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Culpeper Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Agribusiness of the year 2012

Old House Vineyards received the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce's Award of Excellence for Outstanding Agribusiness of the year in 2012.

Here are some interesting facts about the vineyards at Old House.

  • Vineyards cost about $15,000/acre to plant and establish before harvesting any fruit.

  • An average of 12 pounds are harvested per vine each fall.

  • That 12 pounds will make about 1 gallon of wine or 5 bottles.

  • It costs about $3000 per acre each year to grow the vines including, labor, materials and overhead.

  • The type of grape is usually used for the name of the wine, ie. Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, etc.

  • There are a variety of trellising systems used in the vineyards of Virginia.

  • We use Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP), Smart Dyson, and Geneva Double Curtain (GDC). These are used to balance the vine and its energy and expose each part of the vine to sunlight and air.

  • The electrified fence is used to keep out deer and other large pests.

  • The electronic bird noises are used to scare away the birds during the ripening period in the vineyard. The birds will eat the grapes before they are ripe enough for wine and leave nothing to harvest.

  • Grapes like dry summers. The roots are deep and find their own water.

  • Irrigation is recommended for establishing vines in Virginia and if it is installed, it can be used in dry summers to keep the vines in balance.

  • Terroir is the French word for soil but in the wine world it refers to the vineyards expression in the wine. That which makes the wine from that vineyard unique. This is expressed over years of working with the grapes and noticing the similarities.

  • Drainage of the soils in a vineyard is a critical issue. The vine roots need oxygen and cannot survive if constantly under water.

  • Hard summer storms can damage a vineyard and its crop. The rain runoff can erode topsoil. The winds can damage leaves and fruit clusters. Hail can bruise and destroy a crop. Whole rows have been blown over from the winds and the vines acting like a sail on a ship.

  • Frost can destroy the crop for the year and can cause damage to the wood of the vine resulting in a stunting or death. Planting in a higher spot than the surrounding land can give the vine a better chance for survival.

  • Grafting is done on a vine before purchasing. The varietal or scion wood is grafted on to a vine that is good for its roots called rootstock. This is done to ensure healthy vines and vines that are compatible with our soils and pests.

  • There are many diseases that can develop in the growing season in Virginia. By managing the growth of a vine, using good timing with fungicide sprays and with good weather, we can avoid these diseases and grow healthy grapes.

  • The varieties we have at Old House Vineyards are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Chardonnay and Vidal.

 

Some facts and figures about how we make our wine at Old House Vineyards.

  • Harvest is done in early September to late October as each of the varieties of grapes ripens.

  • We pick the grapes in the cool of the morning into 25 pound lugs then bring them to the winery.

  • The crushing and destemming is the first step of the pressing process. The crushed fruit falls down into the press or fermenter, depending on the type of wine being made.

  • The white wine pressing process is very gentle as it is important to keep the skins from breaking down too much. The goal is to separate the juice from the skins without adding any more solids to the juice.

  • The juice is allowed to settle in a tank and the sediment is racked off into a vessel for fermentation.

  • "Racking" is the term for sucking the clean wine off of the sediment or lees on the bottom of the vessel. The wine is transferred into a clean vessel and the lees is left behind in the old one.

  • Lees is filtered and kept separate or thrown away. Sometimes the filtered lees can be very good and can add another component to a wine. Other times it can be hard or unpalatable and will be thrown away.

  • With red wine the grapes are crushed into a bin and fermentation begins. The skins of the red grape are very important in red wine--they have all of the color and a lot of the hearty character that defines a red wine.

  • The cap of a red fermenter is the grape skins that float to the top of the vat. These skins catch CO2 that is released from fermentation.

  • "Punching down" is done with a stick or paddle to get the cap back into the wine. This process is performed 2-3 time a day during the fermentation process.

  • To press off the grape skins after fermentation, the juice is pumped out of the bin and the skins are shoveled into the press. The pressing is similar to the whites in that pressing gently is better for the wine.

  • After a couple of days of settling, the wine is racked into oak wine barrels.

  • The barrels we use are a combination of both new and older oak. We use French, American and Hungarian oak barrels to make our wines. Each gives the wine a slightly different character.

 

Tasting Room Hours:
Open Year Round
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 11am - 5pm
Tuesdays: Closed
Fridays: 12 - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 6pm
Sundays: 12 - 6pm

Summer Hours:
Memorial Day thru Labor Day
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 11am - 5pm
Tuesdays: Closed
Fridays: 12 - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 6pm
Sundays: 12 - 6pm

 

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