Ribolla Gialla

Ribolla Gialla

We're excited to let you in on a little something: We're doing something that's never been done in Maryland before! Ribolla Gialla vines come to Old Westminster! Many of you know that we love to experiment with new varieties. But the bottom line for us is that we always only want to grow natural wines that authentic with a sense of place and time, and of course, we always strive to make iconic wines that are delicious and unique. Ribolla Gialla makes really beautiful, light-bodied wines with high natural acidity and floral notes. In this short video, we'll take you on a little field trip to show you the process of planting these beauties.    

'Wine For Lunch’ LiveCast Strikes a Chord

'Wine For Lunch’ LiveCast Strikes a Chord

On Tuesday, May 2nd, Wine For Lunch hosts, Lisa Hinton, Ashli Johnson, and Drew Baker announced to more than 1,000 viewers the addition of an informative new feature: Each month, the sibling trio will feature a new theme for the live and interactive wine tasting. Themes include wine styles, varieties, and regions – both locally and around the world – each to be chosen live by the W4L audience. It’s a great opportunity to grow in your appreciation and knowledge of wine. This is mid-week wine tasting for the 21st century!

photo credit: Kelly Heck Photography

photo credit: Kelly Heck Photography

The first theme is “Wines from New York State.” And since there are five weeks in the month of May, they've selected five favorite wines: Hermann J. Wiemer’s 2014 Field Cuvée, Channing Daughters’ 2015 Ramato, Forge Cellars’ 2014 Les Alliés, Southold Farm + Cellars’ 2014 Flying and Falling, and Paumanok’s 2010 Merlot.

As you might expect from a livecast, viewers decide which wine each week. The first week, viewers voted (with a bit of nudging by Lisa) for Paumanok’s 2010 Merlot. And boy are we glad they did. This wine is lights out – offering intense aromas of crushed blackberries, plum, fig, and sweet vanilla – chewy and complex on the palate with rich, voluminous tannins. On the bottle, this wine said to drink between 5-10 years after bottling. At seven years old, this wine shows youthful exuberance. What a great wine to start this new theme off right!

Over the next four weeks, we'll explore each of the other wines in the order viewers select. Then for the month of June, viewers decide what style, variety or region to explore next.

Tune in – and weigh in – Join us for Wine For Lunch every Tuesday at 1:00 PM LIVE on Facebook & Instagram!

Bottling Day 2017!

Bottling Day 2017!

We love Springtime! All our hard work is meticulously packaged in a beautifully labeled bottle. And we can't wait for you to enjoy these beauties in our tasting room on a warm, sun-shiny day coming soon! If you've ever wondered how wine is bottled, here's a little window into the process. And even better: The beauty of the bottle is surpassed by the wine within. Come and experience it for yourself!  

Soil Exploration at Burnt Hill

When you think "farmer," does your mind associate science with it? Hopefully this video will convey that it should! Farming and science work hand-in-hand. Add to this that technology has come a long way for farmers and vintners. We hope this short video gives you a window into all that goes into that wine you're about to experience at our tasting room this summer!     

Here’s A Peek: Old Westminster Spring Updates

Here’s A Peek: Old Westminster Spring Updates

The kind of Spring you can feel is finally here! Sure, for most that means Mother’s Day, busting out the grill, and baseball. But for us, like every other season of the year, it means growing and bottling world-class wines. We’ve been working diligently all winter and now we’re ready for you to taste the results.

Here are 4 things we thought you’d like to know about this budding vintage: 

1. The Vineyard

It all starts here. We’ve just finished pruning all 10,000 vines in our Home Vineyard. Each vine was meticulously cared for to ensure healthy growth in the season ahead. Now we eagerly await bud-break. Please hope along with us that we’ll dodge frost this spring! We’re not out from beneath this annual threat until Mother's Day.

2. The Winery

We’re putting finishing touches on our first Pét-Nat to be released this spring -- affectionately named Barbera Rosé. This wine is sure to change the game! Lisa is also preparing our still wines for the first round of bottling on April 17th. This year we're doing things a bit differently. These wines are made with as light of a human hand as possible: wild yeast fermentation and bottled without fining or filtration. We think the results will knock your socks off!

3. The Burnt Hill Project

We’re in discovery mode at our newly acquired Burnt Hill Farm. On April 12th we will be EM (electromagnetic) mapping. EM maps use the conductivity of soil to create subsurface maps. It’s like an x-ray. As you can imagine, it's impossible to peel an entire hillside back to study each layer of soil. Instead, we create color coded EM maps. Once we have our maps, we dig "truth pits" (6' deep holes) with a backhoe. These pits, in conjunction with our maps, give us a complete picture of what's beneath so that we can better know the soils on our hillside. This technology informs our decisions on what varieties of grapes to plant and where. There’s no room for guessing on a project of this magnitude.

4. The Tasting Room

Back at the Old Westminster tasting room, we are ramping up for the season. New wines are on the way and so is live music. And food trucks! On Cinco de Mayo from 5-10PM, we are hosting our inaugural "Food Truck Friday" featuring wood-fired pizza from our good friends from Well Crafted Pizza, live music from the ever-talented Mark Scott, and of course plenty of delicious wine! Pack up some lawn chairs and join us in the country for a relaxing, fun-filled evening.

We can’t wait to see you at Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard this year! Each year brings a new phase in our growth. As local farmers and artisans, we absolutely love to share the fruit of the land with you. Check out the Summer lineup Here.

Rainy Day At The Winery

Just like farming is never really over, winemaking goes on behind the scenes through the cold and rainy days. Winemaking is a year-round process -- not to mention the business side of things. So on this rainy day in April, we thought you might enjoy some insights from Drew, as he walks you through a fun little agriculture lesson.   

Maryland Wine Hits National Newsstands

Maryland Wine Hits National Newsstands

The Old Line State isn’t all that old in wine years. And it certainly isn’t known in the overall grand world history of wine. Sure, there’s been something of a wine industry here in some small form for a few hundred years. But in terms of serious players, let’s face it: Maryland hasn’t popped off the map.

But that’s changing. And it’s always been our intent to be a part of the evolution. When we first sat down to write a vision statement for our little vineyard here, the suggestion “putting Maryland wine on the world map” sounded a bit over the top, even to our ears – certainly too crazy to actually write down. But here’s what we knew then and now: There’s nothing about our soil and climate that prohibits the growing of world-class wines in Maryland. So we set out to do just that.

Fast forward to now. Wine Enthusiast just published an article that offers our little state a long-awaited hat tip: “At 370 years old, the winemaking industry here [in Maryland] is ready for prime time.” Minds... blown. We couldn’t believe our eyes.

Citing Maryland’s recent “wine renaissance”, Enthusiast’s Dave McIntyre reminds us that we only had 12 wineries here at the turn of the century and that now that number “is up to 85 at the beginning of this year” and that “more than 900 acres are planted to vines.”

“Top wineries” named in this highly regarded national publication are Old Westminster, Black Ankle, Boordy and Big Cork. But there are many, many more quality producers behind this wine awakening. And they made it a point to mention the 117 acre farm we recently purchased for our next-level project that we affectionately refer to as Burnt Hill.  

Another mention of note is the role of experimentation in the emerging craft of Maryland winemaking, and of course, we’re referring to our foray into the world of Pét-Nat – a bubbly first for the emerging Maryland wine-scape.

Since the paper version of The Wine Enthusiast is their primary mode of circulation, a web version of the article won’t be available until the magazine hits the old newsstands. But we’re accustomed to waiting. We’re winemakers. We’ll send out a link as soon as it’s out!

3 Lessons from 7 Years in the Family Business

3 Lessons from 7 Years in the Family Business

Seven years we’ve been working together. Not just the passing each other in the office, touching base on the phone, or updates at a weekly meeting kind of working together. I mean sitting at the very kitchen table we grew up eating around every day brainstorming new opportunities, reflecting on past decisions, talking for hours about ideas, strategies, timing and growth. Day after day, morning to evening, week to weekend; we spend more time together than we do our own selves. Sounds tiring, doesn’t it?

One of the most frequent questions we're asked about our business is, “How do you work together as a family? I could never work with my siblings.”

Over the years, we've developed practical ways of working together. We have different personalities, sensitivities, and ways we receive challenge and encouragement. We’ve learned a lot through time and experience. No matter what the position, or who you work with, business relationships can be difficult. But when they are defined – and refined – they can be the foundation for a healthy and inspiring work environment.

Here are 3 ways we balance work and relationship:

1. Build People

We all have unique skills and strengths. We learned early on that we thrive in different situations. We have taken the time to massage our individual strengths, let go of our weaknesses, and leverage ourselves through strategic positions. We work within our strike zones because we can't all do everything.  

“You don’t build a business – you build people – and then people build the business” – Zig Ziglar

2. Stay Connected

It can be easy to slip into the habit of continuously being all about the business. We make great efforts to invest in ourselves, each other, and our families outside of work. We encourage and enable one another to take breaks, travel, and continue education. We balance our business relationships with personal relationships by talking about individual goals, faith, and future. And generally, we just make time to hang out together outside of work, even though most of the time it’s drinking wine together. :)    

3. Others First  

Respect is an essential key to our relationships. When all else fails, the golden rule stands true: treat others the way you want to be treated. We are not perfect; we argue, we disagree, and we can even lose tempers. That’s when the most important skills are essential: to apologize when wrong, sacrifice for the good of the other, and celebrate everyone’s victories – small or large.

So here we are as a family business. Not without struggle, but always rewarding. We have different talents, but one vision. We will continue to grow individually and as a team, working together to put Maryland wine on the map!  

Old Westminster Winery Update

Join Ashli and Lisa as they bust some fresh dance moves in the vineyard. Aaaannd they'll also show you some things that go on behind the scenes in the cellar -- like explaining some of alternative technical terms for basic "cleaning" because it's actually really important! We'll also take a little walk through the vineyard to share a thing or two about vine pruning.     

Road Trip to New York!

Road Trip to New York!

Ashli and I took a little road trip to a grapevine nursery in New York. If you've ever wondered where grapevines originate, this little two minute video will give you an idea! We'll be planting a new vineyard at Burnt Hill Farm in 2019 and doing all the preliminary groundwork is essential. Knowing the source of your plant material and the grafting process and understanding the quality control measures in place at the nursery is a really important step in ensuring that we're planting a healthy vineyard at Burnt Hill. Stay tuned!  

Not Your Average Tasting Room Experience

Not Your Average Tasting Room Experience

We’re out to do what was previously unthinkable: Put Maryland wine map on the world map.  

Inherent to that vision is growing and producing world-class wines that uniquely reflect our climate, soil, and terrain or what is commonly referred to as terroir. This starts with the perfect hillside, continues with thoughtful, low-input farming practices, and ends in the cellar where we are careful to implement light-handed winemaking techniques. This puts the fruit on display. It's our simple recipe for making noteworthy wines in Maryland.

But this effort continues into the tasting room. Beyond producing delicious Maryland wines, we are in the business of creating authentic, wine-centered experiences. We believe that the only way to truly appreciate great wine is through personal encounters. So we’ve created a medium for you to taste, learn and enjoy. Nestled in Carroll County's rolling countryside, our cozy tasting room is a beautiful destination to not only rest and relax but also to experience delicious, Maryland-grown wines. Wine and conversation is always the big feature here and the main focal point of our tasting room experience.  

Another reason this is important is that we see wine as food. So to make this a complete and full-bodied experience, we host events throughout the year to celebrate food artistry such as Food Truck Fridays (every Friday, May – October). There are also events that celebrate wine tradition and culture, like the annual Saint Vincent Festival. And lastly, events like "En Primeur" that offer Cru Club members exclusive access to taste and purchase special wines before they're made available to the public.

Come spend some time with us. You’ll be greeted by friendly staff, taste some great wines, and really get to know the beauty of world-class winemaking.

Cover Crops

Cover Crops

Managing the soil is essential for farmers and vignerons. A measured and thoughtful approach and employing best practices is key to great winemaking. If we're going to put Maryland wine on the world map, we'll have to start with the best soil on gently rolling hills. This is precisely what we've found at Burnt Hill Farm. It all starts here, not just with the grapes, but even before that -- with the soil they're cultivated in. We may not be able to dictate the weather during any emerging vintage, but we can manage soil. Maryland vineyards hold great promise in the winemaking space with thoughtful farming practices. Slow and steady wins the race.      

Superb Wine Requires Smart Farming

Superb Wine Requires Smart Farming

The quality of a wine is determined by the quality of the grapes from which it was made. And the quality of the grapes is predicated on the quality of the hillside where they’re grown. So our goal, then, is to grow grapes on the best possible hillside. That’s why one of the most exciting aspects of the Burnt Hill project is the opportunity to start from a clean slate on an exceptional hillside. 

So much about a hill, like soil type and topography, is not easily improved. But there are some things, like biodiversity and soil resiliency, that greatly impact outcomes and can be enriched through thoughtful farming practices, like biodynamics. Developed in 1924, biodynamics was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks.

Think of a farm as a living, breathing organism. Like a human body with a system of organs, a farm is a system of interacting beings, substances and processes. This understanding is a fundamental starting point for biodynamic practices. To help guide our biodynamic program, we've welcomed Joseph Brinkley to our team. Joseph is a viticulturist and biodynamic specialist who has managed the largest certified organic vineyards in the country. 

Our purpose, as it relates to Burnt Hill, is growing the highest quality grapes. To achieve this, we must bring balance and health to the soil, plants, and animals that inhabit the farm. So the next few years will be spent getting to know the rhythms of the land. We will till the earth, cultivate biodiverse cover crops, compost, and prepare the foundation for our vineyard. We will begin this journey by focusing on overall soil health.

Here are 4 ways we will achieve healthy soils and a balanced farm system:

1. Compost

Compost is the only way to increase humus in the soil. Without humus, soil is dead. Not all composts are equal, and like wine, to get good compost one must start with good ingredients. The goal here is high quality, soil enlivening, humus-enriching materials with the addition of biodynamic preparations. Raising animals and growing our own ingredients is key to ensure the highest quality compost. 

2. Cover Crops

There are several plant ‘types’ we will focus on: legumes, grasses, small grains, brassica, and flowers. In late-summer, we will sow our first mix of daikon radishes, clover, barley, flax and buckwheat into the hillside. The aim is to keep our plantings diverse, knowing that plants feed soil.

3. Field Sprays

Biodynamic preparations add to the life processes of the soil and overall health of the farm. Without these, we won't get the full benefit of the biodynamic method. In time, we will raise our own animals and make our own biodynamic preparations on the farm.

4. Biodiversity 

There are many ways to increase plant and animal biodiversity: wild and domesticated animals, trees, hedges, habitat, meadows, etc. Our aim is to creatively build biodiversity on our farm with multiple layers of benefit. 

Farming is inherently an exploitative process. This is why we are consciously “giving” to the land before we start “taking.” Our work through time will be based on rhythms and a conscious cultivation of the soil. Observations from time spent on the farm will inform how and where we plant and design this new vineyard and farm. 

So here we are at the very start. Now is the time to prepare the farm for success. We will plant our vineyard only when the soil is ready. This Burnt Hill hillside – with all its elements in harmony – has the capacity to yield wines unlike anywhere else on earth. In due time we'll taste and see. 

Crazy Weather

It’s not just about the weather during the Spring and Summer months that affect the vines -- winter plays a big role in any given vintage. The colder the winter, the better the vintage because cold air helps keep the vines dormant. "Yesterday it was 70 degrees and that just tricks vines into thinking it’s spring before we’re ready for them to bud out. So the colder the better.” There’s plenty to do during the winter months while the vines lay dormant. Like this footage of Lisa kegging 2016 Chardonnay for local Baltimore restaurants that feature Old Westminster in their tap program. 

An Open Letter to Annapolis

An Open Letter to Annapolis

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since our original post, The Maryland Wineries Association is now working with Delegate Miller and the MSLBA to draft new language for HB-742. Delegate Miller did not intend to hurt Maryland wineries and I trust that a positive compromise will be reached. It appears that our voices have been heard! Thank you for your activism. This seems like a great example of how the local democratic process can and should function. We remain hopeful toward our vision to put Maryland wine on the world map!

Original Post:

As many of you saw on Facebook and Instagram yesterday, I spent President's Day in Annapolis testifying against a piece of proposed legislation. This was the first time I've ever provided personal testimony and I typically wouldn’t get involved in such a thing except that our family farm – and many others like it – would be devastated if this bill passes into law as written.

I know that there are always two sides (or more) to an issue. I’m not out to impugn the sponsor of the bill as I understand that bills are often drafted with reasonable intentions. But I also know that unintended consequences can sometimes be overlooked. In this case, the results would put a significant number of Maryland farmers out of business.

The particular bill that brought me to Annapolis is House Bill 742 – brought forth by Delegate Warren Miller from Howard County on behalf of the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association (MSLBA).

Bottom line: This bill would put 25 Maryland wineries out of business on day 1.

The proposed legislation states that a farm winery license may only be issued to “a location that has as its principal purpose the production of wine.” This doesn’t seem unreasonable at face value, especially to public servants who are unaware of how Maryland farm wineries actually operate, but it would hang local farms and farmers out to dry.

Beyond Old Westminster Winery – the flagship vineyard that our family “bet the farm on” and poured our lives into – we also own Maryland Wine Cellars, a full-service winemaking facility that other area vineyards rely on to produce wines from their local farm produce. They send us their grapes for production, bottling, and labeling, and then we send it back ready to market in their tasting rooms. It’s a cost-saving resource that local vineyards have built their businesses on. This bill would undo years of work, time, and financial investment. The farm wineries that rely on our space, equipment and expertise would be forced to either come up with millions of dollars to build and equip their own winemaking facility, or go out of business. The current cooperative environment we all benefit from would cease to exist.

So I spent six hours listening to bill after bill waiting for HB-742 to be heard. When it was finally called, I had the opportunity to step up to the table and share my testimony before the Economic Matters Committee. I told the story of Old Westminster Winery and how we’re a family business run by three siblings and our parents, a local farm that relies on the land and the commodity that we produce, and how this bill would put us – and 25 others like us – right out of business.  

I truly believe this is a perfect example of a bill drafted with reasonable intentions, yet loaded with unintended consequences. In fact, after I testified, Delegate Miller (the sponsor of the bill) was surprised to learn of the widespread impact his bill would have.

The reality is that many legislators are completely unaware of what grape growers and winemakers do, making it necessary to write this piece.

You see, wine is made in the vineyard. Grapes are grown on farms. We are farmers. We work hard to make a living, create jobs, support local commerce, and enhance the quality of life for a lot of Marylanders.  

It’s honest work, old school agriculture, and an ancient business model that supports rural economies. We generate a significant amount of tax revenue from our wines and contribute to Maryland tourism. We also benefit other local shops, restaurants, and hotels. We’re proud Marylanders who have a passion for putting Maryland wine on the world map and being a blessing to a lot of locals in the process.

While I understand the intent of house bill 742 – to clearly define a “farm winery” – I believe it’s imperative that we do this in a way that preserves farms, creates jobs, and supports local agro-tourism. The raw truth is that this bill will put many good old-fashioned farmers straight out of business and undo everything we’ve worked so diligently to achieve over the past 10 years.

One of the lessons I learned during the testimony process is that citizens can, in fact, persuade the legislature by thoughtfully and respectfully presenting concerns. Consider letting delegate Miller know that you support Maryland wineries. Let him know that you care about local farmers, jobs, and the Maryland agricultural economy.

Here's the link if you care to write Delegate Miller: http://www.miller4delegate.com/contact.html

Burnt Hill Intro

Join us for a little day trip to Burnt Hill Farm. We’re continuing the initial stages of preparation for a brand new vineyard that we’re starting in Montgomery County, Maryland. The soil and terroir are the most conducive we’ve found after a long search. Great wine takes time, patience, and laying the groundwork. In this short video, you’ll see some of the tools we use to measure various aspects of the soil. We’re slated to grow our first cover crops in 2018 but there’s plenty to do until then... stay tuned.      

Wine's 'Dirty' Little Secret

Wine's 'Dirty' Little Secret

What’s the most important element of a truly great wine? It's correct to suggest it's all about grapes. But there’s even a step before that. There's something that predetermines a vine's potential to yield grapes fit for remarkable wine.

It’s the dirt. Great wine is made in the vineyard.

Bloomberg recently published an article on the “dirty” side of wine – a reality we’ve been talking about since the inception of Old Westminster – that even before any emphasis on grapes can be made, a winemaker has to start with the right soil.

As many of you know, terroir (French: terˈwär) refers to the conditions in which grapes grow – especially the soil and climate. Above – and especially beneath it all – terroir gives wine its uniqueness.

This dirty truth spurs the thoughtful vigneron to study his or her soils and farm in the perfect geographical and topographical setting. That’s the real dirt on great wine – that soil types and climate are the essential foundation for distinctive wines that capture the story of the place in which it’s made.

In fact, soil type is a great way to classify wines. We’re increasingly seeing wines that marquee their unique dirt type on their labels. So it’s not just about varietals. We need to be digging deeper into the dirty side of great wine.

Here’s the dirt on distinctive wine: Smart viticulture focuses on matching the right grapes with the right soil.

Examining soil at the future home of Burnt Hill Vineyards

Examining soil at the future home of Burnt Hill Vineyards

That’s what we had in mind when we searched long and hard for the perfect soil in Maryland. And we found it. On Burnt Hill.

The ancient dirt on Burnt Hill – formed from decomposing slate – is rocky and nutritionally poor, requiring the vines to send roots deep into the earth for sustenance. The high elevation exposes the site to abundant sunshine and wind which are nature’s antibiotics. The steep hills quickly evacuate rainwater. All of these are characteristics of a promising vineyard site.

The next few years will be spent studying the soils and getting to know the rhythms of the land. We will till the earth, cultivate cover crops and prepare the foundation for our vineyard. The exact varieties, clones and rootstocks to be planted aren’t yet known – in time the site will tell us that. And we will wait patiently with the understanding that terroir gives wine its uniqueness.

This hillside – with all its elements in harmony – has the capacity to yield iconic wines.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular video updates from Burnt Hill.

Blending

When we sit down to the blending table, there are four of us: Lisa, Ashli, our consultant, Lucien Guillemet and me. Lucien is the winemaker at Chateau Boyd-Cantenac, a Grand Cru Classé Château in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. His expertise acts as a sounding board – multiple skilled palates are a key to the successful blending process. Recently, Lucien flew in to help us blend our 2015 reds! Join us for a little footage as we give you a peek into the process. All in a day's work! 

Blending: The Art and the Science

Blending: The Art and the Science

Great wine is art and science and the sum of many details.

Blending is a medium for creating a wine that is more delicious than the sum of its parts. The goal of blending is to create distinctive wines that are balanced, reflect the vineyard and vintage, and of course, are a pleasure to drink. In the cellar, winemakers are careful to treat each lot of grapes, and subsequently the wine, to preserve its unique personality. Every barrel of wine is much like a puzzle piece belonging to a beautiful and nuanced landscape; a single thread weaved throughout a brilliant tapestry. 

When we sit down to the blending table, there are four of us: Lisa, Ashli, our consultant, Lucien Guillemet (aka “the most interesting man in the world”) and me. Lucien is the winemaker at Chateau Boyd-Cantenac, a Grand Cru Classé Château in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. He visits Maryland twice a year to taste, deliberate, and blend. His expertise acts as a sounding board multiple skilled palates are a key to the successful blending process. 

Each year we improve individually and as a team. We build on past experiences. We labor over the nuances. We sweat the details. We seek greatness. We taste and reflect on past vintages in a concerted effort to refine a vision for the next vintage. 

Our inspiration

Bordeaux is the quintessence of wine blending. In Margaux, for example, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot are the usual suspects. These varieties are always blended – each variety bringing a unique characteristic to the table. Cabernet Sauvignon contributes full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. Merlot is full in body with lush, velvety tannins with intense plum and blackberry fruit. Cabernet Franc contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Petit Verdot contributes course tannin, inky color and violet and leather aromas, in small amounts, to the blend. Blending each of these varieties in just the right proportions is essential to creating truly stunning wines.

Where we begin

Armed with a few wine glasses, a pipette, a graduated cylinder, and a spittoon, we set out to assemble our Magnum Opus our greatest work. We taste each lot separately and take detailed notes on aromas, flavors, structure and overall quality. We consider our goals for each blend and start blending a few wines we suspect will play well together. We again take detailed notes. We tweak the blend. We ask, "do you like the direction this wine is going?" We continue to adjust the percentages of each wine in the blend until we find the proportions that sing it’s often quite obvious! 

The finish line

The process isn’t finished until every individual lot has its home in a stunning wine. Rough blends are typically compiled over a few long intensive days. We then revisit these wines over the ensuing weeks, hypothesize, and make nuanced tweaks. We then share finished but not yet bottled blends with our friend, customer, sommeliers and restaurateurs for feedback.

Over the past five years, we have honed our blending skills and are quite proud of this year’s results. We can’t wait to share the fruits of our labor with you later this spring!

If you’d like to learn more about the nuanced art and science of winemaking, then consider joining our "Cru"! 

The Beginning

With a goal to expand the winery this year, we have a lot to do and there's a lot going on in these winter months! Join along with us as we take you on a little journey behind the scenes at Old Westminster Winery, and a sneak peek into coming attractions at Burnt Hill Vineyard! We're trusting that these working winter months will render an amazing vintage and we can't wait to see you at the tasting room soon!