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Terroir:  from Latin Terratorium, or Land.

Spectacular Sunset from Pippin HIll!

Designing our Vineyard – Monticello AVA

I am learning lots about Viticulture!  The inclusive concept of Terroir was first discerned and documented by the French Benedictine monks – early winemakers, with the church’s blessing!  The contemporary concept embraces all of the natural environmental elements that are part of wine growing — the soil in all of its depth & complexity, topography, including the non-controllable factors such as the convection winds that originate early in the mornings in our valley.

As part of my ongoing education on both developing a vineyard and the humbling array and layers of botany, sustainable agriculture, grape varietal selection and management.  Along this journey there have been very encouraging discoveries.

Essential Elements – Creating our Vineyard

Pippin HIll Vineyard View

Soil – the region, as well as our particular site’s soil is underlain by ancient pre-cambrian layers with beneficial drainage, balanced pH and perhaps even too rich in minerals and nutrients.  A nice challenge!

Water — we completed an electromagnetic fracture trace survey of our lands and discovered the juncture of two sub-terranean rock formations.  We drilled our well there, and at 150′ found an amazing aquifer of very pure water with strong pressure for our agricultural needs and tasting room operations.

Climate — the Pippin Hill Farm site rises steeply from the valley floor to our vineyard, the tasting room and venue.  The crest of the vineyard is a full 12-storeys in elevation higher than our entry off Plank Road.  That slope and condition allows for amazingly consistent natural breezes year-round with the early morning sun creating convection currents that flow steadily up the slope.

Site Specifics — our vineyard site has a wonderful southern exposure that is ideal for the orientation of the rows.  With guidance, we have selected the best grape varietals to grow, with the most fragile on the uppermost slope and the heartier varietals lower, closer to the valley floor.

Vineyard Design — we are working with an amazingly talented Vineyard Master — Christopher Hill.  Chris is the most experienced, and respected consultant in Central Virginia.  We have completed the layout of the 5+ acres for our grapes, and have our root stock selected for an early spring planting.

Here is to an eventful and rewarding 2011 for all of the Pippin Hill Farm family!

90-days away from planting our varietal root stocks!

Next Wine Post —

Our First Year Wines with Michael Shaps and Virginia WineWorks!

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