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Author: The Daily Progress

A new winery in Keswick is drawing inspiration from the local heritage of the land. Southwest Mountains Vineyards is already making a splash in the Virginia wine country.

The new winery in Keswick is drawing inspiration from the local heritage of fox hunting and love of the land.

Southwest Mountains Vineyards is already making a splash in the Virginia wine country. The enterprise has been open for little more than a month. Its soft opening for the trade and official opening for the public on Oct. 1, just in time for Virginia Wine Month, drew a crowd of hundreds. The tasting room is already selling a variety of wines made from grapes grown on site, including a reserve petit verdot. And the setting will be playing host to the Monticello Wine Trail Celebration Wednesday evening, capping off this year’s harvest season a day after the Monticello Wine Trail was named Wine Enthusiast’s “Wine Region of the Year.”


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Author: CACVB Press Release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) is thrilled to announce that the Charlottesville area and the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA) have won Wine Region of the Year in Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Star Awards. The Charlottesville area was just one of five wine regions nominated around the world for this prestigious award and was the only nominee located in North America. Wine Enthusiast’s executive media team made its winning selections based on many factors, including impact on consumers and trade in the wine space, company or brand vision, and trendsetting. The Wine Star Awards celebrate the innovation of individuals and entities that have significantly contributed to the success of the wine and alcoholic beverage world.

The region’s history with wine dates to the days of Thomas Jefferson, who believed Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s terroir to be ideal for growing grapevines. While Jefferson’s intuition about the land was correct, the varieties of grapes he chose were not. After several failed grape-growing experiments at Jefferson’s mountaintop home of Monticello, the region did not see successful vineyard ventures until the mid-1970s, when winemakers began experimenting with grapes better suited for the land. Since that time, the Monticello Wine Trail was created and has flourished, currently boasting more than 40 vineyards within a 25-mile radius of Charlottesville. The Monticello Wine Trail regularly receives major accolades in the annual Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition and in 2023, won nearly half of all the gold medals awarded.

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Author: Richard Leahy, Wine and Country
The newest vineyard and winery to open in the Monticello AVA is Southwest Mountains Vineyards in Keswick, VA. The “soft” opening for the trade, and official opening on October 1st, just in time for Virginia Wine Month, saw over 400 attendees each time.

If you’ve driven on Route 231 and seen the large vineyard to the west of the road labeled “Castalia”, that’s part of the estate. Castalia is a historical farm of some 800 acres and was part of the original Meriwether Lewis land grant. The farm used to grow apple and peach trees and was always noted for the quality of its crops. The Monticello AVA winery has 72 acres of vines under cultivation, with plans to expand to 100 acres. The entrance to the winery is from Stony Point Pass in Cismont, west off Route 231, turning onto Whipper In Lane.

Paul and Diane Manning, the founders of Southwest Mountains Vineyards, have lived in the area since 1996. Paul is a successful entrepreneur and investor and the two are noted for their philanthropy. Diane loves horses, horse breeding and the culture of the community hunt—in their case, the Keswick Hunt Club. This love of horses and foxhunting in particular is evident in the equestrian décor.

The Mannings’ natural generosity and love of land conservation, combined with the support of neighbors and the wine community, including Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards, Carl Tinder of Tinder Viticultural Services and the Hodsons of Veritas Vineyards, led them to decide to share the beauty of the estate, the barn and their wines with the public.

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Author: Jennifer Bryerton, Wine and Country 

Boela Gerber is an internationally renowned winemaker from South Africa who recently made the move to Virginia. He now heads the winery at Southwest Mountains Vineyards (SMV), an exciting new winery near Charlottesville in Keswick, Virginia. Our cofounder, Jen Bryerton, had the privilege of visiting his previous place of employment—Groot Constantia, the oldest farm winery in South Africa. Watch for that story coming to our luxury print publication in 2024. Gerber enjoyed over two decades of international recognition making award-winning wines as Groot Constantia’s head winemaker.

Virginia Wine & Country Life caught up with the talented winemaker when Gerber first arrived in the Monticello wine region to ask him about his career as well as his hopes for his exciting new venture here in the Commonwealth. Gerber has a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture with majors in Oenology and Viticulture, not to mention his official designation of Cape Wine Master and experience working in vineyards and cellars around the world. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the Monticello wine region at this brilliant new winery in Keswick.

 

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