FCW Happenings: Cover Crops

The last time that I wrote to you all, I filled you in on the some of the issues we are addressing in the vineyard. We have been attempting to loosen the soil throughout our oldest vineyards and are currently employing multiple strategies. 

One of the methods that we have chosen includes the planting of an intra-row cover crop.  We have selected a plant within the Brassicaceae family of crops, and more specifically in the genus of Brassica. 

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Food and Wine: A match made in heaven

Here at First Colony Winery, we take great pleasure in pairing our wine with food in a way that will enhance your experience with both. This April, we are excited to offer a number of events that allow you to experience these wine and food pairings first hand. Notably, we will be hosting our second "Evening with the Winemaker," an intimate, five-course dinner catered by The Local of Charlottesville and hosted by our winemaker Gavin Baum. The culinary experts at The Local created a menu specifically to pair with featured First Colony wines, including our 2017 Amazing Grace Viognier, 2016 Lemberger and 2015 Petit Verdot Estate Reserve.

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March: In like a Rosé, out like a Lemberger!

We are so excited to introduce two new wines to the public this March - our 2017 Rosé and 2016 Lemberger are now available in our Tasting Room! These popular wines will be featured on our standard tasting menu and we think they are a fitting transition into the longer days and warmer weather ahead.

This March, we are fortunate to be hosting two cooking classes with renowned chef Terre Sisson of Charlottesville Wine & Culinary. You can Chase Away the Winter Blues on Sunday, March 4th or enjoy a Mushroom Delight on Sunday, March 25th! During these classes, you will learn how to prepare a three course meal in a fun, relaxed atmosphere and then enjoy the fruits of your labor paired with First Colony Wine. Attendees also receive a 20% discount on any wine purchased that day. These classes make for a fun outing with friends, as well as an enjoyable afternoon with a partner or loved one. 

We also have a few evening events lined up for you this month, including our first Pick-Up Party of 2018 for our Wine Club members on Wednesday March 14th, an Evening Wine Down on Thursday, March 22nd and our monthly Trivia Night featuring First Colony's own Andy Marshall as Trivia Master on Thursday, March 29th. 

It promises to be a busy and beautiful month at First Colony Winery - we hope you will enjoy it with us... or at least with our wine! 

It's Chili in February... And so much more!

It is the month of love, and we are loving all of the activities we have lined up for you this month, from cooking classes with Terre Sisson to our Rosé Release Party, from barrel tastings with the winemaker to our family-friendly It's Chili in February event! There is a little something for everyone, and we look forward to welcoming you to First Colony.

In addition to our packed social calendar, we are busy on the production side, too. Our team has been tending to the vineyard, and we will be holding our first bottling of the year in the coming days. Our first bottling of 2018 will see us putting in bottle the last of our 2016 reds, including our Meritage and Petit Verdot Estate Reserve, as well as our 2017 Amazing Grace Viognier, Totier Creek White, and our 2017 Estate Rosé

We will continue to share the First Colony goings-on in this newsletter, but for behind-the-scenes peeks, additional details on our events, opportunities to win First Colony swag and discounts, and real-time updates, please follow us on social media! 

Happy New Year from First Colony Winery!

The start of each year is a time to reflect on the previous year and plan for the one to come. Here at First Colony, we are thankful for all that 2017 brought - new Wine Club members, new friends, new teammates and one of the most bountiful harvest seasons in recent history. As we look ahead to 2018, we are excited to continue providing a top-notch experience in our tasting room and producing high-quality wines.

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Le Nouveau est Arrive

Nouveau wines take a lot of shapes and forms, but for simplicity's sake they are fresh wines from the current year's harvest. Typically starting in November, winemakers set aside a small portion of newly-made wine for vineyard workers, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the end of harvest and show off the quality of the new vintage. These wines are fresh and fruit-forward, with bright, juicy acidity, evanescently light in tannin, and made for immediate consumption. As well-suited as they are for parties and for pairing with food, they have become something of a Thanksgiving tradition here in the States.

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Important Update on our Pet-Friendly Policy

It is with great regret that we must announce a change to our long-standing, dog-friendly policy for our tasting room.  This sad change is forced upon us by a recent letter from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services informing our winery and others that Virginia laws governing the production, storage, and serving of food – to include beverages – prohibits the presence of animals.  This is a very unhappy day for us, not least of which because our own farm cat, Fritz, is included in this prohibition, and we are forced to find a new home for him. 

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A message from the winemaker on the 2017 harvest

Those of you who know me know that I tend to play it a little fast and loose with superlatives and hyperbolic language in general, and so you may be inclined to take it with a grain of salt when I say that we here at First Colony, and our colleagues at other wineries across the Monticello AVA, are currently in the process of wrapping up what is surely the finest vintage in the state since 2010 and perhaps since 1998.

A mild winter and very early spring with copious rainfall triggered an abundant fruit set that in any other vintage vineyards likely would have struggled to ripen, but as June bled into July extremely hot, dry conditions kicked the vines into overdrive. By the middle of August, as daytime highs dropped serendipitously into the low 80s and sunshine persisted, we'd already set about harvesting our early season whites with near perfect chemistry at unprecedented yields. Several rain showers at the beginning of September refreshed the vines and set the stage for a magnificent Indian Summer characterized by balmy, brilliantly sunny days and cool nights, allowing red grapes to achieve extreme levels of phenolic ripeness while still retaining bright, refreshing acidity.

By the time you read this, we'll likely have completed our harvest, a full three weeks earlier than our historic average, and while it's still very early to draw final conclusions, fermentation kinetics and early tastings indicate a level of across the board, holistic quality that this young winemaker has never witnessed before in almost a decade in the industry.

We look forward to sharing these new wines with you in the coming months and years and hope you're as excited about the future of First Colony wines as we are. 

Gavin Baum, Winemaker

Originally posted 1 October 2017

Summer Solstice with The Bitty Bar

Happy Summer!

We recently had the opportunity to celebrate the summer solstice with our friends from The Bitty Bar! 

The Bitty Bar is a very cool mobile bar (MOBILE BAR!!!) converted from a double horse box trailer. The Bitty Bar is available to hire for weddings, parties, tailgates, corporate events, festivals, etc. Click here to visit their Facebook Page. 

Thank you to Kate Greer for taking and sharing these beautiful photographs from this perfect evening with friends, great wine and good times! 


Spring 2017 CCWEP Networking Event

On Tuesday, May 2, we were given the opportunity to host The Community of Charlottesville Wedding Professionals at First Colony Winery for their Spring Networking Event. 

It was the perfect evening for fun & friends! Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us! A special THANK YOU to our wonderful event partners.  Blue Ridge Pizza Co.The Cozy Caravan Club, yummy desserts from Kraken Cakes, the great music of The Whiskey Rebellion brought to us by our friends at Sam Hill Entertainment, and beautiful linens from Festival Fare !

Last but not least, we're still swooning over the beautiful pictures captured by the talented Jennifer Byrne Photography. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Cheers! 

5 Reasons to Try First Colony 2015 Viognier Right Now


5. It won't last! Sigh. With only 123 cases produced, this wine won't be around for long...

4. DOUBLE GOLD!! Our 2015 Viognier won a double gold medal at the International Finger Lakes Festival where 3077 wines from all over the world competed. 

3. Sip some wine, it's summertime!  What better way to cool down than with a refreshing glass of crisp white on a hot summer day?! Pairs well with boats & floats, porches & rockers, friends & family and YOU!

2. Our 2015 Viognier is a Monticello Wine Trail Gold Medal Recipient and top 6 overall Monticello Wine Cup Award Winner.

1. Virginia is for Viognier Lovers. Viognier is Virginia's state grape. In May 2011 the Virginia Wine Board made it official

Visit our online store to purchase or stop by our tasting room 7 days a week from 11am-6pm.

You can find full wine notes here

Wine Spotlight - FCW 2016 Rosé

Varietal: 50% Cabernet Franc * 35% Merlot * 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Monticello * Fermentation Style: Vat * Aging: 100% Stainless * pH: 3.43 * Alcohol: 12.7% AbV * Residual Sugar: 0 * Cases Produced: 300


Tasting Notes

The 2016 Rosé bursts from the glass with aromas of bright strawberries, and ruby red grapefruit.  Herbaceous in nature with, raspberry, and watermelon to follow.  The attack presents a soft feeling with a much bolder finish in this crisp racy rosé.  The bright clean fruitfulness of this wine presents its taster with a sense of sunlight glinting upon the glass and an overwhelming feeling of freedom during a hot summer afternoon.

Cellar Notes

The 2016 Rosé was allowed to cool overnight at 40*F after harvest.  The fruit was then destemmed but not crushed and allowed 6 hours of skin contact before gentle pneumatic pressing.  The juice was fermented using Vin 13 yeast at a temperature of 13* to 16* C over the course of 18 to 25 days until dry.  The wines remained in stainless steel tanks before being gently fined using isinglass and pad filtered.

Vineyard Notes

The 2016 Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon were both harvested from First Colony Winery’s vineyards.  The Cabernet Franc is one of the older vineyards on the property and is used to produce First Colony’s Rosé every year.  This fruit adds to the overall crisp nature of First Colony’s Rosé.  In contrast, the Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the newer plantings at First Colony and 2016 was the first year any fruit was harvested from this vineyard.  The youthful nature of these vines added to the jovial fruit forward aspect of this wine.  The 2016 Merlot was harvested from Kilaurwen Winery in Green County.  2016 was an above average year for reds, since the hot dry summer was tempered by rain just before the vines became too stressed.