Announcement to our VIP Members
The Monthly VIP Club Wine Pick-up Event
This is a notice for our monthly VIP Club "Pick-up Party" where two of you can meet our winemaker, Alan Kinne, and talk with him as he pours your monthly selections and enjoy the beauty of the countryside.
For this month’s event Alan will be pouring samples of the 2011 Chardonnay and the 2010 Private Reserve Red.
Our featured culinary guest this month is Chef Jay Clement, owner/chef of Pizzeria Moto! We’re super excited about working with Chef Clement (I mean, who doesn’t like pizza!?) and you won’t want to miss trying his delicious wood-fired pie. He’ll be here on Saturday, June 23 offering up a sampler slice of one of his gourmet artisan pizzas under the cover of Jenni’s Pavilion. You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase more pizza slices or bring your own picnic basket of goodies and purchase a bottle of your favorite Chrysalis Vineyards wine to enjoy the evening of the event.
Of course, our Tasting Room staff will also be on hand to provide the hospitality to which you have become accustomed.
oin us on the lawn outside the tasting room on Saturday, June 23 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. We’re closing the food-sampling portion of the event to the first 165 VIP Club members who respond to this invitation – I’m afraid there will be no exceptions! Please let us know by Tuesday, June 15, if you will attend. Simply call Tammy Cavanaugh at 540-687-8222, ext. 206 or email TCavanaugh@ChrysalisWine.com. RSVP quickly because these events always fill up quickly.
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Chrysalis Vineyards' grounds will be closed early (5:00 p.m.) on Saturday, June 2, 2012 to celebrate the nuptials of Stephanie Pelc and Rob Mangiante, two of our favorite VIP Club members. Congratulations Stephanie and Rob!
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth
Current Wine Releases and Tasting Notes
On our website, we maintain a complete list of all currently available wines, pricing and tasting notes. Click for details.
VIP Club at Chrysalis Vineyards
Receive a 15% discount on ALL purchases at Chrysalis Vineyards; enjoy our Private Reserve White and Private Reserve Red, made EXPRESSLY for our VIP Club members, be our guest for the VIP Club members' Recognition Party and much more. Click for details.
Groups and Facility Rentals
Hosting an event or having a wedding? Planning a group tour? Click for details.
This Month’s Guest Chef
Chef Jay Clements
In the early 80′s in a small kitchen in upstate New York, a box of “instant pizza” was opened, and unknowingly, out poured the seed to make the finest pizza around. For a father who was passionate about cooking, and an 8-year-old picky eater, pizza was the perfect catalyst to make on Friday nights to bring them together. As time went on, the recipes started to deviate from the box…dough was made from scratch, sauce was concocted, and trying to make the best pizza possible continued to develop into an obsession.
After decades of research and refinement, and working in several pizzerias, the tradition continues today, but now…with a mobile wood-fired oven. The pizza has changed tremendously since those first days, but passion and commitment are still the main ingredients. We take inspiration from Naples & the pizzerias of New York City in the early 1900’s, and cook our pies in a high temperature wood-fired oven. The culmination of all of this work brings forth a “New American” style, and Jay & Coleen Clement are proud to bring Pizzeria MOTO to you.
Meet Jay Clements at www.pizzeriamoto.com or join us on Saturday, June 23 to try Jay’s Gourmet Artisan Pizza. Once you try it, you won’t forget the mouth-watering taste!
Report from the Tasting Room
I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Tamara Cavanaugh, your new Tasting Room & Direct Sales Manager. It is a pleasure to have joined Chrysalis Vineyards. I consider myself fortunate to have been given this opportunity to join an organization with such a fine reputation for its wines and its hospitality.
This Tasting Room & Direct Sales Manager position offers new and exciting challenges to me, all of which I am looking forward to. Prior to coming to Chrysalis Vineyards, my background included working with wineries in the Charlottesville area, including Oakencroft Winery, Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard, Grand Cru, and Trump Winery. I come to Chrysalis Vineyards with a diverse background that includes not only love and passion for wine, but also a significant history of marketing, program design, and customer service.
My first introduction to Virginia wines came in 1995, when Felicia Warburg Rogan, former owner of Oakencroft Winery, asked me to work for her as a part-time staff to assist in the tasting room. This was an amazing experience; Ms. Rogan was one of the original female pioneers in the Virginia Wine Industry. Rogan’s career came to an end in late 2008 when she retired and sold her winery, but her influence remains in the continued growth of winemaking in Central Virginia.
In 1999, my son was diagnosed with autism so I left the winery to pursue opportunities that would help assist my son in his growth and potential challenges he would undoubtedly face. After failing to find the kinds of programs that I knew would help him, I started my own foundation, Youth Learning Academy, which over the past nine years has presented active opportunities for kids to learn math and science concepts, connect to the community, explore careers in the building and design fields, and enhance academics, confidence and competence. YLA has touched hundreds of lives by expanding opportunities for kids ages 5 through 18, uniting families, volunteers, and organizations in the mission of making a better tomorrow for young people who are often left behind.
Throughout the years, though, I really missed the wine industry. So in 2008, I begin seeking out opportunities at local wineries. Eventually, Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard, pioneered by Patricia Kluge, hired me. In two years, I grew from sales associate to tasting room manager, and led a successful sales team of eight.
Changes there led to the purchase of Kluge Estate by Donald Trump, and renamed Trump Winery (of course :-) My time there made it perfectly clear to me: my “calling” was the wine industry. My personal mission and desire was to inspire people to fall in love with Virginia wine. Too few Virginians drink Virginia wine, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.
When I first heard Jennifer McCloud’s vision for Chrysalis Vineyards (and Locksley Estate and Caeli Farm), I knew I wanted to be a part of this team. Ms. McCloud’s vision for the “Tasting Room of the 21st Century,” along with her interest in the Norton grape, other “things American” grown and raised on the land, along with her demonstrated interest in sustainable agricultural inspired me to contribute to that vision.
My goal is to work with Jenni McCloud, our staff and customers to make Chrysalis Vineyards a destination that everyone is talking about, visiting on a regular basis, and enjoying the benefits of our VIP Club.
Please be sure to say hello and introduce yourself the next time you visit our tasting room!
Tamara “Tammy” Cavanaugh
Report from the Winemaker
If you make wine in Virginia inevitably you are going to hear, “Well, this is nice, but it isn’t like they make it in California.” OK, let’s talk about that. (And for everyone to know, I made wine in Paso Robles, California for about ten years.) All I can say to that is, “We don’t want to make wines like the wines from California.”
The model for winemaking here in Virginia is much more European than Californian. We are looking for wines that taste great with your dinner, not knock the socks off some wine critic. That means elegant, stylish wines that are in balance. We don’t make wines with too much oak, too much alcohol or too much, well, too much. And sometimes that restrained elegance gets denigrated by critics as weak or small. To the contrary, a lot of wines made in Virginia have flavor nuances that the Californians would love to achieve.
Why am I writing this? I was just in California a couple of weeks ago tasting wines. I had the opportunity to try over a hundred red wines from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. Both were not extremely challenging vintages in California (out here we would not have been challenged—that’s another story). The wines I tasted were, let’s be polite, pretty awful. Bad color; bad flavor; some undrinkable. And how are the Californians describing these harvests. “Very European in style.” No, wrong. Bad wine is bad wine.
So, the next time someone says to me, “This sure isn’t like a wine from California,” I’ll say thanks for the compliment!
Report from the Vineyard
(Here’s another fascinating article for you “grape nuts” from guest scientist/vineyardist, Dr. Peter Barker, on the experimental vineyard that borders our driveway on the right when you enter the property. If you’ll recall, these vines are all Vitis aestivalis hybrids individually and painstakingly hand-pollinated and then planted by my friend Dr. Cliff Ambers of Chateau-Z Vineyard in Lynchburg, Virginia. Dr. Barker, a neighbor from Leesburg, has been Cliff’s “eyes and ears”, visiting our experimental vineyard numerous times this year. Check out his great photographs of the vine flowers. Simply fantastic. - Jenni McCloud)
Norton Grape Breeding, DNA and Photobucket Genetics.
As a kid, the three careers most appealing were cowboy, fireman, or biologist. Although I volunteered in a fire station and slid down the pole, and was trained as scientist, grape farming and my tractor may be as close as I ever come to becoming a cowboy.
At our Leesburg farm over the past decade, we planted orchards and berries with mixed success. Wild grape vines caught my eye over recent years, which led to grapes as a possible crop. About the same time, I had a chance conversation with a fellow airline traveler and Richmond wine distributor on a seminar trip in 2009. He suggested viognier and traminette vines might thrive in Loudoun County and we placed a tiny order immediately on return to Dulles. Recent books by Todd Kliman and Ellen Crosby provided motivation for looking at Virginia vineyards more closely and at that point, it became increasingly clear: the Virginia wine economy is undergoing a renaissance.
More study revealed the V. vinifera genomic DNA was sequenced recently (1). Although a stranger to plant biology, I stumbled across chimeric Pinot noir grapes during a harvest volunteer stint in 2011 (Figure 1) and curiosity led to articles on the grape vvMybA1 gene (2).
The gene in plants corresponds to a related gene in humans, and is an old friend in human genetic diagnostics. In both human and grape cells, it normally serves a regulatory function. When the gene is disrupted in human cells, it may contribute to development of leukemia. Variants in this gene are common in normal Pinot gris grapes. However, the gene regulates grape color, and determines whether the vine is a noir, a gris or a blanc cultivar.
There is normal instability of the grape gene function over the course of a vine’s lifespan that does not lead to cancer. However, it does give Pinot gris its characteristic appearance of a few green berries among the purple. The actual benefit of the instability to Pinot gris is not yet understood, but the fundamental reason the color genes are switched off in some but not all Pinot gris grapes by vvMybA1 regulatory gene disruption is understood at the DNA level.
The color patterns of Pinot gris are striking to anyone at harvest, and it does not take a biology degree to be curious why. Figure 1 even shows individual grapes that are conflicted as to whether they are green, purple or a “beach ball” combination.
In addition to the obvious color variations in wine grapes, some elegant 2007 genetic studies from Montpellier demonstrated that variants of the grape DXS gene mediate the level of aromatic compounds and taste in Muscat wine grapes (3). Unlike vvMybA1, DXS has no corresponding human gene. Thus, at a rudimentary level, a few of the grape genes involved in wine color and taste have now been identified.
Grape vines take three years to bear fruit. It takes eight to twenty generations before a novel cultivar is firmly established. Thus by conventional grape breeding, a new cultivar might take eight to sixty years before its potential for wine is confirmed.
Obvious to the molecular geneticist, DNA sequence testing at the vvMybA1 and DXS genes in grapes might inexpensively predict both color and taste of experimental grapes, years and dollars before new vines bear fruit. The vision was to apply existing human molecular genetics technology in the vineyard, so I went looking for a grapevine experimental breeder.
What I found was Dr. Cliff Ambers’ work on Norton grapes and the experimental plot at Chrysalis Vineyards. Although commercial diagnostic molecular genetics may be premature in Virginia grapes (there are just three DNA grape diagnostic research laboratories in the world), the world’s largest Norton plantation is a short drive from our Leesburg farm and also home to an experimental Norton vineyard.
I volunteered to give Cliff and Alan Kinne a hand observing the experimental vineyards at Chrysalis as a self-tutorial in grape biology. The internet enabled posting of experimental vine photos for Cliff and Alan to review online, obviating the need for road trips. A valuable spin-off has been this informal course of self-instruction in vine biology and genetics.
Because the timing of grape flowering is unpredictable like Northern Virginia weather, I drive down to Middleburg occasionally to monitor vines with digital photography.
I learned (Figure 2) that Cliff’s novel vines with “perfect” flowers (both functional male and female parts) are fruitful. Those with “male” flowers (functional pollen but no ovary) are not. The “female” flowers (defective stamens) must be pollinated if they are to bear fruit.
With Cliff and Alan’s help and after consulting Bruce Reisch’s Cornell website, I learned to visually distinguish these flower types. While too tiny to see details with the unaided eye, digital close-up images reveal the elegant biological architecture evolved for managing reproduction in grapes (Figure 2).
The first draft of the Norton grape genomic DNA was completed only in October 2011. It is safe to venture a prediction that the molecular genetics of the Norton grape cultivar is just around the corner (4), and that we will be seeing new molecular biology in this area soon.
Will these experimental developments lead directly to discovery of a unique Norton gris or a Norton blanc cultivar? Time alone will tell. And with luck, there may be some interesting new opportunities for making novel Norton wines from this classic Virginia grape at Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg.
|Note from Jenni|
First off, all of us here at Chrysalis Vineyards send a big hip, hip, hooray to Kelda Kinne for all her hard work, fun times, passion about wine, Norton and Chrysalis Vineyards, and her generosity with her great cooking, during the more than two years she was with us. We wish her the very best as she advances her career in the wine industry, having taken a position at Virginia Imports as one of their new sales reps. Best wishes, Kelda.
Well, here’s another “hats off”: the site work for the new tasting room and creamery (cheese making center) has begun!!! We received our grading permit a few weeks ago, and set up all the sediment and erosion controls measures required to keep any soil from leaving the fields and running into our streams on Caeli. (The erosion control measures are done first, of course, and after the inspector signs off that everything is in order, the “green” permit is issued and the real work begins.) In short order, Joe Ashby, our excavation contractor, wrapped a smooth and gradient incline of more than 1000 feet around the perimeter of the hill just south of the Little River that will keep the road easy and gradual all the way to the top. The finished road will access the parking lot behind the building so that the vistas aren’t “spoiled” by cars and a parking lot (and the vistas are absolutely “grand”, I can tell you!)
After the recent rains, though, the crew had to stop working on the road. But that didn’t stop other site work. They put their attention on leveling the parking lot, building site itself, and our large “picnic lawn” area that will be on a plateau of nearly three acres.
The next steps will be to lay the geotechnical fabric at the base of the road (keeps the gravel from “squishing” into the soil, lay and spread the gravel, and compact it into the finished road surface. We’re using permeable surfaces (gravel) for the roads and all area outside of the building envelope in keeping with “best management” practices for good environment land stewardship.
Anyway, things are movin’ right along now. Stay tuned. We’ll be enjoying the new space before you know it!
As a final note, I want to thank Peter Barker for his excellent article in our Report from the Vineyard and again to Cliff Ambers for his hard work and indefatigable support of American Grapevines. Thank you, gentlemen!