Winter Aerial View of Locksley Vineyards


VIP Club Pick-up Party... at the ADC

VIP Days at Champe Ford Road (Members Only)
St. Patrick’s Day at the ADC
Creative Mankind Painting and Wine
Barrel Tasting with our Winemaker

Report from the Tasting Room
Report from the Cellar
Report from the Vineyard
Report from the Farm
Note from Jenni


Saturday, March 25th
6:00pm – 8:00pm
(Please RSVP)

Barrel Select Norton & Albariño March brings the official beginning of spring, but it sure has felt like spring weather around the farm already! The warm weather has allowed us to get quite a few outdoor projects underway. We are sprucing up the Champe Ford tasting room and grounds to be prepared for the crowds on our VIP Days throughout the spring and summer and the vineyard crew has been busy pruning. Perry has been working hard to get the milking parlor and creamery up and running and we are well on our way to finishing our kitchen at the Ag District Center. We have lots of interesting events going on in March, so don’t miss out – make your reservations now! Our winter hours are in effect through the end of March and the Ag District Center will be open 10am – 5pm seven days a week. The Champe Ford tasting room will also be open exclusively for our VIP Club members. See below for dates and times!

The VIP Pick-up event for March will be held on Saturday, March 25th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Ag District Center. We will have a Mardi Gras theme with some special treats to pair with the wines of the month. We do not have a limit for this event, but please remember to send your RSVP to so that we can plan accordingly. As always, this event is for VIP Club members only (2 attendees per membership). Verbal RSVP’s and voice mail responses cannot be guaranteed confirmation.

The red wine selection for our VIP Club members this month is Chrysalis Vineyards 2015 Barrel Select Norton. The initial impression is of raisins and dates, with underlying notes of blackberry jam and violets. Upon imbibing one experiences more date and blackcurrant with some piney notes. Full tannic structure suggests a great pairing with a food higher in fat like a well marbled rib-eye steak.

Our white wine selection for March is Chrysalis Vineyards 2015 Albariño. This white wine is 100% Albariño, with 45% fermented in neutral French oak barrels, with sur lie (on the yeast) aging to enhance a rich mouthfeel without adding the usual toasted oak characteristics. The grapes were harvested a full two weeks later than our Albariño Verde and came from both the Hollin Vineyard and Locksley Estate. Definite floral and citrus aromas, with ripe pear and melon, while retaining the crisp acidity that makes Albariño so refreshing and wonderful with food. Will pair wonderfully with shellfish, grilled fish and fresh fruits and vegetables.

As a reminder to our members, all VIP wine is available for pickup at the Ag District Center tasting room anytime during regular business hours. If you can’t make it out to pick up your wines on a monthly basis, we will hold them for you. Due to storage limitations, however, we do ask that you pick them up once you accumulate a case (6 months). We can also arrange for wine to be shipped to most locations, at your request.

Also, please remember that you can always find your paired recipes and detailed tasting notes at in the Private VIP Club Area. Pairings and tasting notes are available for wines dating all the way back to 2007 (especially useful for any of those with older, aged vintages). Also check in with us or follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements.

NOTE: Please do not reply to this emailed Newsletter. Your email will not be handled in a timely manner or may even be lost. For further details please see the end of this Newsletter.

VIP Days at Champe Ford Road

Saturdays, March 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th
Noon – 5pm
at the
Champe Ford Events Center
23876 Champe Ford Road
Middleburg, VA 20117

Sarah's Patio in Early Spring For all of our members who miss the Good ol’ Days at our original tasting room, we would like to continue “VIP Days at Champe Ford”. The Champe Ford Events Center and Sarah’s Patio and Pavilion will be open exclusively for our VIP Club members and their guests on select Saturdays through the winter months. This is an opportunity to buy a bottle or glass and get to know your fellow VIP Club members in the cozy confines of our old tasting room. In March we will be open every Saturday of the month from noon to 5:00pm. The grills will be available for your use and soup or chili will be available for purchase. While we will not be doing tastings, we will have staff on hand to discuss our wines and answer questions. During inclement weather please call the tasting room (540-687-8222, Ext. 0) to make sure the Champe Ford Events Center is open (we will only close in the event that Champe Ford Road is unsafe to travel on) Also, please note that your VIP Club wines will still need to be picked up at the Ag District Center.

St. Patrick’s Day at The Ag District Center

Friday, March 17th
Noon – 5pm
at the
Ag District Center
39025 John Mosby Highway
Middleburg, VA 20117

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we will be extending our hours on March 17th. The Ag District Center Tasting Room will be open 10:00am – 8:00pm. Special tasting options and pairings will be available after 5:00pm! So…..put on your GREEN and come celebrate with us!

Creative Mankind Painting and Wine

Sunday, March 5th
1pm – 4pm
at the
Champe Ford Events Center
23876 Champe Ford Road
Middleburg, VA 20117

Paint & Sip Creative Mankind will be hosting a “paint and sip” event at Chrysalis Vineyards on Sunday, March 5th. (From their website: Creative Mankind is an art company that offers art classes and hosts parties and events for all ages. Our motto is “Everyone is a Creative Genius!” It's just a matter of people reconnecting with their creative self. Our mission is to enrich our community with art education and culture in a fun and accessible way.)

Spend a fun afternoon laughing, listening to music and creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! This 3 hour event is just $40 and includes all art supplies, an awesome staff, and a lot of fun. No experience is necessary. For additional information please contact Creative Mankind at 571-403-1912 or go to their website listed below. (Editors Note: cut and paste this long link if it doesn't activate by clicking on it. Thanks.)

NOTE: Remember that this event is at our Champe Ford Events Center this month.

Barrel Tasting with Our Winemaker
Mark Patterson

Sunday, March 19th
1pm – 3pm
at the
Champe Ford Events Center
23876 Champe Ford Road
Middleburg, VA 20117

Sampling some Wine from Barrel Join us for a special afternoon Barrel Tasting as our winemaker, Mark Patterson, discusses the winemaking process. You will be treated to a taste of two or our red wines that are currently aging in barrel. Afterwards, we will provide you with a meat and cheese plate to enjoy with samplings of the current vintage of the wines that you tasted. This special tasting is just $34 for VIP Members / $40 for the general public (but we must have a minimum of 10 guests to put this special tasting on, so tell your friends).

In addition, Sue Contostavlos, our resident sommelier will be on hand to talk about the pairings and answer any questions. Please purchase your tickets in advance by calling the tasting room at 540-687-8222, Ext. 0.


Sue Contostavlos Our resident Tasting Room wine expert, Sue Contostavlos, is writing a series of articles to offer a little additional education about our wines and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

Let's Talk About Sulfites

At least once a week someone explains to me that: A) they are allergic to sulfites; B) red wine gives them headaches because of the sulfites; or, C) they prefer French wines because they’re sulfite-free. I’ve also noticed that organic and “natural” wines are becoming a trend because, in part, of the sulfite issue. I recently saw a device being sold that removes the sulfites from wine. So, let’s clear the air.

None of the above is accurate except for about 1% of the population who are actually allergic to sulfites.

If someone has A) above, allergy-like issues after drinking red wine, it’s probably the histamines in the red grape skins. If someone gets B), headaches from reds but not from whites, it’s not the sulfites, as white wine usually has a much higher level. It’s probably from the tannin in the red or the congeners in the alcohol itself since red wine usually has higher alcohol levels. And if C), it’s a very, very rare winery anywhere in the world that does not add sulfites, even in France.

Sulfites are preservatives, antioxidants, and an antibacterial and they occur naturally on the grape and in the winemaking process 100% of the time. So when we talk about sulfites we must agree that we mean ADDED sulfites, because sulfite-free doesn’t exist. It’s necessary and good in the right amounts. In the US, we require the words “Contains Sulfites” on the label but elsewhere in the world that’s not a labeling requirement. It certainly doesn’t mean they’re not in there in the same or higher amounts. Sulfites are added to ANY wine that a winemaker doesn’t intend to sell and serve locally and immediately. It’s how wine that comes here on a hot ship, gets bounced around on a truck, stored in a warehouse, driven to a store, and then eventually sold is not vinegar when you open it. If you really want to remove them, a portion will evaporate, so you can decant the wine or aerate the wine to remove some of them…but they’re probably not the culprits you thought they were.

For the record, dried fruit has 10-50 times the number of sulfites as wine, so unless those bother you, you’re probably one of the 99% of people who aren’t affected in any way by sulfites.

Sue Contostavlos, Tasting Room Associate


Topping a Barrel The first round of topping off barrels is completed and all of our reds are resting comfortably awaiting further orders. Over time, in all but the most heavily humidified barrel cellars (not actually ideal - you all know what grows in damp basements), there is evaporation of a certain amount of the liquid in every barrel (usually averaging 2-5%/year). This is colloquially known as ‘the Angel’s Share’. New barrels also tend to suck up some wine on first fill. All of this necessitates the need to periodically ‘top up’ barrels with the same wine to prevent ullage which could lead to the growth of oxygen-loving aerobic bacteria and fungi on the surface of the wine. This topping up minimizes the amount of surface area available for this to happen. These ‘film yeasts’, although not just yeast, tend to lead to the production of higher levels of acetic acid (vinegar) and other compounds that will likely negatively impact the sensory qualities of the wine you’re drinking. A wine that spends 12 months in barrel before bottling is likely to have been topped and checked for faults at least 4 times within that time frame. Constant vigilance is needed, even during those times where you’re ‘not doing much’ in the cellar.

BTW, I look forward to seeing you at my special Barrel Tasting on March 19th. We have to have a minimum number of people participate in order to justify opening up barrels, so please reserve your space now. See you here in the cellar.

Mark Patterson, Winemaker


Pruned Vines This winter has definitely been a bit different than the last. The vineyard team has enjoyed a spate of fine weather, which has allowed them to make quick work of the pruning in the Norton blocks at Locksley Estate, and soon they will turn their attention to our European wine grape varieties - Viognier, Petit Verdot, and Albariño among them. We don’t want to start too early because there is still much winter to come, and a return to more seasonal temperatures could result in some damage to the buds.

The warm weather in the middle and end of February has been a bit of concern as there is always a chance that these extended periods of temperatures above 50°F could trigger the end of dormancy in the vines. In the late fall and early winter the grapevines go through a period in which they gradually become better prepared to withstand the cold temperatures to come. Certain amounts of water, carbohydrates and other nutrients migrate to the trunks, cordons and roots and there is an increase in certain enzymes that create ‘plugs’ along the vines vascular system to help limit the transport of these components within the vine. Cellular function slows down to a crawl and the vine develops a sort-of ‘antifreeze’ to help protect it from extreme cold. When warmer temperatures come back, and continue for an extended period of time, there is an increase in enzymes that digest these ‘plugs’ allowing the sap to start flowing again, which will be apparent in pruning wounds at the end of spurs and canes. If there is a sudden return to a ‘deep freeze’ the vine is no longer protected from the large-scale crystallization of water that will occur within the vine, resulting in cell rupture and irrevocably damaging the buds and canes. If this occurs after a vine has been pruned there is no way to adjust the number of buds left per vine to try to maintain a balanced crop load. We should know shortly if this is going to be a problem.

Mark Patterson, Winemaker


Grazing Cows A number of people have inquired about what the significance of the word “farmstead” is relative to our developing cheese making enterprise, the Locksley Estate Farmstead Cheese Company.

Although there is not yet a statutory definition of the word “farmstead” as it applies to artisan cheese production, there is a generally accepted meaning. I’ll paraphrase, Farmstead Cheese Producers are those producers that obtain their milk from their own herd of cows, often co-located on the same land where the cheese is crafted. This is in contrast to cheese makers who purchase their milk from independent dairy farms that can be located over a wide geographical area. Each scenario has advantages and disadvantages and amazing artisan cheeses are produced under both circumstances.

In our situation, we believe that farmstead operations offer a number of distinct advantages, particularly when it comes to potential milk quality. Milk quality is perhaps the most critical factor in the production of premium quality cheese. Milk quality is directly linked to cheese quality.

Milk quality begins to decline from the moment it leaves the cow. Refrigeration may slow that decline; however, milk quality, nonetheless, continues to degrade. Interestingly, refrigeration can actually provide an environment where certain types of harmful organisms such as psychrotrophic bacteria may grow. (Pyschrotrophic means thriving in a cold environment.)

By producing milk on the same farm as the cheese, the time between milking and cheese making is minimized. This reduction in time results in less opportunity for bacterial contamination and growth. We believe that farmstead cheese making offers the greatest potential to preserve milk quality and thus cheese quality.

Perry Griffin, Locksley Estate Manager

Note from Jenni
Cheese Ripening Room!!!

Yes… we’re workin’ our butts off to get the bakery/kitchen ready for action before the season really gets into full swing in May, and also finishing off the creamery to start producing cheese when our cows “freshen” in late spring (they calve and start producing milk).

I wanted to whet your appetite by showing off an image of cheese in a ripening room, or “aging cell”, as Perry likes to call it. OMG, looking through the photos on Google just revitalized my purpose for this part of our value-added agricultural endeavors. As you may know, we’ve been on this mission for a very, VERY long time (eleven years). THIS IS THE YEAR WE WILL MAKE CHEESE!!! It will be SO sweet (not the cheese! :-)

I have to apologize for ripping off an image from the web, but hopefully I can make it by giving credit to Fromagerie Delin in Gilly-lès-Cîteaux, France, in the heart of Burgundy - Beautiful. And wow, soon come… soon come, for us, too.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the underground production area of the Ag District Center, Chef Hump Astorga is back, helping me get everything ready in the bakery/kitchen. This week was good, as Chef Hump was heartened about his progress with our systems down there. Think winemaker dinners, folks!

Thanks for all your support and your patience over the months and years. We know it's been a long haul. But we’re on it, and we don’t give up! Stay tuned.


Jennifer McCloud
Chrysalis Vineyards
23876 Champe Ford Rd.
Middleburg, VA 20117
t: 540-687-8222