The Secret to the Best Virginia Chardonnay

Unsurprisingly, a harvest full of high quality grapes is the foundation in a great wine.

Pearmund Cellars boasts the oldest Chardonnay Vineyard in Virginia and countless awards including a few Governor’s Cups to match. Celebrating 40 years next year, the vines are healthy, and producing high quality grapes. In 2014, the vines produced their second highest yield to date.

However, a good vineyard manager is always looking to increase the quality of the grapes, and if they can do that while increasing yield it is a double win. Over the course of this and next year, Pearmund Cellars has doubled the number of vines in the vineyard.

Chris Pearmund has added the new vines congruent to changing the training system of the vineyard. Currently, the vineycain and spurard uses a practice called Cordon or Spur Pruning. This means that each year, the new canes or branches grow out of the same old wood. Pearmund will be switching to a system called Cane Pruning, where each year a new cane grows that will allow grapes to grow from.

The upside to switching the processes is that it will better balance the canopy in the vineyard, which will help the grapes mature and ripen at the same rate. These benefits will lead to a higher quality crop and more complex flavored fruit, juice and wine. Cane Pruning is the way that the most expensive Chardonnay grapes are grown around the world, so it is an investment in the vineyard that will definitely help the quality and quantity of our grapes.

One of the biggest questions Pearmund Cellars gets asked is how is all the rain affecting the vines?

Currently, the rain has helped our young vines. The natural water in the vineyard are helping them grow rapidly with healthy, deep roots and are growing faster than expected. That being said, we're hoping for a dry and sunny August and September. The Chardonnay grape we grow is indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean, so they do best with well drained soil and less rain as the fruit ripens. Our vineyard has 13 different clones or cultivars of chardonnay that aids in diversity and complexity in taste of the wine.

As of this writing, the vines are happy and healthy! All of the investments into the vineyard, including the higher vine density and the pruning methods will help ensure the highest fruit and wine quality for Pearmund Cellars for decades to come.

 

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