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VA Wine sales top half-million case mark in fiscal 2014; up 26% since 2010... Barboursville's Luca Paschina awarded Order of Merit of the Italian Republic... Andy Reagan new winemaker at Old House... Piedmont Vineyards Sold to NoVA Developer... VA Has New Master Sommelier - Jarad Slipp w/RdV Vineyards... Williamsburg Adagio wins 2014 Governor's Cup; Former Gov. Bob McDonnell "Legislator of the Year"; Ag Secy Todd Haymore "VA Wine Person of the Year"... 7 VA Wines (from Tarara, Linden, and Barboursville) earn 90 ratings from Wine Enthusiast... VA Wine industry doubles economic impact in 5 yrs, new study finds ($747 mil in 2010)...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Miller Time for the Wine Dogs

Front Royal, Virginia
 
A new winery - actually a microwinery - opened in downtown Front Royal last week, and Ecco and Pomeroy simply had to poke their heads in to bring you the scoop.
The Wine Dogs found a freshly finished tasting room in the back of what was the Old School House -
and the Millers, Jason and Amber.
Amber and Jason’s passion for wine started in 2002, when they purchased a cabin in the Shenandoah Valley, a jumping off point for touring Virginia Wine Country. Four years ago, Jason graduated to home winemaker and in 2012, he teamed up with Erik Bandzak, who pioneered urban city micro-wineries in Baltimore with Aliceanna Winery.

The back of the house includes the winery - housing several Italian stainless steel tanks and two carboys where the Millers make wine in batches, 60 gallons at a time. Total production is 2,000 bottles (yes, bottles, not cases). The plan is to double production next year, adding Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chambourcin.

There is also an office/production room for packing and shipping. Jason already has expansion plans to bring the winery out to the front of Royal Street, with outdoor café tables looking out at the Warren County Courthouse.


Everything at Miller Winery is done by hand – from corking the bottles (Pomeroy learned how intensive that is when our own Miller hand-corked the Wine Dog wine) to the bags, which Amber hand-stamps with the Miller label.

The Miller Winery opened with Jason pouring four wines. The fifth, the Chardonnay, is awaiting label approval – apparently delayed by the government shutdown. “We tried to come out the door with something that hits everybody’s palate,” explained Jason. “Something” includes two whites – a German-style Riesling and a Seyval Blanc – and a pair of reds.

The first – aptly named LOL - was an amusing wine made from Concord grapes, with a Welch’s jelly nose accompanying a more sophisticated taste that still remains sweet on the palate. Ecco lapped it up.
(Gotta love the Miller humor).
 
Pomeroy preferred the smooth, rich and slightly peppery Hunter’s Red – made from the Noiret grape, a disease resistant hybrid developed at Cornell.

While the current run of wines are made from grapes purchased out-of-state, the Millers will be producing true Virginia wine. They have planted a 5-acre vineyard (managed by Jason’s parents) in Bumpass, Virginia (near Lake Anna).

The urban winery concept appealed to these Wine-Dogs-about-Town, a welcome addition to the flourishing Virginia industry. Yep, it's the right time for Miller Time!

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