New Rockbridge vineyard prepares for grand opening

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:13 PM EDT
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - If you saw Michael Weatherly out trimming up the Cabernet Franc vines, you’d think he’s an old hand at it.

But you’d be wrong.

“We’ve both been in the hospitality business for a really long time, so we have some experience with something like this,” he said, “just never a winery and a vineyard.”

And a nascent vineyard at that. The property came with some vines, but they have added over 5,000 more to move from personal production to something more commercial: the Ecco Adesso vineyard.

“They’re just little baby vines with grow tubes right now,” said Janine Aquino, the general manager.

They’ll be producing in about three years, which means in the meantime they’ll be serving wines from some of the surrounding vineyards.

“So that people can still come, enjoy wine, enjoy the ambiance, the experience, get some light bites,” Aquino said, “so that we’re producing some revenue coming in even before the vines are ready to be harvested.”

“And the beauty of it is, and what we’re really trying to do is, highlight the wines on this side of the ridgeline,” Weatherly explained.

It’s a business that was actually started by COVID, when the family moved away from the city to avoid the pandemic.

“You know, it was like this crazy new world of no one knew what to expect, and we were fortunate enough to have a place to escape to and connect as a family,” Weatherly said, “and so we didn’t really know what was going to happen, so …”

So, what did happen was a new chapter in their life, learning how to make the sort of wines they enjoy for everyone.

“We have a huge wine cellar below that we have to fill up,” laughed Weatherly. “It’s pretty empty now, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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