Winemaking is a labor of love, mostly. Seeds, growth, staking, bird protection, tending, sun-shading leaves, early picking, horticultural understanding, more tending… It takes at least 3 years for a vine planting to become ripe enough for a wine harvest. But the wait is worth it! On this “Hello, Hanover” visit, we see how grapes on the vine become wine in the glass. James River Cellars Winery plants, harvests, bottles and sells their wine locally here in Hanover County VA.
Ray Lazarchic entered the wine business by creating his own vineyard of twenty acres on his farm in Montpelier, Virginia. Ray figured that making his Gewürztraminer wine would be better than finding the perfect one. The Winery, which opened to the public in 2001, began as a hobby rather than a project and eventually led into the creation of a stellar winery now called The James River Cellars Winery. The winery is now owned and operated by Ray’s daughter, Mitzi Batterson, and her husband James.
Both Dr. Batterson, Winery Owner, and Alexander Morgan, General Manager, shared the social and conversational nature of wine with us. Grapes are harvested by hand (many are volunteers) then nurtured into wine and aged in the cellar – while, just a floor above, JRCW’s tasting room is full of friends and neighbors sipping joyfully and catching up on life. There’s a tangible element of renewal that comes both from the harvest and the enjoyment of the grape.
The entire harvest to bottling process requires patience, tidiness, and understanding. Harvesting, processing and bottling wine requires 6,000 hours of labor per year. Depending on the variety, grapes from a vineyard should be processed no longer than five to seven days after being fully harvested. JRCW produces approximately 13,500 gallons of wine each year from twelve different grape varieties. One bottle of wine is equivalent to 2-3 pounds of grapes and JRCW produces 5,500 to 6,000 cases of wine each year.
Join us on a journey from plant to bottle! Thanks to James River Cellars Winery for this great behind the scenes tour. Let’s harvest!
Watch the video!