This is our baby. The Nevaeh Vineyard is so incredibly unique it is unlikely anyone will have quite the same terroir as what we have. The main factors that make Nevaeh what it is are the varying soils and exposures, being close to and on the East side of the Catoctin Foothills, and our influence from the Potomac River and Shadow Lake. The different soils and exposures help us be successful with several varieties that are suited for varying levels of sunlight and heat, as well as how they work in different soils - whether it is our limestone-rich clay of the Hill, sandier soils of the Pond, or the harder red clay of the Road blocks. Most of our weather incidences come to us from the West. The Catoctin Hills will block some of those storms and create a mini rain shadow that we sit in, resulting in a vineyard that gets less rain than almost anyone around us. Shadow Lake and the Potomac have a great moderating effect on our vineyard. Because the river is so fast flowing and the lake is so deep, they seldom freeze which helps moderate the temperature in the winter so we have less of an issue for frost or winter damage.
The valley the Potomac runs through is also quite breezy and where we sit is an area called the Lost Corner which almost always has a breeze. There are two inlets of this valley that separate our Hill and Pond block where these winds come together and create a mini cyclone-type feel, creating constant stir flow on our vines keeping them healthier and also a little cooler in the summer. This allows us to let the fruit hang a while longer in order to get optimum ripeness of flavors, color, and tannins. All plantings prior to 2013 were planted with an East/West orientation leaving us with a South side and North side to the vine. We have to treat our vineyard differently due to this orientation, as it is not the norm in the wine industry, but we have been finding it can also give us a great advantage for complexity. With multiple passes through each block, we will pick the different sides of the vines at different times, which give some variance in the character of the grapes and allows us to have more to work with in creating the wines we feel best describe the site. Our newer plantings have been done with a more high-density approach to help create vine to vine competition, forcing the roots deeper and in turn, bringing more character to the wine. All of the vines are trained to a Double Guyot, which is a cane pruned Vertical Shoot Positioning, with our fruiting wire at 30 inches about ground. The low fruiting wire helps with radiation from the ground below the fruit, helping to cool the fruit in the hot days, and warm it in the cool nights. It also allows more canopy upwards to generate better sugar ripening. The VSP system and cane pruning are also used because it creates a cleaner, more manageable canopy and better balanced yield, resulting in better quality fruit and a more sustainable approach with less need of chemicals. Each shoot (roughly 16 per vine) is allowed only one cluster of grapes keeping our tonnage at between 2-3 tons per acre in most cases. This is well below the average goal and is done in order to grow for better concentration.