Going out to the field with these folks takes away the glamour and shows the hard work, sweat, and tears that go into making wine. So many decisions to make, and always being at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Our first trip was to Boxwood Winery located in Middleburg, Virginia. We didn’t have time to stop in the town but it looked like a great place to poke around for the afternoon. Maybe next time. At lunch, I had the privilege of sitting next to the energetic Rachel Martin, Boxwood’s Executive Vice President.
Rachel’s parents are the owners of Boxwood. They were living in Bermuda and wanted to come back to Virginia to start up a winery, but only if Rachel would find the land and run the winery. She agreed with the plan, as long as she could study to prepare well for this venture.
Unable (or unwilling) to decide between the two, she attended both Napa Valley College and the University of Bordeaux. At both institutions, she built up an impressive peer network in addition to the formal learning.
I asked Rachel why she chose Virginia. “It’s home,” she answered. This attitude shows – the staff seem like they are all part of a big family. Adam McTaggart, Boxwood’s winemaker and vineyard manager, is another great person to chat with. Adam’s original plan was to work in a vineyard to pay for his college tuition, but making wine turned into a lifelong passion for him.
Boxwood has employed Stephane Derenoncourt from Bordeaux as a consultant. They make only red wine: Boxwood, their Medoc style blend, Topiary, their St Emilion style blend and Rosé, which is blended from select varietals.
Merlot makes up the largest percentage in the vineyard (~37%) with cabernet franc (~34%), cabernet sauvignon (19%), with small amounts of petit verdot and malbec.
Adam gave us a tour of Boxwood’s cave, an architecturally beautiful room designed to feel like the inside of a barrel. Boxwood uses French oak exclusively, aging its wines for up to 12 months. Barrels are used for 3 years and then replaced.
Boxwood is a National Historic Landmark which used to be a horse farm. The winery includes a beautiful tasting room nestled into a 16 acre vineyard.
Boxwood is now open for tasting and tours. Unfortunately you’ll only be able to peek into the cave from the outside. I encourage you to have a glass of Boxwood’s rosé while you’re walking around!