May Winds A'Howlin'

It was the evening of Friday, May 4th. We were hosting one of the University of Vermont's public philosophy forums discussion. The topic for the evening was a fitting one: Plato's Symposium, a discourse on objective value and what makes something like wine good. 

Lead by Michael Ashooh, the discussion was picking up. Folks were weighing in about whether knowledge enhances one's ability to determine value. As the conversation really started to roll, so did the weather. Creeping in from the West was a looming wall of clouds making its way across Lake Champlain.

  A tree lies across the fence that surrounds Shelburne Museum; a willow has some shattered limbs

A tree lies across the fence that surrounds Shelburne Museum; a willow has some shattered limbs

The rain came down hard and suddenly. In great waves the wind brought heavy rain and quarter inch hail sideways against the glass doors that flank the tasting room. It went from feeling like we were in a lecture hall to being in a ship tossed on a sea during a storm. Rain began to shoot in through the seams of the doors. The power flickered and then went out. 

Warmer weather comes with a classic New England phenomenon: Thunderstorms that come from nowhere. We anticipate at least a few a year that turn the sky green and bring on that feeling of a drop in pressure, the smell of imminent rain. 

This one was a doozy, though. And had it come a couple of weeks later than it did, we could have experienced some severe damage in the buds on the vines. When those tender shoots first start to emerge they are temporarily prone to the likes of hail and 50 mph wind gusts. 


  A fallen tree in a neighbor's yard

A fallen tree in a neighbor's yard

Many folks in town experienced some serious damage from the winds. The soft, damp earth couldn't hold up some of the larger trees around town. The Shelburne Museum experienced some serious property damage. We feel very lucky that we came off with barely a scratch. 

  Vineyard dog Wrigley inspects the damage

Vineyard dog Wrigley inspects the damage

We're looking forward to coming weeks of good weather and a strong start to the growing season! We'll be back soon with updates as the vines begin to grow their shoots!

February: Mud Season Makes an Early Appearance

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We here in Vermont are familiar with a notorious inter-seasonal phenomenon that we affectionately term "Mud Season." This wet and dirty time of year bridges the gap between icy winds and frosted earth of winter with the emerging greenery of the spring. It's a time where we lament the amount of crusted spatter on our cars yet can't help but get excited for the budding springtime. 

Late March usually heralds the coming of Mud Season. This year, we have a surprise preview today, February 21st. 

Don't mistake us, we anticipate the arrival of spring just as much as any winter-weary Vermonter. The gray days and frigid nights take a toll on us all as. However, being agricultural workers first and foremost we're sensitive to the drifting patterns of our local climate. And this February warm spell has us wondering. 

Whenever an early 'heat wave' hits many agricultural industries in the state of Vermont begin wringing their hands and wondering when and how to act. Most notably, our state's maple industry restarts the perennial debate of when to tap their trees. Tap too early and you risk missing the most productive sap flows and having taps dry out. 

We too can be affected by such weather patterns. It was two years ago that an early bud break of our Riesling vines followed by a late frost in the early spring decimated our Riesling crop production. It's not so much the early heat that worries us as the wild fluctuations that can come between our best efforts and a good vintage. 

February thaws happen all the time, some may argue, and they're not wrong. This particular phenomenon isn't terribly unusual. But the order of magnitude is what is so dramatic. Just last year in February of 2017, Burlington experienced their warmest day on record since 1884 when record keeping began. Today, for the second year in a row, we matched that record. Thaws in the 40's and 50's degrees are recurring. But in the 60's? This trend concerns us. 

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A comical community-based illustration of this trend is the Joe's Pond Ice Out, a local lottery where residents in West Danville take bets on the date when the ice breaks up enough for a weighted palette to fall through the cracks. While it's not endowed with the precision needed to find their way into a scientific journal, it does reveal trends.


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Since the social science experiment began in 1988, it has revealed a trend of earlier and earlier icing out of Joe's Pond. Anyone having lived in Vermont since then would likely report the same anecdotally: an increasing trend of winter ending prematurely whether it be an early thaw or a petering-out sooner than expected.

We here at the Vineyard are committed to sustainability. We care for the planet as much as we care for our grapes and producing great wine. It's days like this where we contemplate our collective impact on the climate and begin to wonder what the Champlain Valley will look like in 50, 100, 500 years. It's days like this when we remind ourselves the ways in which we reduce our impact on the planet and the ways in which we can improve. 

So while you're reveling in this temporary winter heat wave, we encourage you to do the same. There are myriad ways to improve our impact whether it be more efficient showers, walking to work, or buying local produce that hasn't burned gallons of fossil fuels to find its way to you. 

Peace, Love, and Wine
- the Shelburne Vineyard Team

July: Hopefully the Month of Sunshine

With the passing of a soggy June, we turn to July for high hopes of some kind of sunshine here in Vermont. June was a long, wet, yet exceedingly productive month for us here at the vineyard. In a cabin-fever fueled frenzy we burst into July with exciting news.

In anticipation of some summer sun this month, we released Capsize, our go-anywhere-you-want wine in a can. Hopefully this inspires all of you to partake of glorious summer activities like hiking, kayaking, or even beach bumming (my personal favourite).

After a brief hiatus, lady Louise Swenson has returned in a new vintage to grace our shelves with her dry wit finishing with a crisp, summery smile.

In addition to those beauties, we are proud to announce the release of the 2015 Petite Pearl, a gloriously dry and moody red wine . Petite Pearl is the perfect accompaniment to curling up in the afternoon with a good book and pretty rainfall (should this weather pattern continue).

So whatever you're doing this summer, make sure you do it with some wine. We've got all your options covered!



July 6th, First Thursday Concert Series- This month we're hangin' out with Blue Cricket. Admission is free, and this event is family friendly, so bring the kids along to boogie!

July 13th, Trivia Night- The VT Historical Society wants to know how much of a VT patriot you are. Come and test your nerding skills!

July 14th, Bluegrass and BBQ- Join us on a warm summer night for an evening of Bluegrass with the DuPont Brothers. Our lawn is open, so pop open your chairs and grab some mouth watering barbeque by Bluebird BBQ. Admission is Free and children are welcome

July 18th, Wine and a Story- Come ready to listen or with a story in your back pocket! Doors at 6:45, Storytelling begins at 7:30. Door charge is $5 and enters you to win a door prize.

June Events: Capsize Wine Can Release, Myra Flynn, Bluegrass & BBQ, Wine & Story

This year, June is absolutely jam-packed with exciting events! Please join us for these wonderful festivities that we will be holding this month:

Thursday, June 15 - Myra Flynn will be gracing us with her presence once again to serenade us while we enjoy glasses of wine. Admission is free, and this event is family friendly, so bring the kids along to boogie! Show starts @ 8pm.

Friday, June 16 - Bluegrass & BBQ is back! Tunes supplied by Old Time and Bluegrass, food supplied by Bluebird Barbecue and Fisher Brothers Farm Ice Cream, libations supplied by Fiddlehead Brewing Company and Shelburne Vineyard, and dancing supplied by you! Admission is free, the event is family friendly, and the party starts at 6pm!

Tuesday, June 20 - Wine & Story Open Mic will be hosted by Recille Hamrell and Emilie Stigliani. Treat yourself to a night of shared stories and award-winning wine. Come just to listen or share your story! Admission is $5, and you will be entered to win a prize provided by Shelburne Vineyard. Doors @ 6:45pm, storytelling begins @ 7:30pm.

Wednesday & Thursday, June 21 & 22 - Capsize Wine: Can Release! Join us at our winery and tasting room in Shelburne, VT to celebrate the release of Capsize Wine, Vermont's first canned wine! We will be selling discounted 4-packs for these two days only, so come get your wine in a can and on the cheap, fresh off the canning line! We will be open from 11am-6pm, so take home a few cans, dust off the canoe, and have no fear because "If you flip the boat, the cans will float!"

A Snow-Coated Start to Spring

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Here in Shelburne, it is hard to believe that spring is upon us. With arctic air rolling in from the north, the fresh coating of snow that arrived last week has turned to a hard sheet of ice. Frigid breezes flow through the open windows in our winery, helping to cold-stabilize our white wines in their frost-covered stainless steel tanks, while the yeast in our ice wine powers through the concentrated grape sugars.

As Winter Storm Stella raged outside, our winery crew braved the snowy road conditions to bottle everyone's favorite white wine: Lake View White. This delicious, semi-dry blend of Cayuga, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay beautifully balances sweetness with acidity, while pleasing any palate on a warm spring day. There's a good reason why it's been affectionately nicknamed "The Porch Pounder."

Visit our Shop page to order a case right to your doorstep! Use promo code HALFVINE on orders over $90 to receive 10% off, and promo code FULLVINE on orders over $180 to receive 15% off! In the area? Swing by our tasting room in Shelburne, VT for a glass!