What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
I quite enjoy fun and obscure holidays. While my favorite is Pi Day, March also brings another interesting one: March 5th, Learn What Your Name Means Day. There is often a lot of meaning in a name, whether it be for a person, pet, place, business, product, etc. For example, though a quick Googling teaches me that my name means “who resembles God”, my parents chose Michelle as a feminine version of the name Michael, naming me after my father’s best friend, who I fondly call “Uncle Mike.”
Names give us a sense of identity, including for businesses. Walter Filippini, who owns Le Vigne Winery with his lovely spouse Sylvia Filippini, was born and raised in Italy. Family tradition is of utmost importance to the Filippini’s, so it is not surprising that their winery would be given an Italian name. Le Vigne translates to The Vineyards, and the Estate vineyards also have Italian names: “Domenico” and “Acquarello”. These vineyards are rich in history and fun facts.
The winery is nestled between several blocks of the Domenico Estate Vineyard, which was the first vineyard to be planted for Le Vigne, back in the 1980s. The namesake for this vineyard comes from Walter’s father, Domenico, and his son, Domenic. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were grown first. With its clay loam soil and flat, open terrain, other grapevine plantings have thrived allowing us to expand to include many additional varieties including Viognier, Syrah, Malbec, Tannat, Corvina, Mourvedre, Primitivo, and Nero d’Avola, to name a few. Viticulture enthusiasts enjoy learning that we have some notable clones in this vineyard including To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon and Alban clone Syrah. Block 6 Cabernet Sauvignon contains the oldest vines at Le Vigne, and grapes from this block are typically used for Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and Nikiara. Another Domenico fun fact: This property also houses a temperamental swan and three Pulman train cars.
The Acquarello Estate Vineyard is only a couple of miles to the northeast of the winery, as the crow flies. Acquarello translates from Italian to “watercolor”, named for the influence of the river across the landscape as it paints itself into the terrain. The only variety we grow in the Acquarello vineyard that we do not also grow in the Domenico vineyard is Sangiovese. We use this Sangiovese for our beautiful Rosé of Sangiovese, new Estate Blanc de Noir sparkling wine (not yet released), Cuore della Vigna blend, and Estate Sangiovese. Other varieties currently grown in this vineyard are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Sauvignon from Acquarello has been used for all seven vintages of the Heritage Series which feature a portrait of Domenico on the label. For our Estate Petit Verdot and Merlot wines, we may use either Acquarello grapes or Domenico grapes, but not both, to keep each wine as a single vineyard bottling. It is the winemaker’s decision, based on intense scrutiny, to choose which vineyard produced the best wines for the given year.
The Acquarello property also grows 54 acres of hay. We compost the pumice collected during harvest for one year before using this material to fertilize the crop. This not only increases our sustainability but also provides food for the multitude of farm animals, most of which are rescues. Another Acquarello fun fact: Poncho, a massive white dog who belongs to our vineyard manager, Rafa, can be seen running up and down the fence line of this property as cars drive by.
Grapes from both vineyards produce the beautiful wines that we offer at Le Vigne. Keep checking back to see the exciting offerings we will have in the future. Rumor has it, we may offer some new wines such as Albariño and Carmenere. Zinfandel may make an appearance on our lineup again as well. But those are just rumors (wink, wink), so stay tuned for further information in the months and years to come.
While great wine can only come from great grapes, the operation of the winery is just as important to its success. Italian tradition runs through our daily operations, quite noticeably in the tasting room through warm hospitality. Walter and Sylvia set the example of doing everything with love. Whether it be through a Winemaker’s Dinner, preparing cheese plates for paired tastings, striving to make incredible wine, and everything in between and all around, we pour our hearts into providing a memorable experience to all who visit Le Vigne Winery. Come see us soon and share with us the meaning of your name!
By Enologist Michelle Zentmyer Moss