.

Today, with 15 acres under vine, Shenandoah grows eleven different varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chambourcin, Riesling, Vidal, Villard Blanc, and Seyval.

Winery events are an important part of the Shenandoah Vineyards story.  On December 7th & 8th they will host their annual holiday Open House.  Fun food purveyors and gifts of all sorts will be a part of the celebration.

Wine is always about a place, and a specific time in that place.  In the case of Shenandoah Vineyards, a rich history of winemaking experience and positive climactic conditions blend nicely with the rich soils of agricultural abundance.

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Elk Island 2012 Sweet Naked Norton

Elk Island Winery is named for the 1,300 acre island in the James River, originally part of Thomas Jefferson’s Elk Hill farm, adjacent to the vineyard.  Paul and Sue Anne Klinefelter believe strongly in rural life, agriculture and wine.  Their combined passions led them to plant a 4 acre vineyard on their Lower Byrd Farm.  Located at the confluence of Byrd Creek and the James River, the farm main production is row crop grains.

Estate grown, the 2012 Sweet Naked Norton was made in Rose style, but with a Norton that still provides lots of color in the glass.  The deep dark aromas of strawberries permeate the nose.  The well balanced attack leads to a jammy midpalate that features strawberry jam, raspberry and baked cherries.  The finish lingers nicely on the rear of the palate with a hint of toast.



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