Collection: The Future of Virginia Viticulture

Here in Virginia, we struggle with erratic weather patterns, substantial humidity, and heavy disease and pest pressures.  The grapes that grow wild in our hills have had hundreds of years to co-evolve with these hurdles.  European wine grapes (Vitis vinifera) are a very different story.  Having adapted to an arid, Mediterranean climate, they quickly succumb to the difficulties of our region.  

Conventional plots of Vitis vinifera are maintained by regular fungicide and pesticide applications.  Over the years, local strains of mildew have built resistance to many of these treatments, increasing demand for a greater diversity and quantity of vineyard agrochemicals.  While many of these applications have been well-designed and readily break down into benign substances, the ethos of a foodway defined by high chemical use and regionally inappropriate crops sits at odds with a sustainable future. 

A better solution is to cultivate grapes better suited to our region.  That's where hybrids come in. 

A hybrid grape is one with both European and North American grape parentage.  These crosses come about organically, gently pollinated and raised by grape breeders throughout the world.  They have the flavor profile of European stock and some of the disease resistance of wild North American varieties.  A vineyard of hybrids needs less chemical protection.  The result is manifold: lower environmental chemical residues, decreased fossil fuel consumption, and a lower price point for the bottle.  It's an environmental and economic win for all parties. 

We're in the process of planting a small research vineyard dedicated to hybrids, and we're not in this alone.  We've put together a collection of local wineries near your delivery region who are making hybrid wines.  While still a growing trend, we see these wineries at the cusp of the next shift in American wine.  Once our grapes are ready, we hope to join them.  
The Future of Virginia Viticulture

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