' Spring 2017 - 2017 Events and 2016 Vintage
Tarara Winery
For Your Reading Pleasure!
Can you believe it's already March?  With the weather we've been having, it sure seems that bud break and the growing season are just around the corner.  We know we've been practicing radio silence for quite some time, so we wanted to touch base with you all to let you know about cool happenings in the Tasting Room, the lowdown on the 2016 Vintage, as well as events we have lined up in the coming months.  Cheers!
Tasting Room Happenings
A frequently asked question of the staff members at Tarara is, “How would you pair your wines?” While our Nevaeh White 2014 compliments a butter poached lobster, and a Killer Cluster Gregory’s Return with braised short ribs has the tongue asking for more, I would suggest, “You can pair any of our wonderful wines with a friend, laughter and at any location at Tarara”.
Year around, Tarara is a great destination. Our current winter season allows our guests to see the Potomac from our deck while enjoying a bottle of Syrah to remain warm with this unseasonably mild chill. Walk over to Shadow Lake with a glass of Tranquility 2014 to enjoy the geese floating on the water and remind yourself to block your Saturdays this summer for the Summer Concert Series across the water. By the way, for those great times, you might also need to plan ahead and stock-up on cases of #SocialSecret White so you don’t overheat from all the dancing. Should snow ever appear, come into our Tasting Room to experience all the new wines featured on our new menu. You have several options to create your own personal experience. You will notice a rotation of new white wines one month and then different reds the following month. On Saturday and Sunday, we have the Great Room and Dining Room open for the Vine Club serving favorites from the past and teasing you with one or two wines soon to appear in your quarterly pick-ups. Get comfortable next to our fireplace and relax. You can also anticipate a beautiful new tasting area but you will have to visit us in March to enjoy the new addition (you’ll love it!).  Also, did we mention our new Board of Notoriety?  It's right in the middle of the Tasting Room and it's the perfect place to take a selfie with your friends and share with the world!  #winingawaytheday
At any of our locations, you’ll be drinking some of the best wines offered in Virginia and served by a staff who will make you lose track of time and wish you never had to leave. See you soon!
Vintage 2016
What happened and where we're going!
The growing season of 2016 was one to keep your blood pressure high (like most I guess, but for different reasons). In the end, there will likely be three defining events that will make the year what it is for any winegrower.
  1. Late hard freeze
  2. Late September rains
  3. Early fall frost
Aside from the two vintage altering events, the year was really ideal. The bud break was pretty much right on schedule for most varieties or even a bit late being in mid-April to early May. For the most part, the weather was fantastic and everything looked great. Well…except for two nights that had the ability to simply be crushing. We had two very late hard freezes where temperatures in some places plummeted to 22 degrees. At this time all over Northern Virginia, at least Chardonnay had been in full bud break and in many cases had substantial growth. Most other varieties were at varying levels of bud swell. The Nevaeh Vineyard was easily one of the luckiest that we have seen. Our always moderated temperatures certainly came in handy since the most moderated section of the vineyard is where our oldest Chardonnay is planted. It is also the easiest block to take care of for cold weather. The lowest the ambient temperatures got at the top of our Hill block was 28 degrees. The coldest part of our vineyard (lowest portion of Viognier) hit 24 degrees and Hwy 15 and Lucketts Road (3.1 miles away) hit 22 degrees. That goes to show the power of a good site. The warmer temperatures than other places combined with still air gave us an opportunity. Since the Chardonnay is planted at the highest point of the vineyard we were able to have fires at the lowest section to create convection drawing cold air and actually increasing the temperature of the Chardonnay blocks to about 30 degrees and essentially saving the crop. In the end the two freezes had little impact on the year for us.
After the widespread panic from the cold snap in the spring, the year progressed perfectly. The vines were able to make their way through bloom with moderate temperatures and only small amounts of rain to keep the vineyard healthy, but not affect fruit set. That is with the exception of Cabernet Sauvignon which had significant rainfall during flowering, which meant a week fruit set and in the end, quite low yields. Luckily the vintage was the worst for Cabernet of all our varieties anyway.
The summer was also just about perfection. There were scattered rains here and there that equaled just enough to keep the vines from drought stress, but predominately dry. The summer was also quite warm, but not overly hot with zero days over 100 degrees. This sped the vines ripening due to incredibly efficient ripening weather. The nights were also cooler on average.
The harvest season started just as the summer was with not a worry in sight. The fruit started coming in with great acid levels, ripe flavors and moderate sugars. Essentially perfect balance. This kept up for the Chardonnay, Viognier, Petit Manseng, Syrah, Tannat and Merlot. The big altering factor for many was the rains that came at the end of September. There was a decision to be made on the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon was whether or not to pick or hang. It was a slow steady rain for four days which is detrimental to fruit at this stage for dilution and potentially breaking down. That said, post rain looked like great weather so we decided since the fruit was not 100% ready to “weather the storm”. The fruit held up fine and was certainly clean enough to hang for another couple weeks which was the goal. It looked similar to 2010 in this respect. Then we got the cold which created hard frost on the West side of the Catoctins and stunted ripening everywhere else on October 11th. This was too early, but meant it was now picking time regardless for Tranquility. Bethany Ridge and Nevaeh could still hang, but Nevaeh being a bit cooler site never got the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to the level we tend to aim for in ripeness. We will continue to assess these. Bethany Ridge being a hotter site with Southwest exposure fared better and has its tell-tale round riper character.
All Whites – near perfect
Merlot and Syrah – Outstanding
Tannat – Near perfect
Cabernet Sauvignon Bethany Ridge – Outstanding
Cabernet Sauvignon (Nevaeh and Tranquility) and Cabernet Franc - Average
All in all, we're very pleased with 2016's fruit and can't wait to share our hard work with the world!  Cheers!
Vine Club Lounge
Shhhhh… Though it may have been feeling like Spring, we don’t want to wake Old Man Winter and have him come back with a vengeance. But we’ve been enjoying it while we can, wining away the weekend upstairs in the Vine Club Lounge and on the Patio. Earlier this year, we were spelunking in the Cave and discovered some super cool wines from past Vine Club shipments that we were able to bring up to the Library. We pulled up some 2012 Nevaeh Red, 2012 #SocialSecret Red, 2013 Long Bomb Edition 7 as well as some stuff we have not yet disclosed! How are they tasting, you ask? Well, come see for yourself! We’ll be pouring these beauties on Saturdays and Sundays in the Vine Club Lounge, now open from noon until 4 pm each weekend day. So come on out, enjoy some wines and bites, and hobnob with the “in” crowd. The Vine Club Lounge – where the REAL party is. 21 and over please.

Upcoming Events
Usually around this time of year we see less guests during the week, but while we may not be busy chatting it up and sharing libations, we are still busy behind the scenes planning some incredible events for the coming year. While we may still have some surprises in store for you, we wanted to share a quick rundown of what we have in store for you for 2017.

2017 Events
11 - Q1 Vine Club Blending Session #1 – only 8 spots left!RESERVE HERE
18 - Q1 Vine Club Blending Session #2 – only 10 spots left!RESERVE HERE
24 – Spring Fling with Chef Chris Edwards – only 30 seats available! RESERVE HERE
1 - Barrel Tasting – only 15 spots left! RESERVE HERE
6 - Q2 Vine Club party – details coming soon!
7 - 8th Annual Riedel Tasting and Stemware Seminar – SOLD OUT!
3 - Summer Concert Series Begins – full schedule HERE! Season Passes HERE!

15 - Super-Special-Secret-Event TBA soon!!!

So mark your calendars, lock in some dates, and plan to be out here at any or all of our happenings! Also, as you can see, we've got something super-cool planned for July 15, so keep that date wide open – you’ll want to be at Tarara, we guarantee it! See you soon!
Spring Fling with Executive Chef Chris Edwards
DATE: MARCH 17, 2017
Limited to 30 guests
Message from the General Manager
In the wine industry, there is no time to dwell on the past, although it really can be fun for us. Every year I always read statements from all sorts of people I know that are simply happy to leave the last year in the past. I honestly can never think of a moment where that has been the case for me. Sure, like everyone I know all about what is happening in the greater world good or bad, but my world is wine. Therefore, every day that I wake up and get to come to Tarara is another great day. Picture this… wake up to say good morning to your children and see them off to school (yes, that has already started for those that know me and were around when my children were born), walk outside to the view of Shadow lake and then start the decision process. Should I take the dog and walk the vineyard first, or go hang out in the cave and taste some wines to see how they are doing. Either way, the likelihood is whatever I choose the other will be done later in the day. Simply put I can’t complain about life and I was just as thrilled with 2016 as any other year. I am blessed. Now, why was 2016 just as good or better than any other? Here a just a few examples:
• Fire! - We had a gigantic 1 acre bonfire to try to save our Chardonnay that had bud-break in those frigid Spring dips that dropped to 25 degrees… who does that?!?!?! Well, we tried and it worked. Best Chardonnay harvest we can imagine.
• Concerts - Another record breaking year for the amount of people coming out to our concerts, including our very biggest and first sold out concert ever… Oh, and the Legwarmers are coming twice this year now!!!!
• Wine Releases - Release of several new wines including our first from Bethany Ridge Vineyard, our first release from our new Viognier and Petit Manseng vines on the Hill Block, the Boneyard Pinnacle release, and several “killer” Killer Cluster wines.
• Vineyard - Brought in our vineyard assistant Hannah to hang out with Kevin and make the vineyard even better with her knowledge and passion.
• Local Sourcing - Back to being 100% reliant on our own vineyards that are either owned or leased by us. We are growing all the grapes the way we want them and all from Loudoun County. Yeah!!!
• Community - Did even more work in the community, but particularly lots of work with Paxton Campus to do all we can to help our area of the world for many people with needs.
• New Friends - Most importantly… Introduced over 10,000 new people to Tarara who have now become our friends for life.
Now, as I said, while reflection is incredible when you live the life that we do, we must move on and ensure the 2017 is even better. I have to say I have never been more excited for what the coming year has to offer. There is always something that will be happening at Tarara in 2017. Some highlights are our annual Riedel Tasting, the Quarterly Vine Club Parties, best concert series line-up yet, Barrel Tasting event, Fall Release, and much more. That said, the most important thing to me at the moment is our team. We always want to make sure that we have the best team in place to ensure you get the service and wine you deserve. Have we made mistakes in the past? Sure we have at times, and I apologize, but we always want to do better. This year I think we have got it!!!!
We are entering the year with the greatest team anyone could ask for. Any of you that have ever managed people know that it is nearly impossible to look at your team and say you are 100% thrilled. Well, with a few little tweaks I think we are there to enter 2017. The team at Tarara is second to none in their quest to not only make the best wine, but offer it in the most professional, but very friendly and unpretentious manner. Here is 2017’s starting lineup:
• Valerie Winn – I am starting with Valerie because the reality is she is the tweak. She is the new face in 2017, starting here as the face of our Tasting Room with Bryan just this past December. Valerie has been with us for a while as one of the most beloved people in our tasting room from all of you, but when the opening arose to make this her career she jumped in full-time. We are thrilled to have Valerie’s enthusiasm, passion and smiling face here to great each and every one of you. She also can’t wait for her next opportunity to see each of you and hear either your suggestions as to how to make Tarara even better for you, or just to chat.
• Margaret Hubert – The matriarch. Obviously Margaret would normally have come first but I want to make sure you read about Valerie as the new person in case you get bored of my writing and stop reading. Margaret not only is the reason we all can do what we do here at Tarara, but also the reason we all want to do what we do. There has never been a better person for any of us to be able to work for. She truly is one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met and every day that I walk in and get to see Margaret here at Tarara is a great day. I think we all feel the same and I have never met a guest that hasn’t felt the same.
• Bryan Winfrey – The long term mainstay that you see in the tasting room. Bryan is a quiet glue holding so much together at Tarara including at time my sanity. His Zen ways of making it through the busiest of days as our internet crashed and our water stops, from being in the country, is remarkable. There is not much I can say that you don’t already know about Bryan. He’s simply awesome and has been for a long time. That said, I have to give you something so I will give you a fun fact. Bryan whips up a mean spreadsheet and takes Microsoft Excel very seriously!!!
• Kim Parker – One of two people that pre-date me at Tarara and the one that keeps your Vine Club in perfect shape. Kim makes sure that all of your needs are heard and figured out as club members. Behind the scenes she also handles our philanthropy and much of our administrative work. The work that Kim does simply makes it so all of us can do everything we do. She also keeps me in check and makes sure I don’t do anything crazy, or at least tries to clean up the mess when I do.
• Margie Russell – our Finance Officer and chief consigliore. I can’t tell you how long Margie has been at Tarara because she used to have a gun rack on her wall and now she is the only person who knows where those guns are . Regardless, she has the most history here and makes sure we all understand what we have or haven’t done in the past. She also signs all our paychecks so really she is the most popular person at Tarara.
• Tim Kish – the dude that actually makes sure the wine is all taken care of. While we discuss the winemaking all the time, Tim is the guy that makes it happen. Driving forklifts, running pumps, calibrating tanks, moving barrels, and tasting wine. Tim lives the life. A little known item of what is on Tim’s job description is that he is also responsible for helping me out when I am crying because I think a snake is going to bite me, and then it turns out the snake is actually already dead anyway.
• Kevin Goolsby – the man that makes it so that we can make the wine that we do. Kevin has got our vineyards in the best place they have ever been. If you haven’t met Kevin while here, he is the easiest person to find. He is the dirtiest guy who sometimes forgets to take off his shoes after being in the vineyard. Turns out he is also a good fire fighter… although he did also start the fire…
• Hannah Kasabian – if Kevin is the man that makes it possible for us to make great wine, Hannah is the woman that does that same. Hannah joined us last spring as Kevin’s right hand and she has brought a wealth of knowledge and passion to the vineyard helping us escalate our quality even further. Little known fact, she is also a carpenter extraordinaire. She has spent the off-season building us all sorts of bat-houses and work huts!
• Yours Truly – While my job is to manage things around Tarara and head up the winemaking, there is much more to my life here. I am the most under-qualified HVAC mechanic and pool guy your will ever meet. I can spend hours working on a perfectly functioning piece of equipment still to deem it broken only because I was looking at the wrong piece of equipment all along. Simply put, I succeed because I am surrounded by the people written about above.
With that, we’d like to invite all of you to visit Tarara in the very near future as we launch headlong into another awesome year filled with fun events, exciting happenings, and incredible wines. We hope to see each and every one of you at Tarara very soon!
Jordan Harris
Tarara Winery
General Manager and Winemaker
We love to hear from you!  So whether it's a question about a Tarara wine you've been holding on to and are wondering how it's tasting, or if you have suggestions on how to make the Tarara experience even more awesome, or how the grapes are looking, or just what we're listening to at the moment (lots of Starship and Michael McDonald!), feel free to drop us a line!  We hope to see you all out here very soon! 

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Tarara Winery
13648 Tarara Ln
Leesburg, VA 20176