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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capital Vineyards - The Youth Movement Continues

While in Delaplane filming some live music for Virginia Wine TV, we stopped into the grand opening of yet another new northern Virginia winery, Capitol Vineyards. This winery is significant for two reasons. First, it is owned and operated by a pair contributing to the Youth Movement in Virginia Wines. Lauren Shrem and Matthew Noland are both in their twenties and juggle professional jobs in D.C. while starting a winery in the country. Second, the winery, like many others are contributing to retain the commonwealth's heritage. The winery itself is off the beaten path - at the base of Red Oak Mountain along a gravel road off Route 55, but like many other less traveled roads, this one leads to history. Their tasting room is housed in a structure built in the 1800's that was once the home of the first black-owned Postmaster General in Virginia. Later the building was converted into a general store, but became vacant in 1950. Shrem and Noland must have needed many a weekend to renovate it into their new tasting facility and they did an outstanding job - particularly by retaining the wood counter tops and flooring. It feels like walking into history when entering.

While their vines are being planted and maturing, Capital Vineyards crafts their wines with Michael Shaps at his facility south of Charlottesville. The grapes are from the Monticello AVA and are your traditional Bordeaux varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. While bottling single varietals of each of these, they also blend a Meritage. And for white wine they produce a Traminette - a hybrid that doesn't get enough love. In fact, this was probably my favorite, as it exhibited the aroma and flavor of a dry Gewürztraminer (one of its parents).

Eventually Shrem and Noland plan on opening a Bed and Breakfast on the property making this a unique weekend destination. For now though, put Capital Vineyards on your list of northern Virginia wine destinations.