Birth of a Vineyard

The vineyard at Va La winery in Pennsylvania has shown early promise of great things to come

Ella Morris
Anthony Vietri (pictured) planted his first vineyard in 1999.

The Burgundians are fond of the word climat, which, in essence, is a small vineyard definable only by the sky above and the earth below and the vines in between. As a wine writer, I have been privileged to walk in some of the world’s most-famous climats, such as Le Montrachet and Clos Vougeot, and to see them as the farmer sees them and then to drink wine from them made by that farmer or someone in her or his family. It’s a thrilling experience.

But these are vineyards that come with a history, often centuries of it. Surely, there must also be new vineyards which have the potential for one day being notable climates, possibly even great ones, which we can see being born in front of our eyes. In my judgment, there would have to be — and there may be even be one such vineyard a few miles from where I live along the northern Piedmont plateau in Southeast Pennsylvania. Yes, Pennsylvania.

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MikeMadaio's picture

As a ChesCo resident I've been visiting Va La for many years. I had a conversation with Anthony not too long ago, and one of the things that really struck me about our conversation (that relates directly to this piece) was his commitment to figuring out which grapes worked best on his little piece of terroir. He talked about how in Europe they've had hundreds of years to figure it out, but in PA we're basically just getting started. As such, he's not afraid to rip out a patch of vines that aren't performing and replace them with something else. A great start not only for us, but for future generations.

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