8/18/2007

Swedenburg Vineyards: 20 Years & Still Counting

Hello Friends,

Vine Spot’s next winery adventure keeps us grounded in the charm-filled and historic village of Middleburg, VA, to pay a visit to one of Virginia’s pioneering family-owned and operated farm wineries. The winery, Swedenburg Estate Vineyards, is located amid picturesque settings and in very close proximity (10 minutes) to the Loudoun County winery featured in the previous post, Chrysalis Vineyards. In fact, they are the only 2 wineries with a Middleburg address, so be sure to put them both on your touring schedule when visiting Horse and Hunt Country.

A lovely day at Swedenburg Vineyards


Much like Chrysalis Vineyards, Swedenburg produces a full spectrum of pleasing wines, from easy drinking and unpretentious, to complex wines worthy of cellar aging or special dinner guests (like Dezel). However, unlike Chrysalis who produces wines from some lesser known and native grape varieties, Swedenburg produces wines from chiefly popular European (vitis vinifera) wine grape varieties. Although the noble grape varieties, namely red wine grapes, can be a daunting tasks for local (east coast) growers (especially those adventurous enough to dedicate a plot of land to Pinot Noir), Swedenburg has produced classic European styled wines since 1987 to the liking of those near and far away.

Swedenburg Vineyards

With Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon being two of Swedenburg’s more popular wines, the emphasis on the popular French varietals is likely a direct influence of owners, Juanita and Wayne Swedenburg’s early years spent visiting French colonies during their tenure in the U.S. Foreign Service. I was informed that during those early years the budding couple sampled some of the best French wines offered, and was later destined to produce similar wines in the Old Dominion. As son, and original partner in the family owned & operated business, Marc Swedenburg would tell me, “My mother was determined to make this wine”. The wine Marc refers to is Pinot Noir – a grape variety legendary for its utter difficulty, even in ideal conditions. Swedenburg Vineyards just took home a gold medal at the VA State Fair for their Pinot Noir 2005 vintage. I suggest you try some!

Just recently, the Swedenburg family and Virginia wine community was saddened when it was learned that founder, and pioneering owner Juanita Swedenburg died in her sleep on June 9th. Of her many achievements in support of Virginia wine, Juanita Swedenburg is internationally recognized for winning a hard-fought direct shipping case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005. At 82, she was the winemaker, worked the family farm, and could be found in the tasting room on weekends entertaining and educating guests on Swedenburg’s brand of Virginia wine. A memorial viticulture and enological educational fund has been established in Juanita's name to help promote the growth of the Virginia wine industry. Contributions can be made to the Juanita Swedenburg Memorial Educational Fund c/o VWGA, PO Box 10045, Alexandria, Virginia 22310.

Pouring Swedenburg’s fine wines in the tasting room

Marc Swedenburg and family carry on the tradition of producing fine wines for friends and guests alike who have come to know the winery over the past twenty years. Nowadays, in the tasting room, Marc’s wife Betty or one of their daughters can be found ready to pour and tell you all about Swedenburg’s offerings. Tasting fees are reasonably priced at $3 per person, and there is usually 5 to 6 wines to sample. For summer, the off-dry Alsatian-style Riesling is an ideal candidate for Asian cuisine and a variety of cheeses, and also sips nicely on its own. Summertime is indeed the season for Rosé wines, and the semi-dry C’est La Vie with its good natural acidity and bright berry flavors is the perfect picnic wine. Not a big fan of the super-oaked Chardonnays? Try the barrel fermented Chardonnay; a wine of finesse, good balance, and nicely integrated flavors that would be a good mate for seafood and light hors d’ oeuvres. Moving to the reds, the award winning Pinot Noir is a lighter bodied wine with dark cherry flavors, touches of spice and a good peppery kick. Pinot Noir usually is very diverse when it comes to food pairing; so when you taste it, think of a dish that will compliment its spicy character. Also to note here is a medium bodied and easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon, which offers dark fruit flavors, vanilla notes and spice. Yummy!

Enjoy the new picnic area and a glass of wine

With your favorite wine in hand, cop a seat in the tasting room where large windows provide views of the historic Valley View Farm and vineyard. If it is nice outdoors, you will want to take full advantage of Swedenburg's new picnic area and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Are you a fan of Murder Mystery books? Be sure to ask in the tasting room about the ‘Merlot Murders’, and the ‘Chardonnay Charade’ – two books written by local author Ellen Crosby, who consulted with Juanita Swedenburg when writing these series. The fine folks at Swedenburg look forward to seeing you in their tasting room friends. Be sure to mention you saw them here on Dezel’s Virginia Vine Spot when you visit!


Swedenburg Estate Vineyards - 23595 Winery Lane, Middleburg, VA 20117

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Dezel



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