Birth of a Vineyard

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

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.