Sunday, June 8, 2008

Notaviva Vineyards

From Hiddencroft Vineyards, we headed to our initial destination, the newly opened Notaviva Vineyards. We have been following the winery's progress, along with hundreds of others, from the winery's blog. Owners Stephen and Shannon Mackey documented each phase of development, from planting the vineyard, to building the winery and tasting room, to bottling the wines. This clever strategy created a brand following or loyalty, without a product. This loyalty increased, upon meeting the owners and hearing their interesting story.

While still dating and spending a day at Breaux Vineyards, they rhetorically asked, what type of people own wineries and why couldn't they. After a short period of quiet reflection, each asked the other, were you serious? Yes. And a week later they purchased the property in which their vineyards currently reside. They were in the vineyard\winery business with no farming or wine making knowledge. Oh yea, and they lived in Connecticut. Each weekend they drove 6 1/2 hours to tend the vineyard. If that was hard enough, then they got married. In the meantime, they made the move back to Virginia and used bonuses and savings to purchase farm and wine making equipment. Thankfully, Doug Fabbioli once again stepped in to mentor the couple, giving much needed advice and encouragement. Over 5 years of struggle, the winery was completed this spring and the Mackey's were in business; their "Dream, Build, Believe" philosophy had prevailed. We strongly encourage readers to visit the Notaviva Blog; it is a fascinating read.

In order to retain brand loyalty a company must offer a quality product and Notaviva is attempting this in both the wine and music spheres. Regarding the wine, this weekend they had just finished bottling their initial selection, and had two available, the Music Series Vivace Viognier and "Dream" Series Believe Tinta Cão. The Viognier is really good; it has possibly the strongest aroma of any wine we've tried. The wine has a strong grapefruit-citrus flavor and a refreshing acidic finish. Well done. The Believe Tinta Cão is a port wine without the fortification - the wine possesses the "robustness" of the grape and for those that like a good port - you won't be disappointed. In the coming weeks the remainder of their wine selection will become available which include the "Cantabile" Cabernet Franc, "Dream" Chardonnay, and "Build" Chambourcin. In the meanwhile Notaviva rounds out their portfolio with selections from Fabbioli Cellars Tre Sorélle and Raspberry Merlot, North Gate Vineyards Chardonnay, and Sunset Hills Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.

Notaviva refers to the Italian words nota - music note and viva - with life. The Mackeys hope to build an environment in which people will be exposed to a wide array of musical styles, be it celtic, world, bluegrass, folk.... Philosophically they believe that people with diverse cultural and political views can all appreciate the same music. Thus Notaviva Vineyards will host several diffuse acts this summer from Chelsea Lee and Todd Wright to Richard Barry, the Brogue Rogues, and Furnace Mountain. And in the future, expect performances for children in the morning, with a more adult flavor in the afternoon. We wish our summer plans could incorporate all these acts, but we will make a strong effort to attend a few.

Their trademark is appropriate. Notaviva Vineyards: Wine - Music - America.

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