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Monday, April 9, 2012

Winemaker Series: Old Westminster Winery

For this episode we ventured north into Maryland to learn about a new winery - Old Westminster Winery - and to determine if they shared any similarities with start-ups in the Virginia Wine industry. We tasted wine from the barrel and one that was impressive was made from grapes sourced from Chatham Vineyards, located in the eastern shore of Virginia. Old Westminster is owned and operated by the Baker Family, with siblings Drew, Lisa, and Ashli managing the vineyard, wine making, and marketing respectively. And evidently the housing crash of 2008 lead to the creation of the winery. Wanting to sell the winery, and seeing reduced property values, the family investigated alternative uses for the land and decided, why not a vineyard and winery. They then planted seven acres of grapes, some unique to Maryland: Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Albariño, and Sauvignon Blanc. The first harvest from these vines occurred during the Autumn of 2011, so they will need to wait two more years until they can utilize estate fruit. Currently the winery is not open to the public (expect a Spring 2013 opening) but are allowing 100 Century Club members to receive lifetime access to the facility in order to taste the wines as they progress from barrel to bottle. As usual, the intro music is "How High the Mountain" by Andrew McKnight and all VirginiaWineTV videos are available via iTunes.

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