Environmentally Sustainable Practices Make Great Wine
By: Matt Brown
For the active couple or family searching for a vineyard that offers more than just your standard day of wine tasting, look no further than thirty minutes south of Charlottesville in Faber, Virginia. Located in a rural community, DelFosse vineyards are terraced into the mountains. The site offers plenty of sun, good elevation, essential wind streaming and a picturesque setting. When owners Claude and Genevieve DelFosse first came upon these 330 acres in Nelson County, it was clear that they had found something special.
The journey started in 2000 when Claude DelFosse, originally from Paris, left his career as an aeronautical engineer to start a new life as a wine maker and vineyard manager. Claude was joined in this endeavor by his wife, Genevieve DelFosse, a talented cook, local food advocate and educator with the Fairfax County School System. Over a decade later, the DelFosse family now has 22 acres under vine with plantings that include the usual Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, as well as Chambourcin, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, and Petit Manseng. The DelFosses have a passion for wine and have become known for their personal commitment to adopting and perfecting sustainable environmental practices for the wine world.
In the tasting room at Delfosse, winemaker Paul Mierzejewski developed a strong reputation for quality over the years. Although trained in California, he has been working in Virginia wine country since the early 1980s and has become intimately familiar with the challenges Virginia winemakers face within the industry. Through his stewardship, the grapes are allowed to display the characteristics of their terroir with the goal of ultimately producing a quality wine that embodies the unique characteristics of the region.
The grapes of DelFosse could not be in better hands and thrive in one of the only terraced vineyards in the state. Vineyard consultant Chris Hill has over 30 years of experience planting, training and managing vineyards. A celebrity in the world of Virginia wine, Chris is known for his green thumb and valuable insights. Similarly, the full time vineyard manager, Grayson Poats, comes to DelFosse from Wintergreen Winery with a strong background in viticulture. Along with the owners, the staff clearly enjoys creating a memorable experience for their guests.
DelFosse Vineyards hosts many events throughout the year: there are classes, and options for weekend getaways, including a century-old log cabin for rent, perched at the top of the vineyard. A popular spot for weddings and romantic weekends, this quaint little rustic cabin was renovated in 2005 and has breathtaking views overlooking the wine tasting room, lake, and terraced vineyard. It is a lovely place for guests to relax, unwind and share a bottle of wine. They also host a full events calendar of barbecues, food and wine pairing sessions, and holiday celebrations.
Claude and Genevieve DelFosse have created an inviting space for outdoor enthusiasts as well: the vineyard is home to 5.5 miles of well-kept hiking and mountain biking trails, complete with massive rocks, distinctive flora and fauna, and breathtaking views. Of course, after the hike, visitors can enjoy a picnic or wine tasting at the vineyard.