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Meet the Winemakers Part 1: Chris Granstrom

Wine reflects the landscape in which it is grown - its "terroir" to borrow the French term. Vermont's a small state, but it offers a diverse landscape that results in award-winning wines.  White, red, rosé, sparkling, or dessert wine, in our community of vineyards you will get a true taste of Vermont's terroir. 

What are the secrets to making wine in Vermont? We asked winemakers from three Vermont vineyards to talk about winemaking and to tell us their story: Chris Granstrom of Lincoln Peak Vineyards, Patrick Barrelet of Snow Farm Vineyard, and Ethan Joseph of Shelburne Vineyard.  Each brings a unique perspective to the craft of making estate grown wines.

This month, visit one of the many special dinners and tastings scheduled to celebrate Vermont wine so you can truly understand our winemakers stories and their wine. Join the Celebration of Vermont wine from March 24 -31

Chris Granstrom | Lincoln Peak Vineyard

Chris granstrom lincoln peak vineyard

Head Winemaker

Lincoln Peak Vineyard | New Haven, Vermont

Onsite Tasting Room: Friday - Sunday, 11:00am - 5:00pm (Monday - Thursday  by appointment for bottle sales and growler refills)

Chris Granstrom's farm was originally planted with strawberries, but he converted it to growing grapes in 2001. Lincoln Peak’s twelve acre vineyard produced its first batch of commercial wine in 2006. Now they are making about 25,000 bottles of wine a year– all strictly from grapes grown on their farm.  Lincoln Peak makes bright, crisp whites, hearty reds, joyful dry rosés, and some sweet and fruity wines, too. Over the last four years, they have entered International Cold-Climate Wine Competitions, and won three best-in-show awards along with several gold and double-gold medals.  

How did you get started in winemaking?

I'm probably an exception in that I came to it from the farming side rather than the wine side. I was already a fruit grower when I planted my first vines and started to propagate young vines for others to plant. Then I started making wine from the grapes I was growing and I really liked the wine that these grapes could produce. The momentum from this start carries through to today in the fact that our wines are 100% "estate bottled," which is a wine-geeky way of saying that we use only grapes that we grow in our own vineyard.

What is your winemaking style?

In general, I'd say that our wines feature fresh, bright flavors that are true to the grape variety and the land where they are grown.

What is one of your favorite varietals to work with and why?

I love working with Marquette because it makes such an outstanding red wine; we often hear from folks that they are surprised that a wine with such depth and complexity can come from Vermont. And it's also versatile; in addition to our barrel-aged dry wine, we make a rosé and a nouveau-style wine from Marquette.

Any tips for those who are wine beginners and want to learn more?

Well, come for a visit! We love to introduce our wines to new friends. And wine isn't (or shouldn't be) in any way intimidating. The only thing you need to know about a wine is whether it tastes good to you.

What wines or winemakers do you find inspiration from?

I greatly admire the owner/winemaker at Linden Vineyards in Virginia, Jim Law. His integrity and devotion to his craft are admirable. And I should say that my friend Ethan Joseph, the winemaker at Shelburne Vineyards, and I often compare notes and wines. I think that our cooperation (and a little friendly competition) helps us both be better winemakers.

What has surprised you the most as a Vermont winemaker?

That a new wine area working with new grapes can produce such good wines. I really enjoy pouring a sample for someone from away who has never tasted a Vermont wine and seeing this reaction: "Oh.... OH! This is actually very good!" I suppose a winemaker could take offense at that, but I look at it just the opposite way: I've just made a new convert!

 Check out the other profiles: Ethan Joseph (Shelburne Vineyard, Iapetus Wine), Patrick Barrelet (Snow Farm Vineyard)

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