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Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery

The Jones von Drehle Blog

Welcome to our blog about
Great Wines... Great Times... Under Blue Ridge Mountain Skies™


Chuck Jones
February 4, 2021 | Chuck Jones

Wine, Winter & Soup Sunday!

To everything there is a season.  And for us, winter is soup season.  From the first arctic blast until we see the green of new buds, Sunday is Soup Day.  From chili to chowder to stew (okay, not technically a soup but it is made in a big pot and feeds a lot).  Nothing sings family and friends like a big kettle on the stove with tempting aromas inviting everyone to share the goodness.  Don’t forget the fresh from the oven homemade bread.  In the Jones’ household Soup Sundays have been a ritual for decades.   So, to invite everyone to our virtual home, below are links to close replicas to some of our favorites, and the wines we enjoy with them.   Remember to always use the same wine you would drink when you cook with it…an old and wise rule.

First up.  Classic beef stew.  This recipe is from Once Upon a Chef by Jenn Segal.  We made this last year for everyone to sample in the Tasting Room.  Huge hit.  To make this stew a little closer to Julia child’s class Bouef Bourguignon, I add pearl onions and sauteed mushrooms.  Sauté your mushrooms in olive oil and butter, finish the same wine we use, JvD Merlot.  You won’t regret it!

Wine:  Jones von Drehle Estate Merlot



On to another favorite.  Can’t miss with a creamy Seafood Chowder, the ultimate “use what you got” recipe.  Fish, shrimp, scallops, clams, whatever.  It’s all good.  A New England cream-based chowder, this recipe from “Spend with Pennies,” is easy to scale up for a crowd and is very close to the recipe we use.  We do add a bit of heat with a dash of cayenne, but this is up to you.  

Wine: Jones von Drehle Barrel Fermented Chardonnay





We switch to vegetarian soups on occasion and this one is great.  Potato leek soup (served cold, Vichyssoise) is a classic, simple and very comforting dish.  Clean Eating Magazine gives us this very simple, easy recipe for this great soup.  Google for variations, there are many. 

Wine: Jones von Drehle Viognier





And last for today, Chili.  Maybe the best comfort there is for a cold day, with freezing winds a’roaring outside.  This recipe is as close as I can find to my regular fare.  It’s from another winery, ParaDuxx, but when something looks this good, you just go with it.   I do add a little ground hot sausage to my recipe to impart a little more complexity.   If you want to make this a little quicker than the 3 hours plus required for this recipe, you can use course ground sirloin.  Also, make sure to have plenty of grated sharp cheddar cheese ready for topping.

Wine:  Jones von Drehle Malbec Reserve or Steel & Stone



A couple of general notes on soups: 

I use the Better Than Bouillon products when a recipe calls for broth.  It is easy to keep on hand and offers superior flavor. 

One of the best investments you can make is to purchase good soup pots and Dutch ovens.  Different sizes for different crowds.  Folks gather around these faster than firepits…you will create a community in your kitchen just anticipating a bowl.


Chuck Jones
January 17, 2021 | Chuck Jones

Pruning, the Kindest Cut.

A new year and a new start.  With the winds howling down the mountain and often temps never reaching above freezing, Eric and Francisco head to the vineyard to begin the long process of pruning the vines. Removing last year’s growth down to two buds. 

These guys can prune at a lightning pace with incredible precision.  In an instant the vine health is noted, diseased or surplus canes are removed, and healthy canes cut down to a two-budded spur. Pruning is essential for maintaining the structural integrity, quality, and consistency of the vineyard. The spurs are spaced along the cordons (french for arm), with about 5 or 6 on each side of the trunk.  In early April, the buds will open and release this year’s canes.

We use a vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis system here. As the canes grow, they are continually hand-positioned between 3 sets of catch wires held aloft above the cordons.  This tucking of shoots into a narrow “zone” is the heart of the VSP system.

Some factoids:

  • 24,000 vines planted 6’ x 9’ apart cover approximately 30 acres.  
  • At a minimum each vine will have 20 canes from last year removed, that is over 480,000 cuts made by hand.  
  • Those canes average 4 feet each, creating about 1.9 million feet of pruned canes - all carefully mulched into the soil. Sustainable.
  • It takes about 10 weeks to prune the entire vineyard; We start with the reds which tend to bud break later than the whites, as some believe pruning, especially if we have a warm winter, stimulates an early budbreak.  Frost is always a risk in farming.  More on frost in a later blog.

Note the goggles. A cane pulled from the trellis has a tendency to “whip” out and can cause serious injury without protection.

Our team works in the freezing cold, holding up their arms and squeezing their shears for long periods at a time. That sort of repetitive activity will make anyone very sore after a full day. Now imagine doing that for approximately ten weeks! We are very grateful to have staff that are devoted to the health of our vineyard and the quality of our wines.

There is something amazing when you observe the vineyard without all the growth and leaves.  The carefully engineered trellis system is fully exposed.  The skeleton of the vineyard gleams for a short few months each year awaiting its annual burden to bring us the fruit for our wines.