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The views at Delaplane Cellars are memorable
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The Vineyard, the View, the Vino All “Wow” At Delaplane Cellars
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By Dulcy Hooper for Middleburg Life
elaplane Cellars describes itself as a boutique family winery, committed to producing ultra premium, artisanal wines grown in a select handful of meticulously managed vineyards “by growers who, like us, are obsessed Contributed Photo with quality.” Jim Dolphin of Delaplane Cellars When searching for a vineyard, owners Jim and Betsy Dolphin wanted four things, and surveyed over 100 sites to find that perfect com- ters, which are small half- and one-ton fermentbination: an excellent vineyard site for red wine ing bins. Depending upon the vintage and their grapes, a spectacular view, easy access to a major evaluation of the particular lot of fruit, they punch down the cap one to three times daily. road and a community of wineries. Jim Dolphin’s obsession with winemaking Delaplane Cellars’ building was designed began in 1998, as a home winemaker. By 2005, and positioned to maximize the natural resources. he was making 28 different wines in the basement In the tasting room, there is significant accomof their home. After an exhaustive, multi-year modation to the environment. The water cups search of land in several counties, the vineyards are made from corn; the napkins and paper towels and winery was purchased in 2007, perched on are made of recycled paper; the light fare offered romantic Lost Mountain just off Route 17 in the is from local farmers and bakers. The wine production area and barrel room Crooked Run Valley. are substantially underground, minimizing energy “We’re fortunate to live, farm and realize our use. The tasting room features a wall of glass, dream in the historic Crooked Run Valley,” Jim said, “which is not only breathtaking in its beauty accentuating breathtaking views of the valley and scenic countryside. The tasting room bar, doors, but has significant roots in history.” He immediately began reaching out to Vir- front steps, flooring, fireplace and retaining walls ginia growers to purchase fruit. Delaplane Cel- come from trees, wood and stone walls that were lars’ vineyard ethics are simple: All wine is made on the property and removed during the developfrom authentic Virginia wine grapes, with a phi- ment of the vineyards and winery. Reviews by many visitors on Yelp and Trip losophy of “less is more.” Advisor focus in equal measure on the wine This “less is more” policy comes down to mandating that less outside influence from the and the scenery, with many noting that photowinemaker or staff yields more authentic and graphs of the vineyard cannot do it justice. higher quality wine. And true to that vision, a “Breathtaking is an understatement,” said one prominent sign as one approaches the property reviewer. “. . . the most beautiful tasting room states: “We cannot accommodate groups over in the area.”…“The room was striking, with floor six, buses or limousines at any time.” Nor do they to ceiling windows.”…“ The quality of the wine accommodate children, although dogs can be stood out”…” This winery has incredible sweeping views of not only the vines, but also the walked outside on a leash. The Delaplane Cellars’ philosophy about mountains.”…“Wow! Delaplane Cellars knocked wine and the environment are specific and my socks off.” On a recent Saturday, a friend invited me to straight forward: In the vineyards, 100 percent Virginia wine grapes are used. Jim and Betsy join her for a tasting and sampling of Delaplane partner with local farmers in respectful collabo- Cellars’ “light fare.” At the end of a delightful ration. In the development of the vineyards and afternoon and in the spirit of the moment, I winery, they used almost exclusively local trades. decided to sign up as a member of the Wine Traditional methods are used to craft Club. When I return home with new purchases Delaplane Cellars’ wines. Whites are whole clus- (wine and otherwise) my husband frequently tered pressed and barrel fermented in a combina- casts a suspicious glance my way, or gives a sign of tion of new and older French oak barrels. They resignation. Keeping in character, he did so this use commercial yeast strains, primarily French, time, as well. A day or two later, opening a bottle of Melange Rouge, his suspicion was replaced by for primary fermentation. Delaplane Cellars’ reds are sorted twice, first appreciation. “Wow,” he said. n in the vineyard and again after de-stemming. By sorting in this fashion, any remaining stems and Delaplane Cellars Club Member’s Winter Wine jacks as well as under-ripe berries are discarded. Release is scheduled for Feb. 22. Numerous live Only pristine fruit finds its way into the fermen- events are scheduled throughout the month.