Winter. A quiet time.
The vineyard is a sweeping tapestry of bare tangled and twisted branches. Each season has a beauty of its own. This time of year, it is quiet, and the vines await the careful process of pruning, when we cut back last year’s growth to make way for new branches that will emerge to carry and ripen the grapes. Only now, do we see the intricate engineering of posts, wires, ties and clips. The numbers always amaze: 24,300 vines lined up to create almost 30 miles of grapes; nearly 1.4 million feet of wire to support the cordons, canes, irrigation tubing and posts, and about 50,000 clips placed to hold the catch wires in place. Each year, we hand tie over 200,000 ribbons to secure the cordons to the wire. A lot of hands touch these vines in very short order.
These numbers never cease to amaze us, yet we are a tiny vineyard when compared to the massive operations of California, Oregon, and Washington that produce wine by the millions of gallons. Wine on an industrial scale for certain. We hope as you drive through our vineyard or sit on the patio to enjoy the view you might reflect on the thousands of hours of hand-work it takes each year to grow these grapes that find their way into your glass. We do not depend on anyone else to grow our fruit; we are an estate winery. Our fate lies in the fruit we grow. Your support of our wines whether purchased from us, a neighborhood wine shop or your favorite restaurant enable us to farm, to harvest, to ferment, to barrel down and finally, to bottle. It is our hope our wines make you proud to share a glass with family and friends, saying to them “This wine is from North Carolina!”.
The New Year brings change at Jones von Drehle.
After three years of managing the Tasting Room, Karly Moore is returning to school this winter to realize her dream of following in her mom’s footsteps in a nursing career. While Karly takes up her studies, she will still manage our Cellar Club, Sip & Savor, and the ecommerce web store; from her home. It never ceases to amaze me how much work one can do remotely these days with laptop and phone. We will certainly miss seeing Karly day to day, but fear not, she will still be at the winery for meetings, special days and an occasional stint at the bar.
Many of you have already met Jessi Ratledge, our new Tasting Room manager. She has been working alongside Karly over the past three months in preparation for guiding the tasting experience and hosting our guests as you enjoy glasses and conversation while overlooking the vineyard. Jessi’s introduction follows below, as well as news of a new food pairing program she has created. We are very excited to have Jessi join our team with her strong background in food and management.
My name is Jessi Ratledge, the new Tasting Room Manager at JvD. I lived in the Winston Salem area until 2007 when I went to culinary school. In 2009, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. I have worked in kitchens and restaurants in North Carolina, New York, Missouri, Colorado, and Alaska. Recently, I decided to take a step back from the Chef world to explore more about the wine industry, however I still enjoy all things food.
I'd like to share a few favorite recipes with you as we enter the New Year. Winter is an excellent season for warm, savory dishes and enjoying red wine. I especially love to cook with the wine I selected to drink with the meal.
For this French Onion Soup recipe, Jones von Drehle 2014 Merlot would be a great choice when deglazing the pan after caramelizing the onions. The author suggests duck stock for the soup, but it is also okay to use all beef stock, or even a hearty vegetable stock if you prefer a meatless-meal.
Chef Jenn Segal has an awesome Beef Stew recipe reminiscent of the classic Boeuf Bourguignon in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I cook with Jones von Drehle 2015 Cabernet Franc to add delicious depth of flavor to this stew.
Lastly, try making Coq Au Vin with Jones von Drehle 2015 Rock & Rail. Ina Garten always creates reliable, approachable recipes; and I especially love her interpretation of this traditional French dish. I usually omit the Cognac, but feel free to include it if you have some on hand.
We will be sampling these dishes in the Tasting Room
from 1 pm until they are gone on the following dates:
Sunday, January 19th - French Onion Soup
Sunday, February 23rd - Beef Stew
Sunday, March 22nd - Coq Au Vin
The new building, Chloe Hall, is coming along beautifully. Can’t say as much for the ground around it; mud again... With winter comes the cold, rain, snow and of course the mud. Chloe’s feet these days are always orange from her forays around the building.
Sip & Savor is just four months away. We are confident that the building will be ready to host this annual favorite as our inaugural event. Now if the rain will just hold off for a few weeks we can get the courtyard, terrace and amphitheater done. Fingers crossed. More detail on events planned for these facilities in a future newsletter. Working on concerts for 2021. Exciting days are ahead!
We are already receiving calls inquiring about weddings this Fall at Jones von Drehle! Look for an announcement on Jones von Drehle as a wedding venue in a few months and if you know of someone looking for a special venue for a ceremony and reception, feel free to pass the information along.
As mentioned above, the Sip & Savor dinner will be May 2nd. Time and menu will be in a separate newsletter in mid-March. This will be Chef Clark Barlowe’s last event with JvD as he and Jocelyn move to Oregon. Don’t miss his amazing artistry with food and the pairings he crafts with our wine.
We received a great deal of positive feedback from the Fall Cellar Club pick-up as we went to a two day event, with tables piled high of select cheeses, meats, fruits, and veggies designed by Jessi. We will continue with that theme for the summer pick-up, with a few fun additions! Weekend will be June 27th and 28th. Details in a newsletter to Cellar Club members in May.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone for your patience in putting up with mud, noise, and the awful orange safety fence since last summer. The addition of Chloe Hall will allow us a great space to hold club events, dinners, reserve tastings, corporate meetings, and yes, even weddings! The stage creates a wonderful live music venue that brings wine, music, food, and community together. I am looking forward to the ribbon cutting and celebration (and taking down that fence…)!
Wishing all good health, great friendships, and thankfulness for the days we have with one another.