Uncorked: An Evening with Shelburne Vineyard

Over the summer you might have noticed a change in our regular class programming as we headed out to farms and vineyards for events and programming rather than our traditional kitchen-based classes. Not to worry, the beloved A Mosaic of Flavor and Taste of Eritrea series (along with many others) will soon return with a full roster of cooking classes in September.

This summer we brought back our Mozzarella Making 101 class held at Bread and Butter Farm as well as a Grilling Fundamentals class down at the Intervale and we added a new offsite Wine & Cheese Pairing class at Shelburne Vineyards!

Shelburne Vineyards is located right off of Route 7, across from Folino’s Pizza and Fiddlehead Brewing Company. On a beautiful sunny afternoon in July, 20 class participants gathered at the tasting room for an evening of delicious wine and cheese! To start, Tory Walters, the Tasting Room Manager, took the group out to the vineyard to see the grapes up close and personal. Here, Tory began by giving a little background about the vineyard. She told the group about how Ken Albert, the founder, began propagating seeds in his backyard over 35 years ago. Now, Shelburne Vineyard has 5 subsections of 17 acres of land throughout Chittenden County, each growing a different style of grapes! Shelburne Vineyard is proud to be a local Vermont producer and while the Vermont climate does not allow the growth of traditional grape varieties (like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay), they offer plenty of other unique varietals. Fun fact: you won’t see any fruit for 3-5 years after you first plant your grape vine!

After everyone had a chance to walk among the beautiful vines, Tory brought folks over to the production space of the vineyard where she explained the step-by-step process of wine making. First, the grapes are harvested, and then run through a line of machines until they are ready to be placed in a tank or wooden oak barrel. After some yeast is added to the mushy grape mixture, the real magic begins! The tanks and oak barrels are where the grapes begin to ferment before the final product is ready!

Because of the unpredictable nature of fermentation, a dual method is used to determine when the wine is finished. The wine is both tasted by a panel of people and also sent off to a lab to be tested, and Tory shared that no two wine batches ever take the same amount of time to ferment.

After all this walking around and information, the whole group was ready for some wine and cheese!

Tory started by walking everyone through the proper way to taste wine, which in contrast to popular belief is not a particularly attractive process, especially because it involves trying to stick your entire nose into your wine glass. Everyone had a chance to try four different wines and cheeses, paired with each glass. Below is the menu from our July class (notice all of the divine local cheeses scattered throughout):

Tory also handed out a flavor wheel, so participants got to try out using different descriptor words for the different wines. Our palates are so different so it was fun to hear how each person had a different way of describing the same wine. For example, one person described a wine having a “raspberry” flavor and another described that same wine as having a “coppery” taste!

As the sun began to set over the vineyard, participants slowly trickled out as another summer class came to a close.


With our fall classes starting to pick up, be sure to stay up to date on the latest class listings by signing up for our e-newsletter here and be sure to sign up for our next Wine & Cheese Pairing class with Shelburne Vineyard on Thursday, September 12thhere!