Local Wineries Look Abroad

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 18, 2006

The Central part of Virginia is quickly becoming known in the wine industry as a prominent player. To keep that momentum moving forward, some local vineyards are taking part in an exchange program to learn some new tricks.

Mid August at Kluge Estate Winery means plush grapes prime for picking and winemakers hard at work. For several local wineries, it also means an exchange of new ideas.

"This was really one of the first major opportunities to bring people from an international scene to Virginia to add their expertise to things that are currently going on in the state," said Chief Executive Officer of Kluge Estate William Moses.

Kluge is one of five Central Virginia wineries that will be taking part in an exchange program with a contingent from the South African wine industry. The inaugural program will include classroom teaching at PVCC and field training that will cover a myriad of topics.

"We want to show them how we do wine here. How we grow our grapes. How we process the grapes and how we stylize our wines, how we produce our wines," said PVCC Program Director Jim Elmore.

The nine week program will allow the South Africans and the Virginians to compare trade secrets, in the end, making both regions stronger in the wine industry.

"There's always one or two neat little things that you can learn from somebody else that just has been doing it just as long and perhaps has just one or two little tricks of the trade that can really make a difference in a successful crush," said Neil Williamson of the Trellis Group.

As always, making great wine is the ultimate goal.

"We can learn from them. We can share what we're doing in Virginia to make Virginia truly a place that is well renowned for wine," Williamson said.

"We are really looking for Virginia wines to perform better nationally and hopefully we are on our way," Moses said.

The ten interns arrived at Dulles International Airport this afternoon. The five local wineries participating in the program are Kluge Estate, Barboursville, DelFosse, First Colony and Jefferson Vineyards.

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