It began in 1969 when IBM moved engineer, gardener and wine lover, Ken Albert, to VT and he planted grapes in his backyard. Inspired by the vineyards he discovered on IBM trips to Quebec in the 1990’s, upon his retirement from IBM he leased 3 acres of land in 1997, leasing another plot in 1998, to launch Shelburne Vineyard. He was soon joined in the adventure by Shelburne neighbor, Scott Prom.
VT winter temperatures often dip well below zero and short humid summers mean VT grapes require strong disease-resistance. A new family of Midwest-developed grapes combining cold-hardiness with fine wine characteristics and bearing names like Marquette, Louise Swenson and LaCrescent offered a promising future, so Ken purchased land, planted 4 more acres of vines and built a LEED certified Winery/Tasting Room that opened in 2008. Soon a new partner, Sam Coppola, joined the venture adding land in neighboring Charlotte, bringing planted acreage to about 16 acres.
With decades of Ken’s grape-growing, Scott’s home-winemaking and Sam’s marketing expertise, along with a passion to learn, the Vineyard thrived. Ethan Joseph, who joined staff upon graduation from UVM, now manages Vineyard/Winemaking operations and has earned national acclaim for his winemaking and leadership in working with cold-climate grapes. Together with a talented, passionate Winery/Vineyard crew and Tasting Room team the Vineyard has become an innovative leader in cold-climate winemaking, consistently earning Best of Show medals in International competitions. Their passion for quality and innovation has broken new ground with its Capsize single-serve canned wines and a new family of naturally-fermented, minimal intervention Iapetus* wines.
The Tasting Room offers a warm welcome, elegant hand-crafted fixtures, patios with sweeping vineyard views and an upstairs Loft. Widely enjoyed all-year-round for tours, concerts and private events and respected for its community engagement, the Vineyard is open seven-days-a-week, and is consistently is named “Best Vermont Winery” by readers of VT weekly Seven Days.
*Iapetus: Over 500 million years ago, long before the present day Atlantic, the shoreline and tropical waters of the Iapetus Ocean, once existed in what is now the Champlain Basin. http://atlas.lcbp.org/nature-environment/geology/ancient-oceans-mountain-building/
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