Everyone is talking about ciders and wines made in Barnard, my friend from New York tells me. I know that the ciders and wines made by my dear friends and neighbors, Fable Farm and la garagista (and by Krista Scruggs at Zafa, who moved north to Burlington but keeps a strong connection to this valley, using some of our grapes and apples to make her wines and ciders), are coveted in Paris, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, and Woodstock.
What do they taste?
Natural wines, the spirit of the place and the people. The druids and the artisans, the grown ups and the kids, the teachers and artists and writers and bankers and engineers who live here and dream of this place when they cannot be here.
Our vineyards are located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Barnard, Vermont, situated at 1700 feet, atop the Broad Brook watershed. It is a place of amazing beauty and diversity—fields, farms, and gardens. Our neighbors are farmers who grow apples, vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens, grapes, pears, ducks, turkeys and hay.
There are 650 vines in Little Hillside La Collina), cold- hardy red and white alpine varieties, bred to survive down to 35 degrees below zero. At Big Hillside, a spectacular five-acre field I lease from our neighbors, Bill and Judy Martin, we have planted 1200 vines and will plant another 1200 this coming June, 2019. Little Hillside is close to the house (I can see the vines from our bedroom). Big Hillside is across the road, past an old apple tree, up the side of a cinematic field, through the woods and shazam, you come upon Big Hillside like a magic garden, protected by maples, facing the fields of Kiss the Cow and Fable Farms, somehow always warm and welcoming.
Temperatures wobble and drop. Mud season brings fresh surprises every year. September and October are predictably resplendent. We farm in what geologists call the Woodstock Quadrangle, probable age Cambrian to Devonian. Garnets, white quartz, and deposits of glacial origin, schists and strands of dolomite, and a belt of volcanic Barnard gneiss are commonly found.