The vineyard has come a long way since my last post; berry growth has turned to berry ripening, a roughly 6 week process referred to as veraison. Fruit that a week ago resembled hard green peas are now starting to soften and change color. The Merlot block got us started with handful of grapes per cluster showing hues of red and light purple in mid-July. Now, almost August, we are greeted by dark ruby whole clusters. The Petit Verdot has joined in; the Viognier is turning from green to gold and their berry skins are becoming translucent. Berries will swell as much as twice their pre-veraison size as they accumulate sugar laden juice. While the topic of berry ripeness is a complex one, it is this sugar accumulation that is the hallmark of August.Read More
The last few hot days have witnessed flowering in the Petit Verdot block here at Upper Shirley, likely well before our Gordonsville vineyard and the rest of our friends in Charlottesville. The tiny caps fall releasing pollen to fertilize the flowers; vitis vinifera (French varieties we grow) grapes are self-pollinating.* This is critical phase for the vine as this process leads to fruit set, where the fertilized flower makes a berry to protect its seed. Not all flowers make it to be berries and bad weather can make the situation worse. We are busy removing excess vegetation (shoot thinning and leaf pulling) to get the future berries the right balance of sunlight and air.Read More
We are so excited to finally have our building completely under roof. The progress in the last two weeks has been very exciting. We have our wonderful building contractor J.W. Enochs Inc. (Wilson Enochs) to thank for keeping things running smoothly each day. Take a look at what the building looks like this week below.Read More
Which, if you have deep ripped the soil, killed all of the grass thatch, did not drink and entire bottle of Zachariah solo the prior evening (just saying) and weigh over 200 pounds, you can force it in the ground deep enough to plant a grape vine. How without J-rooting the vine you may ask? We have a patent pending planting invention we use; more on this later…now for some pics of our brand new Tannat babies. Stay tuned to watch them grow.Read More
Call it a celebration of Earth Day, or a major milestone in construction, but today was a pop the bubbly day at USV; we are finally getting under roof. Al Cobb, owner of PanelWrights and recent President of SIPA, the Structural Insulated Panel Association and Director of the SIPs School, was onsite to supervise the installation of our winery roof. When we asked Al why he, the leading expert in the nation on SIPs, would personally come out to see a relatively small job with his national and sometimes international travel schedule, he said: “It doesn’t take much prodding to get me to come to a winery.” Al is our kind of guy.Read More
Our Tannat takes full advantage of the power and structure inherent to this lesser known grape, native to the South of France. We employ extended maceration and aging for 17 months, half in new French oak. The result is dark and brooding, perfect for the cellar and those times that call for a red wine that is full bodied.Read More
While we wait for our construction to be completed, we are hard at work bottling our wines for their debut. Visit our blog often to read more about the background and details of each of our wines.
Introducing our Zachariah 2013 Red Blend
We’re starting to see more progress on our new building and are anxious for spring to arrive bringing better weather and even more progress! We anticipate construction to be complete by the end of October 2015, and we hope to open shortly thereafter. In the meantime, we wanted to share a first look with you of 3-D drawings which give a hint as to what the end result will look like. We look forward to sharing more progress pictures with you all along the way. We also plan to begin sharing more information for you soon about our wines, as well as our wedding and event packages and pricing. Stay tuned as Upper Shirley Vineyards becomes a reality!Read More
Some pics of the start of our construction and site work a few weeks ago through today. We are very excited about the progress being made towards, wine, weddings and events at this beautiful setting.Read More
Welcome to the first post on our new blog for Upper Shirley Vineyards. We are excited about the first bud break on our existing vines, as well as the buds breaking beautifully on the 8,800 new vines which we planted on 13 acres of vineyard mid-April (Petit Verdot, Viognier and Merlot). The final plans for our new wedding/event space are also well underway and we will be breaking ground very soon.