Chris Pearmund is a busy man.
This past weekend I visited Pearmund Cellars. On the docket for just Friday was a wedding, a wine dinner and later on that evening a speaking engagement and finally a partners meeting. Not to be outdone, he has just returned from a family vacation and is in harvest and crush at two vineyards that he owns.
Purchased in 1985, Chris Pearmund is perhaps the most sought after vintner in Virginia. With three properties, and one “craft vineyard”, Pearmund and his army are ready for a big explosion.
I met with Chris at 8:30 last Friday morning and he explained a little about his operation(s). He is “full-on” in crush and harvest. Again; not to be outdone, he has imagined a world where private clients can be a part of the wine making process from “soup to nuts”.
At the Vint Hill Craft Winery, a private client can purchase not only wine, but be a part of the process. Around 11:00 AM, I met the winemaker and current operations manager at Vint Hill. Vint Hill is a special property of sorts. It was the place where the CIA and NSA was born during World War II. Personally, having a grandfather who served in the South Pacific for three years and sixteen days, I can certainly appreciate the history. I, too, served in the military which paid for my personal college education.
But back to the winery at Vint Hill. Production at the winery is growing. Sales at the three properties are up between a conservative fifteen and as much as thirty-three percent year-over-year. However, I am just getting started. The tasting room houses exhibits from military history dating back to World War II, and the bottles available for sale bear names like Covert Wineworks Enigma Red Blend and certainly a popular Vint Hill Chardonnay; a Bronze Medal Winner in three competitions in 2014.
Since they have a commercial license and are seeking a “farm winery” license as well, private clients have a lot of options. They can make their own wine to submit to competitions as if they were a winery. The options are endless.
Personally, I have connected with Chris and, “disclosure noted”, will be joining the team to increase sales at the Vint Hill property. Along with a half barrel sale, a client earns the right to six months of wine education; and a full year of education with the purchase of a full barrel (300 bottles).
Last Friday, I had the luxury to taste a plethora of wines; mostly Cabernet and Merlot varietals, and blends thereof; and was thoroughly impressed with the outcomes. I learned quite a bit in a few hours about pH levels and how they effect a wine and its final product. I additionally learned about how one can tweak the wine before and after maloactic fermentation. If this is the kind of education that one receives, I personally want to be a part of the process; and it looks as if I will.
More later, but I think there is a lot to love about Vint Hill Craft Winery. So the next time you are within spitting distance of Middleburg, Virginia, check it out for yourself.