Virginia Wine Tours congratulates Sugarleaf Vineyards. Jerry Bias was a collector of rare “cult” Napa and Sonoma wines. In 2001, Mike Taylor, a good friend of Jerry Bias, encouraged him to, “make his own great wines.” The land on which the vineyard resides was originally intended to be a retreat in the beautiful southern Albemarle County area. However, the thought of creating his own vineyard proved to be irresistible. Jerry turned to the University of Virginia and several well respected vineyard consultants in Virginia and discovered that the estate, was located at an elevation ranging between 750 feet at the pond to 1,100 feet at the mountain ridge, had parker loamy soil, resided on limestone platelets, was the beneficiary of natural drainage, received cooling from the wind over the mountains, and had five springs on the estate that provide a source of natural irrigation.
It was quickly recognized that the estate had more than just the bare necessity attributes for a vineyard.
The first order of vines was placed on September 6th 2001 , Jerry’s friend and motivator for this project, Mike Taylor, passed away in the tragedy of 9/11. After all of the time, passion and effort that went into preparing to embark upon this hobby, Jerry continued and began to plant 300 of the existing 2,075 vines himself. Not realizing all that it would take to plant a 4 acre hobby-vineyard; professionals were once again brought in to plant the remaining acreage.
At this point Sugarleaf Vineyards still did not have its name and there were no plans to build a winery or any formal production facility.
The first harvest looked promising, and the second and subsequent harvests produced exceptional fruit. We sold our exceptional fruit to select neighboring well-respected wineries from 2003 until 2005, and our grapes produced award-winning vintages for those wineries. Join Sugarleaf for a myriad of Virginia Wine Tours.
Virginia was an emerging wine region, and our estate’s thriving vines sat in the middle of Monticello, the most prestigious region in the state. Lauren Maillian and Jerry Bias agreed to change the name from Hollow & Hill Vineyards to Sugarleaf Vineyards. The hobby stage now over, the focus shifted to marketing the vineyard and winery as a well-respected newcomer in the Monticello Winery Region.
In the fall of 2004 Dan Neumeister and Jerry designed the ideal boutique wine production facility and began to construct the winery from the ground up.
They incorporated the minimalist gravitational pull method of production into the winery’s process so they could preserve the natural qualities of the fruit during processing. They also wanted the winery to remain a quaint and inviting space that overlooked the vineyard. The winery was completed in the beginning of 2006 and they produced their first Sugarleaf vintage in their new custom state-of-the art facility. Today, Sugarleaf Vineyards is an award-winning boutique vineyard in the heart of the Monticello region, producing limited quantities of each varietal. They never imagined that Sugarleaf would be what it has grown to be today.
Tragically on what appeared to be a glorious day during grape harvest time, winemaker Dan Neumeister climbed aboard his beloved Suzuki TL 1000R motorcycle after meeting his bride for lunch. The weather was clear, and the skies were bright on October 4, but the Crozet resident was about to encounter William T. Thompson of Ruckersville.
Police say that a drunk Thompson lost control of his Ford Taurus on the two-lane road, and swerved into Neumeister, before rolling the Taurus over and over. Thompson, age 58, was airlifted to UVA Medical Center and has been charged with driving under the influence–- and now faces a manslaughter charge, say police. Around 2pm, Daniel Mark Neumeister, 31, died at the scene.
Neumeister was the award-winning winemaker for Sugarleaf Vineyards in North Garden, and his 2008 Petit Manseng was served at the White House at the 2010 Governor's Ball.
3613 Walnut Branch Lane
North Garden, VA 22959-2104