The team at Pearmund Cellars took a trip to Napa and Sonoma. Our winemaker, Ashton Lough, gives us his take on the experience and compares it to the winemaking process in Virginia, as well as specific to Pearmund Cellars. He unearths a few truths that support the recognition we receive year after year for Best Winery in Virginia.
The trip to Napa and Sonoma was fantastic. All the wines were very good, but they did not knock my socks off. I specifically wore socks everyday hoping that would happen. LOL.
Seriously though, it made me feel proud of the job Virginia and us specifically, have done to make a pleasant and enjoyable experience for the beginning, average and expert wine enthusiast. The California wines were good, but I found myself missing a little of the Virginia complexity. The staff in the California wineries were nice, but a little stuffy. I missed the welcoming environment of Virginia wineries. I thought the quality of our service and our wines matched up against theirs well.
The takeaways for me would be more on the retail and viticulture side. First would be their emphasis on the wine clubs and the many different levels they offer. That seems like a cash cow and no-brainer for us to expand the wine club model.
We already addressed the different tasting/tour levels with different offerings.
On the Viticulture side they emphasized the quality of the fruit. This is where Virginia struggles the most. We need more professional growers growing more high quality grapes if we are going to raise the quality and expand as an industry. Of course this takes the most time and capital.
Finally an nod to Chris, for keeping all the wineries in the "Pearmundpire" on the cutting edge of the industry on either coast. When speaking with Tom Davies at V.Sattui, there was little or nothing they have done over the last 30 years that we haven't done in 10 years or less.
Who is leading Whom?
J. Ashton Lough, Winemaker
Vint Hill Craft Winery
The Winery at Bull Run