The halcyon days of summer have passed, and if you are like me, you wonder where those days went.
Always my favorite season, I love to indulge in the visual splendor of autumn. The season of contemplation, the time to take stock and prepare for the bleakness of winter, the season of poignancy that tugs at the emotional strings of our lives in a kind and benevolent way.
Autumn is the comfortable bed we climb into in preparation for winter as we are surrounded by dazzling, almost exploding yellows, ochres, and fiery russets, as the sweet aromas of forest floor and sweet tobacco heighten our senses.
The very word “harvest” evokes a sense of bounty and plentifulness, the reward of the labor that has lasted all year long, from pruning to bud break to flowering, ripening, and the delight of bringing home the very fruits of our labor. And for that very freedom to exist and cultivate what nature has given us, we celebrate Thanksgiving.
We are the lucky ones to have something to celebrate. Yet as the seasons roll on, regardless of the trials and tribulations that we as humans create for ourselves, life must go on–and so it does.
The vines have given us the fruits that sustain us, and now they go into a state of dormancy, time to rest before the cycle starts over again. Now is the time to repair the posts, tighten the canopy wires, and roll up the netting before we start pruning in early December. As the vineyard and cellar crew work on the everyday chores of grape growing and winemaking, our daughter and chief winemaker, Emily, is working at the forefront of grape research.
She is the South Eastern representative and secretary of the National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA.) The goal of NGRA is to be the voice of the grape and wine industry. Its priority is to align National research initiatives at the highest level to strengthen the competitiveness of America’s grape industry. She is also part of a new project funded by the Virginia Wine Board and partnered with the Winemaker’s Research Exchange and the USDA to develop vines that are genetically disease-resistant to the most prevalent fungal diseases that affect Virginia vines, namely Downy.
The Grape Report of 2022 came out in October of this year. In this day and age, driven by evidence-based data, you would think that we would have a good handle on grape wine production in Virginia–this is not the case. For starters, the Wine Board appointed by the Governor has to hire a company that works with the Virginia Vineyards Association in conjunction with the Virginia Wine Marketing Office. The crux of the problem is that those entities have to rely on the voluntary cooperation of the wine-grape growers. With that in mind, we have to take the report with a large grain of salt; it is best considered our best approximation.
An interesting fact from the report: Virginia has over 5,000 acres of vineyards planted with eleven different grape varietals (>100 acres planted of each varietal.)
Spotted Lantern Fly: We are still on the very edge of being quarantined, but there is still no change from our summer status. We have seen the beast here in Nelson County, but it still needs to present in sufficient numbers to cause disease. It remains a clear and present danger, but the first devastating reports from Pennsylvania have yet to be realized here in Virginia.
Last week, Wine Enthusiast awarded Charlottesville “Region of the Year” as part of their Wine Star Awards 2023. The Charlottesville area was just one of five wine regions nominated worldwide for this prestigious award and was the only nominee in North America. The Wine Star Awards celebrate the innovation of people and organizations that have significantly contributed to the success of the wine and craft beverage world.
This is a big deal! On November 8, the Charlottesville Albemarle Visitor Center, The Monticello Wine Trail, The Virginia Visitors Bureau, and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office all got together at the newly opened Southwest Mountains Vineyards to celebrate with the rest of Monticello region wineries, co-hosted by our very own CEO, George Hodson.
Veritas Illuminated is back for the second year in a row! This time, bigger, better, and brighter! This year will be the best yet, so grab your loved ones and come see for yourself. Open on select dates from November 17-January 6, 5:30 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are available for purchase here. Wine and food will be available for purchase in the Tasting Room.
There is nowhere else you can better celebrate New Year’s Eve than at Veritas! Back for another year, the Veritas Masked Ball is one of a kind. Join us for a five-course wine-paired dinner, dancing, and celebration! Bring your masquerade masks, formal attire, and dancing shoes for a memorable way to welcome New Year 2024. Wine Club Members will receive a discount on the first two tickets, automatically applied at checkout. Book your tickets now before we are fully booked;
Chris Hurst and Evan Brailer: These guys are our unsung heroes from different backgrounds. Chris is from Cleveland, while Evan is from Pittsburgh. Both joined the cellar team way back in 2019, and they have been with us ever since. Every year they have appeared in the newsletter with Emily, Elliott, and Jolie as part of the cellar crew, and every year, they have delivered fantastic wine for us. Thanks to Chris and Evan, we have a strong lean team of workers in the cellar. They have an excellent working relationship and are some of the hardest-working guys we have had the privilege of working with. We owe you a massive debt of gratitude.
Andrew and Patricia visited with the Tonkin’s Crew in the Derbyshire Dales in October 2023.
For us, probably our most significant news is that George and Tralyn’s eldest daughter, Hailey, has been accepted to the United States Naval Academy. It is a huge achievement that is 100% deserved. Hailey is our star track and cross country runner, and our second Division 1 athlete—way to go, Hailey.
Lydia, pictured here with Emily (her Mom) and her sister Charlotte, has started at Boston University, where she has made the varsity boat for Head of the Charles Regatta. Way to go, Lydia!
Patricia and I traveled a lot over the last few weeks, spending time in France, England, and Ireland. We had a wonderful time, even cruising across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. Nothing was as good as coming home to our little piece of heaven here in Virginia. So our hearts are filled with thanks for what we have got. You’ve heard me say it before and probably will hear me say it again: Success is not getting what you want, it is wanting what you’ve got.
That’s all the news from the Veritas family!
Have a thankful Thanksgiving,