Vermont winter

Wine & Chocolate - In Collaboration with Bijou Fine Chocolates


As December falls upon us, and the temperatures drop, our palates and stomachs urge us to change our diets. Spring time calls for rose', summer beckons for crisp whites, autumn brings in semi-dry wines, and winter demands reds. From light salads, to hearty stews, we fine-tune our meals and culinary desires to the weather that surrounds us. Here at Shelburne Vineyard, summer time means cheese and wine pairings on the patio. To us, nothing screams summer like a flight of our Vermont Grown wines, paired perfectly with a selection of locally produced cheeses, overlooking the lush grapevines. As winter approaches, we duck inside to the winery and tasting room, relaxing in our cozy, warm loft. Personally, my desire for sweets explodes when the holiday season hits.

Fortunately for us, our tasting room and winery is located directly across the street from Bijou Fine Chocolates. Kevin Toohey, alongside his wife Laura, daughter Virginia, and son Rowan produce artisanal, European-style chocolates that are truly mind blowing. From chocolate covered almonds, to Italian orange peels coated in dark chocolate, to a wide assortment of fresh truffles and more, Bijou covers all the bases when it comes to sweets. 

Born from our past years' Valentine's Day Wine and Chocolate Pairing events, our staff here has been working with Bijou to develop a pairing menu to offer regularly in our tasting room. After a long, intensive (and delicious) pairing trial session, we chose the best four Wine and Chocolate pairings to offer to our beloved customers on a regular basis, so no need to wait until Valentine's Day!

For $17, we are now offering a Wine and Chocolate Pairing, featuring four of our carefully selected Shelburne Vineyard wines, and four delicious, fresh truffles, all paired to produce sensory bliss. We are offering this pairing menu any day of the week, from 11am to 5pm. Please bring a friend or a loved one, and stop by the tasting room to explore the world of Wine and Chocolate. Due to the freshness of the truffles, we keep a small supply of chocolate to ensure the absolute freshest products, but have no fear! If we run out, our staff will promptly run across the street to Bijou for a fresh new batch!

Humans of the Vine: Ice Wine

      Leave the grapes on the vine they say...let them freeze for a while they say...they'll make delicious wine they say.

How right they are!

frozen grapes

frozen grapes

It's Ice Wine season around these parts and we couldn't wait to get our hands on those delicious frozen berries.  Ice Wine is something we've been producing here for a while given our uniquely frigid climate. Our Vermont grown Ice Wine is made primarily from Vidal Blanc grapes, field blended with a small amount of Arctic Riesling.  Although, I'll let you in on a little secret, we will be harvesting some Marquette grapes to use for a separate Ice Wine this year!

Ice-wine blog photo

Ice-wine blog photo

We sent out a crew of staff and community members at the break of dawn on a frigid 12 ̊ Fahrenheit morning for harvest. The stems on the grapes are so brittle when frozen that the crew used an interesting technique of shaking the vines to release the grapes.  Once the grapes fell into the netting, it was opened, and the grapes dropped to fill the bins below.  Ice wine harvest is quick work as we want to make sure the grapes don't warm up too much in the process!

What's so special about these grapes anyway, besides the fact that they are frozen? Well, due to the extended period of ripening, the frozen grapes harvested for Ice Wine have a much higher sugar content making them perfect for dessert wine! This sugar content is measured in units called Brix. This year the juice we harvested immediately from the frozen grapes held about 42 brix, we expect that the finished product will contain a residual sugar content between 20-23 brix.  In case you don't know, that's some sweet wine considering our other, more typical wine only has 1-3% residual sugar! Not only does the sweetness make it special, but the sheer amount of grapes it takes to produce juice from frozen grapes is about 20% more than normal grape harvest.  Out of the 1.6 tons of Ice Wine grapes harvested this year, we were able to yield only 184 gallons of juice.

ice wine and glass

ice wine and glass

          According to our head winemaker Ethan, it's looking like a good year for Ice Wine! He says a great ripening season, which isn't always achieved, allowed for an excellent development of flavor and aroma that will surely shine through in each bottle.

  Authored By: Beth Abbott