Deep Summer Beauty



VIP Wines of the Month

Report from the Tasting Room
Report from the Cellar
Report from the Farm 

Report from The Little River Bakehouse
Report from Locksley Farmstead Cheese

Note from Jenni

VIP Club Selections for August, 2021

It's August! As many of you are heading off to the beach or mountains for that last summer vacation, we have our eyes on the beginning of harvest. It's hard to believe, but in just a few weeks we will be bringing in the first fruit of the season. As always, the first fruit that we pick is the Albariño for our vinho verde style wine. This style of wine gets its crisp acidity and citrus notes that differentiate it from our traditional Albariño by picking the fruit while it is slightly underripe. The harvest staff will get a brief break before the rest of the fruit ripens and then it's non-stop until the end of October. The next time you're at the Ag District enjoy a nice cold glass of Albarino Verde and think about all the hard work that goes into each bottle... starting with harvest.


Our VIP pickup event this month will be held on Friday, August 13th from 5:00pm until 8:00pm. Members must RSVP no later than August 9th by emailing We will be conducting paired tastings at 5:00, 5:45, 6:30, and 7:15. Please include your name, number attending (max. 2 per membership), and preferred tasting time in your email. When planning your visit please remember that we close at 8:00 pm.


The white wine selection for our VIP Club members this month is Chrysalis Vineyards 2020 Albariño Verde. This fan favorite is 100% Albarino that is picked early, whole-cluster pressed, and fermented in steel tanks. It exhibits tropical aromatics comprised of banana and pineapple, reminiscent of sandy beaches and blue waters. The palate is greeted with bright acidity, slight pin pricks of effervescence, and flavors of fresh zested limes, sharp lemon rind, and ripe grapefruit. Try a plate of fresh oysters and an ice cold glass of Albariño Verde to cool down a hot August night.

Our red wine selection for July is Chrysalis Vineyards 2020 Norton Schitz & Giggels. Schitz & Giggels is one of six 100% Norton wines produced at Chrysalis Vineyards. Each of these wines has unique characteristics derived from a variety of winemaking styles and techniques. This wine has a light oak character and barely perceptable sweetness that make it perfect for any occasion. Serve it up at your next backyard barbeque with a nicely smoked pork loin!

As a reminder to our members, all VIP wine is available for pickup at the Ag District Center tasting room anytime during regular business hours. If you can’t make it out to pick up your wines on a monthly basis, we will hold them for you. Due to storage limitations, however, we do ask that you pick them up once you accumulate a case (6 months). We can also arrange for wine to be shipped to most locations, at your request.

Also, please remember that you can always find your paired recipes and detailed tasting notes at in the Private VIP Club Area. Also check in with us or follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements.

NOTE: Please do not reply to this emailed Newsletter. Your email will not be handled in a timely manner or may even be lost.


Shaded Trellis Seating

If you are a fan of The Ag District and all the delicious wine, cheese, bread, pizza, and other goodies that we offer here, then maybe it's time to consider becoming a member of our VIP Club! Members get discounts on Chrysalis Vineyards wine and menu items from Little River Bakehouse. They also enjoy access to exclusive VIP club wines and VIP events and get 2 free flights or 4 free tastings any time they visit! What a deal!  Ask one of our tasting room associates how to join!

Our hours are 12:00pm - 6:00pm Monday - Thursday, 12:00pm - 8:00pm Friday and Saturday, and 12:00pm - 7:00pm Sunday. We have great wine, pizza, sandwiches, salads, farmstead cheese, fresh bread, eggs, and more - all availble 7 days a week. If you can't stay, you can always place a "To Go" order to enjoy at home! You can place your order ahead of time by calling 540-687-8222 or stop by to place your order at the window.


Wine from the Tank

The winery is clean and ready to receive fruit, the new barrels are on the way, and the last of the harvest supplies have been ordered. Probably the most popular topic when discussing harvest is yeast selection. You wouldn’t believe the options available to winemakers, I have three different catalogs with hundreds of selections. As with all choices made here in the cellar, picking the types of yeast we use isn’t just about the cool name or where it was isolated from. We like to consider other factors commonly referred to as “yeast kinetics”.

This is a broad term that doesn’t just refer to the act of fermentation, but specifically how the yeast ferments within the juice or must. In the simplest explanation, yeast consumes sugar and as a byproduct produces ethanol, heat, and co2 but it’s really so much more than that. In fact, some yeast strains focus more on the development of aromatics through different biochemical pathways within the yeast. This is one of the determining factors for preserving those banana esters in our Albarino Verde.

During the fermentation process, yeast produce heat to help acclimate to their environment allowing them to increase the rate at which they repopulate and consume sugar. This heat can reach temperatures of 75 degrees to even 95 degrees. With too much heat, the volatile compounds or aromatics will actually “burn off” causing wines to lose their aromatics. This is why we constantly chill down fermentations to about 60 degrees for our white wines. 

The main goal during fermentation is to convert juice to wine or sugars to alcohol. Yeast are pretty resilient critters, but they are extremely sensitive to alcohol, around 13-14% alc. means the end of their life cycles. Some strains are so sensitive that 11% alcohol will end a fermentation and leave a bit of sugar behind. This is one of our tricks for crafting everyone’s favorite Sarah’s Patio Red and Sarah’s Patio White. Retaining that natural sugar keeps the wine a little more true to the varietal and lighter on the palate. 

Norton is known for having higher malic acid (think granny smith apples) and this can make the mid-palate appear a little thin. Typically, winemakers will put a wine with high acids through malolactic fermentation to convert that malic acid to lactic acid (think yogurt). The problem with malolactic fermentation is too much yogurt can be a bad thing. To help with the acid we use a specific strain from Australia that’s commonly used in their Shiraz production. Shiraz, like Norton suffers from high amounts of acid. This yeast strain actually converts the malic acid into secondary and tertiary compounds aiding in complex aromatic bouquets. 

Who knew that such a small organism could have such a gigantic impact on a product that we all love?

Jake Blodinger, Assistant Winemaker


Grapes for AlbariƱo Verde

I can tell it’s August without looking at a calendar by simply just walking a few rows of the vineyard. The Albarino is always the most telling because ever so slightly the color changes from soft greens to vibrant yellow. In French this is called “veraison” and means the ripening of grapes. 

As veraison starts, the color pigments within the skin will actually conform to the varietals color. This is also when the skin tannin becomes incredibly important as that tannin will act as a sun screen for the berries. With good canopy management and a bit of dappled sunlight, the tannin in the skin begins to develop earlier. This is because the fruit is exposed to sunlight early and in turn tells the vine it needs some protection from direct sunlight. 

While the color change is happening, the grapes will actually enlarge and stretch the skin causing it to soften. Skin softness also referred to as “elasticity”, is a helpful identifier for determining ripeness. You want the skins to be soft, but firm so that with slight pressure the berry will hold its shape without excreting juice. This is important as skins that are too soft usually fall away and become vectors for rot.

Veraison is also the best time to fruit thin. As mentioned in previous newsletters, fruit thinning helps redirect energy into the fruit by removing excess clusters. This is incredibly important if ripening stalls due to cooler temperatures or high amounts of rain. Luckily, that hasn’t been a problem this year.

We are all excited here as veraison is the last mile marker before another exciting harvest. We have big plans this year and the fruit is looking immaculate!

Jake Blodinger, Assistant Winemaker


In the Kitchen!

Greetings from The Little River Bakehouse, Chef Keaton here with another update from the kitchen. Our first pick up party since the pandemic was a success and I had a lot of fun making everything we offered for the party, especially the salmon chive arrancinis. I'm looking forward to the next event in August. We'll be holding these cllub events every 2nd Friday of the month from here on out, so be sure to RSVP ahead of time so we can make sure we make enough of everything for everyone.

If you are in the mood for a little spice this summer I've brought back the jalapeño and Little John Cheddar foccacia through the rest of jalapeño season. This bread is excellent with some of our Friar Tuck smeared on it and washed down with a glass of Sarah's Patio Red to off set the spice of the peppers (which have been exceptionally spicy this year!) We have also added a a summertime bruschetta to the menu. Lovely local cucumbers and tomatoes combined with our Friar Tuck fromage blanc and a drizzle of Norton Balsamic reduction topped off slices of our sourdough baguette. These are both available for a limited time while the fresh produce is in season, so be sure to come by and try them out!

Hope to see you all soon.

Keaton Beus, Little River Bakehouse Chef & Manager


Grazing in the Sun

Have you ever thought about where Locksley Farmstead Cheese Company got it's name? Locksley comes from the name of the farm where our cows graze - Locksley Estate. Locksley Estate is the original parcel of land that adjoins Caeli Farm to form The Ag District. Locksley was also the legendary home of Robin Hood, so our cheese names have a Robin Hood theme....Little John, Nottingham, Prince John... you get it.

The "Farmstead" part of our name might not be a term that you are familiar with, but it's an important distinction that makes our cheese unique. "Farmstead" indicates that the cheese is made from milk collected on the same farm where the cheese is produced. That's right.... those cows grazing in the peaceful pastures of Locksley Estate provide the milk for all those delicious cheeses that we make right here on the farm!  


Note from Jenni
Chef Keaton Beus

I thought it would be good idea in this month’s Note from Jenni to put a spotlight on one of our stars here at The Ag District, Chef Keaton Beus.

Keaton has now been head chef at The Ag District for two years, and over his tenure we’ve advanced our craft of fine artisan breads, flatbreads, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, pickles/condiments… all sorts and kinds of delicious easy-dining foods we all love.

I’m very proud of all of the products we produce at The Ag District, and that includes incorporating those artisan farm products into wonderful finished dishes that are now drawing folks from all over the region. I’ve had a vision for many years about a unique place to savor the bounty of this beautiful land, and Chef Keaton is right out there in front helping us achieve that.

So… when you see this good-natured, hard-working fellow rushing up and down from the kitchen and in and out of the Little River Bakehouse, give him a tip of the hat. He deserves it.

And if you haven’t been here in a while to taste what we’re crafting, come on out and see for yourself. The weather starts to cool off some in August and all the wonderful produce from our farm and around the region are being expertly prepared for your enjoyment.

Oh… and one more thing… our newly released 2020 Albariño Verde is spot-on delicious, and perfect this time of year. It goes fast, so get some before it’s gone. And for you grill masters, don’t forget the 2020 Schitz & Giggels 100% Norton, the perfect accompaniment to all your BBQ favorites.

Hope to see you soon. Take care,


Jennifer McCloud

Chrysalis Vineyards at The Ag District
39025 John Mosby Highway (Tasting Room/Creamery/Kitchen)
23876 Champe Ford Road (Winery/Milking Center/Offices)
Middleburg, VA 20117
Office: 540-687-8222


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