Erin Scala



How does 2016 measure up to previous vintages? “In short,” Michael Shaps Wineworks production manager and enologist Joy Ting says, “2016 was pretty typical for Virginia, with all the challenges and surprises that entails.” Photo by Tom McGovern

Chardonnay and petit verdot lead the 2016 vintage report

This is a good time to catch up with winemakers about the 2016 vintage, a year marked by frost events early in the season, and rain near the red grape harvest. By now, ferments have finished and some wines are in barrel or bottle. Wineries have a good idea about how their 2016s are tasting. […]

With years of wine experience, Melissa Boardman brings exciting choices to the lists at Keswick Hall. Photo by Amy Jackson

Melissa Boardman gets ahead of the latest wine trend

Local sommelier Melissa Boardman is about to celebrate one year at Keswick Hall, and she’s used that time to build up a dynamic wine program. She organizes several wine lists: a grand list for the hall, a members-only list, a by-the-glass list for the villa and another by-the-glass list for Fossett’s restaurant. She has continued […]

Last month’s Amherst wildfires came within 30 feet of consuming Ankida Ridge Vineyards. “The miracle is that not one home was lost, no injuries,” says Christine Vrooman. Photos courtesy Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Ankida Ridge survives a threat to vine and home

In the darkness of night on Saturday, November 19, Christine Vrooman of Ankida Ridge Vineyards looked out her bedroom window and noticed a fire on the southwest face of Mount Pleasant. From the comfort of her bed, the unnerving scene did not seem to be an immediate threat to her home, her winery or her […]

Virginia Tech professor Tony Wolf’s experiments and monitoring of Virginia terroir have an ongoing influence on our region’s winemakers. Courtesy of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s impact on what, where and when to grow

You’ll often find a university at the epicenter of many of the world’s great wine regions. Learning institutions help drive and fund research and increase wine quality. Since 1905, the University of California, Davis has conducted vine and wine research just outside of Sacramento. Its findings have had an immeasurable impact on winemaking in Napa […]

Horton Vineyards has brought a wealth of unique grape varieties to our area. Winemaker Michael Heny points to norton, pinotage, petit manseng, viognier, touriga nacional and tannat as some of his favorite grapes to grow.  Photo by Rammelkamp Foto

Horton Vineyards adds variety to Virginia wine scene

At Horton Vineyards, you’ll find some of the most important vines in Virginia. On my first visit to see them —back in January 2015—a wind ripped through the dormant vines and stung my cheeks. I wrapped my scarf tighter and scribbled notes with numb fingers, trying not to miss a single detail. I was on […]

Robert Harllee of Market Street Wineshops has watched an increase in Virginia wine sales at his various locations. Photo by Martyn Kyle

New momentum has Virginia winemakers racing to meet demand

As Virginia’s tobacco industry wanes, the food and wine sector builds momentum. With more than 80 cheesemakers in the state, an intense focus on sustainability at farms such as Polyface, Free Union Grass, Radical Roots and Wolf Creek, and a large, passionate beverage industry, the state is poised to contribute a unique chapter to America’s […]

Luca Paschina sets his sights on a bianco version of Barboursville's highly regarded Octagon label. Photo: Amy Jackson

Ribolla gialla and the prospects of an Octagon bianco

I heard about a patch of ribolla gialla vines in Barboursville, and I had to go and see them to find out what was happening with these special grapes. Luca Paschina, the winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards, first tasted wine made from ribolla gialla about 30 years ago. “It was the mid-1980s in Italy, and I was […]

Emily Pelton is one of the founding members of the Virginia Winemaker’s Research Exchange, a group making an impact on the future of wine. Photo: Eric Kelley

Local winemakers forge a groundbreaking research exchange

The idea for a research exchange sparked when a few local winemakers gathered to share their bottles and ideas. For the first couple of years, the group included Kirsty Harmon (Blenheim), Emily Pelton (Veritas), Matthieu Finot (King Family), Ben Jordan (Early Mountain), Scott Dwyer (Pollak), Jake Busching (Michael Shaps), Michael Heny (Horton) and Stephen Barnard […]