vineyards

Exploring D.C.’s Wine Country

Barbara Noe Kennedy

The winery business has long been tricky in Virginia, despite the fact that colonial explorers discovered masses of grapes fostering huge hopes for a prosperous industry. Ask Mr. Renaissance Man himself, Thomas Jefferson, who first encouraged Americans to drink wine with meals back in the 1700s. For 30 years he attempted to cultivate European wine grapes on his Monticello estate, but failed to produce even a single bottle. In the 1800s, the wine gauge shifted slightly as Virginia winemakers using native grapes began garnering attention. 

How Millennials Reshaped the Wine Industry

Angelo Franco

As Millennials make their move out of college and into the workforce, their drinking habits also change. They opt for the sophistication often associated with wine—as well as cocktails and craft brews—over the party favors of liquor and mass-produced beers.  In addition, Millennials apparently do not need a special occasion to drink wine; rather, they find drinking wine to be a social activity as well as a relaxing one, such as when cooking or watching television.  The reverberation of this is that while Millennials are paying less for wine than their Boomers counterpart because of socioeconomic reasons.

‘Somm’ Uncorks the Agony and the Ecstasy of the Wine Expert

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Fewer than 200 Master Sommeliers have been named since the Court of Master Sommeliers was created in the United Kingdom in 1969; the three portions (Theory, Tasting, Service) are intense, and preparation for the exam happens months—and sometimes years—ahead of time. The single-minded dedication and rigor of the test candidates is not in and of itself novel; it’s the way director Jason Wise manages to build an engaging story out of something that could easily have been as dry as an Old World Sauvignon Blanc.

Biodynamics and the Greening of the Wine Industry

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Beckmen Vineyards is one among some 100 American winemakers who have become certified as biodynamic grape growers, and healthy soils are at the heart of the method. This accomplishment is not for the inexperienced: to achieve the soil revitalization and elimination of outside inputs that biodynamics demands, vineyard managers have to work harder, smarter and at greater time and expense to produce the crops they need for wine. 

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