Episode 12

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards - North Garden, VA Pt. 1

We visit the state of Virginia, home to our latest winery. Hi, this is Dean Andrews from Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards outside Charlottesville, Virginia. There are over two hundred fifty registered vineyards and wineries in the state of Virginia. Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards is located in the Monticello American viticulture area. It's a member of the Virginia Winery Association in the Monticello Wine Trail. As we will learn in the upcoming episodes, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards has got everything your imagination could want in a farm and winery. And Dean, what inspired all of this? I was interested in building up my own small boutique hotel winery ownership and management company because, for a number of years, I was the senior operating officer of Orient-Express Hotels. I joined them in nineteen ninety-five when I sold our Charleston Place Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina; as part of building up Orient Express on the North American side, we owned a number of fantastic luxury businesses, including the 21 Club in New York. So the 21 Club, which has one of the largest and most renowned wine cellars in the U.S., was also a good experience for me to learn. And I was able to get the import license to bring the Capannelle wines into the U.S. So I think I sort of understood the winery business from a very pragmatic, entrepreneurial. How do you build up a winery? So it's not about going in and planting grapes and then kind of figuring out what happens down the road. So it is a much more strategic investment. And after having left the Orient Express, my wife, Lynn, and I, we're settled here in Charlottesville, and we're taking a look at what we can do together as a partnership on the business side. Lynn has Eastern events, which is one of the premier destinations, wedding planning, and design. I'm proud of her. She's been named by publications like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and Town and Country Weddings is one of the top planners and designers for her industry literally in the world. So we put our heads together, and we looked at what she's probably 20 different properties and kept coming back to this one particular location. And then we brought in viticulture, listen, to determine what the soil was like and the wells and everything. And that's how we decided to go ahead and build up and launch Pippin Hill. So after doing your due diligence, seeing that the area and the soil can sustain a winery, how did you decide what type of winery you would create? Because not only have you got to financial responsibility, but this part of Virginia has got a huge history of deep, rich American history. And you want to do all of that proud. We set out to build a very different business model for the winery. We wanted it to be a culinary winery, which had a really strong connection to our immediate grounds. So when we put together the initial business plan on it, we hired a viticulturist, obviously, to help us get the vines in and sort out the soil conditions in the varietals. And we expanded the starting from six acres to where we now have 40 acres. So it's growing a lot when we start the first year, only doing fifteen hundred, eighteen hundred cases, and we're up to about ten, twelve thousand cases now. So it was very much a planned growth. And we also have taken a look at how do you keep a business fresh every year? In part two of our interview with Dean Andrews' of Phippen Hill Farm and Vineyards, Dean will answer that very question. Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly. This episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by IHYSM. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe; until next time, pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.

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About the Podcast

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The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast
The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast is a weekly podcast by Forrest Kelly exploring wineries around the world. We take 5 minutes and give you wine conversation starters and travel destinations.

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Forrest Kelly

I've been a Ram fan since the Fearsome Foursome roamed the backfields of opposing teams.