Promised Land

Can you produce a world-class wine in the Virginia piedmont?

Photo credit: Mark Edward Atkinson

The story of Rutger de Vink and his RdV vineyards has been chronicled (“Rock Star,” “Gutsy Gambit,”  “Virginia’s Rogue Winemaker”) across multiple publications in the scant two-and-a-half years since the winery’s first vintage was released: former Marine officer, making a success of himself in the boom-boom world of telecom venture capital, wearied of suits and ties and soulless suburbia and living for the weekend. He longed to be outdoors. He longed for work that, like the Marines, wasn’t a job, but a way of life. Drinking Champagne at a New Year’s Eve party, he had an epiphany—“I’ve got to change my life.”

Intrigued by the wine business, he read a lot of books on the subject, called up a Virginia-based expert viticulturist, Lucie Morton, and asked, “Hey, can you make a world-class wine in Virginia?”

Because de Vink likes a challenge, and he doesn’t do things by half measures, he would set himself the ambition of making not just a good wine, not a great Virginia wine, but a world-class wine; a wine that could be, as they say in the business “in the game,” that could earn its place at the table with the best of Bordeaux and Napa.

From “Promised Land,” in Virginia Living. Read more.

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