Press Release– Monday 07/13/2015
Monticello Wine Trail Receives $30,000 State Funded Grant to Develop Winemakers’ Research Exchange
Contact: Jeff Sanders, Glass House Winery
President of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society (MWT)
The Monticello Wine Trail (MWT) will ramp up its Winemakers’ Research Exchange (WRE) thanks to a recently awarded $30,000 grant by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The WRE was created in 2014 as a quality improvement and knowledge sharing collaboration for winemakers in the Monticello American Viticulture Area (AVA). The group seeks to promote technology and scientific discovery with the goal of expanding winemaking skills directly applicable to the VA wine industry.
In 2014, examples of research projects designed to improve wine quality included yeast trials, vineyard soil mapping, red and white grape co-fermentation, and trials to reduce methoxyprazines, which can cause unfavorable aromas in wine.
In its first year the WRE facilitated the completion of over 40 separate experiments. From January to May, 4 separate sensory sessions were held to evaluate and discuss the finished wines from each experiment. The complete set of data is being compiled and will be distributed throughout the winemaking community. With the aid of the state grant, it is projected that more wineries will be able to participate by allowing smaller wineries access to testing and additional staff. The grant will also allow for more in depth analysis of all experiments.
Jeff Sanders, President of the Monticello Wine Trail said, “This is an exciting example of how the Monticello Wine Trail collaborates with each other to continue improving the world class wines from this region.”
At the 2015 Governor’s Cup Competition 5 of the 12 top scoring wines, which were selected for inclusion in the coveted Virginia Governor’s Case, were produced in the Monticello AVA, recognizing the reputation of Central Virginia as the premier grape growing region in Virginia.
Matthieu Finot, winemaker at King Family Vineyards, and the organizer of the WRE said, “By sharing our winemaking and grape growing experiments across the Trail, we can advance knowledge more quickly than if we learned only from each of our internal efforts. This allows us to see how various winemaking techniques apply directly here in our region.”
The Monticello Wine Trail is a consortium of 32 wineries within the Monticello AVA and geographic area surrounding Charlottesville, including Albemarle, Greene, Madison and Nelson Counties. The Monticello AVA has produced wines consumed in the White House and exported to Europe. It is also a critical driver for regional tourism and rural economic vitality.