Monday, February 6, 2012

Winemaker Series: Horton Vineyards & Viognier

Mike Heny, winemaker at Horton Vineyards, joins us to discuss the history of the winery, introducing new wine grapes into the Virginia, and Viognier - Virginia's signature wine. Horton was the first Virginia winery to plant Viognier and stellar wines produced in the early 1990's lead to it being included in Paul Lukacs' The Great Wines of America: The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages. Also of interest is that the one of the other two non-left coast wineries mentioned in the Lukacs book, Missouri's Stone Hill Winery, was the source for the Norton vines that Dennis Horton re-introduced back into Virginia. And Alan Kinne, who was the original winemaker at Horton is currently the winemaker at Chrysalis Vineyards, in Middleburg, Virginia - also the world's largest grower of Norton grapes. The intro music to this series is "How High the Mountain" by Andrew McKnight. And as always, VirginiaWineTV videos are available via iTunes. Cheers.


  1. Just some additional food for conversation from very Northern VA: here at Breaux Vineyards ( we usually only produce one Viognier wine per year (we used to make several, but now sales of the one wine have far out-paced our grape supply on the property). Viticulturally speaking, our Viognier, like all of our wines, is 100% estate grown. We have roughly 5 acres of Viognier producing currently, most of that is on Lyre trellis, with more vines kicking in each year - some of which is trained on VSP. The majority of our producing Viognier vines were planted in 1996. In 2010 we harvested the Viognier between Aug 28th and Sept 1st (in cooler years the 3rd week of Sept is more the norm). As for vinification - we make our Viogniers 100% varietal, the 2010 was roughly divided in half during fermentation, 45% of the lot stayed in stainless, and the remaining 55% went into second-fill French Oak barrels (coopered by T.W. Boswell), where that portion rested on less in barrel for 3 months. After that, the two separated lots of Viognier were rejoined and made into our award winning 2010 vintage that has been favored by Oz Clarke and Jancis Robinson, among others.

  2. Thanks Lawrence, I know this is a new style for Breaux, but the slight oak really adds some texture and mid-palette without overpowering the grape flavor. Very nice