Victorianbourg Wine Estate's roses & vines

We grow 8 of the classic European grape varieties:
• Chardonnay
• Riesling
• Pinot Noir
• Pinot Gris
• Pinot Blanc
• Pinot Meunier
• Cabernet Franc
• Merlot

We also grow 2 French-American hybrid grapes:
• Chambourcin
• Seyval

Our vineyards are planted on relatively close spacing for North America, with rows 8 feet apart and vines 4 feet apart within the rows. This gives a planting density of about 1350 grapevines per acre. The high density of plantings helps to limit the yield from any one vine, which concentrates the flavors in the fruit. We graft our own cuttings for planting in the spring each year, as we gradually wish to convert the entire farm to a vineyard. Rootstocks used vary with the soil structure, but most of the vines are in the standard rootstocks 3309C, 101-14, with a little SO4. In areas with especially heavy soils, we also use Riparia Gloire. We also have experimentally grafted the European vines onto rootings of some of the wild grapevines found growing on the farm (all within the species Vitis riparia), with early indications of some success.

Our trellis systems are fairly unusual for North American vineyards. We follow the approach taken in Burgundy and Champagne of training the vines low to keep the fruiting zone close to the ground, so the fruit can absorb the reflected heat from the ground, giving the grapes an extra boost toward ripening. Vines trained in this style are harder to work—it really is quite backbreaking to work bent over all the time—but the reward of higher quality fruit makes it worthwhile. Alas, this training does not allow the use of many machines, so most operations, including picking, are done entirely by hand. This is of course slow, expensive and exhausting, but the proof is in the quality of the wines. Great wines truly are made in the vineyard, not the winery.

Victorianbourg Wine Estate co-owner Victoria Hogue
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