I am by no means a connoisseur of wines who can speak expertly about the palate and various notes, however, I am absolutely a consumer of FAB-ulous wine! Imagine my delight when I was offered a chance to assist with the harvest of grapes at Fabbioli Cellars, located just north of Leesburg.
The only previous knowledge I had of wine making was culled from movies showcasing grape-stomping festivals with everyone’s pant legs rolled up and laughter abounding as participants attempted to maintain their balance. This, is not quite how it went down when I showed up for the morning.
The owner, Doug Fabbioli drove up in a golf cart, said “hop on!” and handed me a pair of snips. As we drove through the vineyard, Doug pointed out the various varieties of grapes grown there, including:
- Cabernet Franc
- Petit Verdot
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- San Granting
After being introduced to some of the season’s interns, we set off to harvest.
Armed with yellow bins and stationed at intervals, the snipping commenced. I was most surprised by the resilience of the grapes and the beautiful formation of the bunches. After a couple of hours of harvesting (that’s not necessarily easy work!), it was time to learn about the next steps: de-stemming and pressing.
For more details on the winemaking process, stop by Fabbioli’s Cellars! Their knowledgeable staff is always willing and thrilled to share their knowledge and if you’re lucky, Doug will be on hand to answer even more questions!
Doug’s story is fascinating. His grandfather, Leone Fabbioli, made wine during the 1940’s in his basement. He taught Doug early that knowing where your grapes came from was important, hence Doug’s continued respect for quality and understanding the importance of both growing the grape and making the wine in one location.
Doug has worked with many fine winemakers including the legendary Andre Tchelicheff and after moving back to the East Coast, accepted a winemaker position at a Lucketts, VA winery in 1997, followed by the Vintner position for Windham. After winning many honors of gold, silver and bronze, Doug’s passion led him to begin his own winery operation. Known for their red wines and unique food pairing tasting menu, Fabiolli Cellars’ 25-acre vineyard continues to bring notorious awards to the Fabbioli name.
Open Daily, 11 AM to 5 PM | 703.771.1197
15669 Limestone School Road Leesburg, VA 20176
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