Taste Live meets Thomas Jefferson's Backyard

Hello Friends,

Thomas Jefferson, justifiably America's first wine connoisseur, had a vision that Albemarle County and the surrounding Charlottesville area could one day grow and produce wine just as good as the wines he enjoyed while visiting the famed wine growing regions of Europe. In 1773, Jefferson met with Fillipo Mazzei, an Italian doctor, merchant, and horticulturalist, who was interested in producing wine and other goods. Jefferson and Mazzei established a vineyard on land adjoining Monticello, site of the current day Jefferson Vineyards one year later. While pests, vineyard disease, and other problems curtailed their efforts, Jefferson did in fact champion the idea that Monticello and nearby Charlottesville had the soil as well as climate to successfully grow classic European wine grapes.


“We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” - Thomas Jefferson

Today, Jefferson’s vision is what we proudly call the Monticello Wine Trail. Enriched with an abundance of history and natural beauty, the trail consists of over twenty unique wineries located in picturesque settings. The Monticello AVA is growing some of the top wines in the state of Virginia.

Monticello Wine Map

"Good wine is a necessity of life for me." ~ Thomas Jefferson

As part of Virginia Wine Month and with the support of the Virginia Wine Board, Taste Live meets Virginia wine for the very first time on 10/25/2010! For those who don't know, Taste Live is a popular online wine tasting community that utilizes social media (namely Twitter) platforms to bridge the gap between consumers, wine bloggers, press, etc., and wine growers, wine makers, and industry professionals for a unique and engaging tasting experience. On 10/25, a select panel of “distinguished” wine bloggers, many of whom will attend WBC11 (Wine Bloggers Conference 11) in Charlottesville, will engage in a virtual tasting and discussion with six of the Monticello Wine Trail's top producers. One of Virginia's best kept secrets is getting out through social media and I'm elated that we can share that secret by uncorking and unscrewing a fine selection of Monticello wines with genuine wine lovers that have an interest in this young and emerging wine region that’s on the cusp of something big!

See the listing of participating Monticello wineries below, friends. These are small, family-run and operated farm wineries that produce limited quantities of hand-crafted premium wines. Almost 100% of the work is done by hand from ground to glass and due to popular demand by the locals many of the best Virginia wines don’t get out of the state!

LINK: Afton Mountain Vineyard 2009 Gewürztraminer

Twitter Account: @AftonMountain

Afton Mountain Vineyards is one of Virginia's pioneer farm wineries with our oldest vines dating from the late 1970's. Our vineyards lie on the southeastern slope of the Blue Ridge in a place of unparalleled beauty and excellence of terroir.

LINK: Blenheim Vineyard 2009 Merlot

Twitter Account: @BlenheimWines

Blenheim Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery dedicated to making high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil and beauty of the landscape. Founded in 2000 on the historic Blenheim estate in Albemarle County, the goal at Blenheim Vineyards is to bottle wine from single vineyards and small parcels to capture the distinct characteristics of each site. Designed by owner and rock star Dave Matthews and master craftsman William Johnson, the winery at Blenheim Vineyards provides a unique and intimate setting for tasting wine. Its great windows allow visitors to gaze out over vineyards to Jefferson's "sea view" beyond. Paneled glass floors provide a bird's-eye view of the wine production facilities below.

LINK: Jefferson Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay

Twitter Account: @th_jefferson

Since 1981, Jefferson Vineyards has produced Virginia's finest wines, from Thomas Jefferson's original 1774 vineyard sites, one mile South of his home, Monticello. The wines we offer you are entirely of Virginia. The grapes are grown here on our property and in select sites across the Commonwealth. We do not buy fruit from outside Virginia, nor do we use any commercial concentrates or additives to intensify our wines. These choices are consistent with our values, and we believe they are true to Jefferson's original vision of winemaking in Virginia. Further, we believe these choices create a better bottle of wine.

LINK: Keswick Vineyard 2009 Viognier

Twitter Accounts: @katschornberg and @keswickvineyard 

Keswick Vineyards is a 400 acre winery built on Edgewood Estate, a property rich with history dating to 1727. The hard work, dedication and skill of the team headed by winemaker Stephen Barnard has garnered repeated awards for our wines most notably Chardonnay, Viognier and Heritage. Stephens philosophy is "Aim for quality not quantity and develop the best wines possible". To ensure this goal our wines are produced from all estate-grown fruit that has been hand picked and hand sorted. Keswick's tasting room is reminiscent of a grand horse-country barn with stunning views. We invite you to come relax in our tasting room or courtyard and enjoy a tasting by our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

LINK: Kluge Estate 2007 SP Rosé

Twitter Account: @KlugeEstate

Founded in 1999, Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Thomas Jefferson’s historic home Monticello, where Virginia winemaking began, and James Monroe’s AshLawn-Highland. In addition to being rich in history and scenery, the rolling hills of Kluge Estate boast superb terroir and four seasons. Kluge Estate’s stable of classic Virginia wines reveals the breadth and depth of the winemaking team and the terroir. Kluge Estate’s wines span four brands and show the diversity of the land, the varietals, and the talent in the field and in the cellar.

LINK: Mountfair Vineyards 2008 Wooloomooloo

TwitterAccounts: @MfVvinotweets , @benatmountfair , @mountfair

Located on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville, Mountfair Vineyards is a small artisan winery specializing in red Bordeaux-style blends. Our mission is to produce superb wines that respect the relationship between the land, the winemaker, and the consumer.

Link: The Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office

Twitter Accounts: @vawine and @Ringwoodboyd

Funded through the Virginia Wine Board, the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office handles the board's education and marketing efforts on behalf of all Virginia wineries. The office manages the development and execution of a continuous and integrated marketing program, which focuses on advertising, public relations and promotions. Collectively the efforts communicate a clear and positive message on Virginia wines, encourage visits to the state wineries and help increase sales of Virginia wine.

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned friends ...More to come!

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