This weeks #FriFotos theme is faces.
The man in this photo is Jon Wehner, a second-generation wine grower on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I visited Chatham Vineyards in November last year as part of a press trip to the Virginia Beach area, 3 weeks after the fruit harvest.
We stood outside the main barn in the early afternoon light, surrounded by wine making machinery and 300 acres of French vinifera vines. A long, temporarily erected tressle table adorned with candles, wine bottles, cold meats, cheeses, and huge platters of shucked eastern shore oysters on ice–a bona fide foodie heaven–awaited us. We sipped our way through the wine list, captivated by Jon’s commentary, careful to taste each creation with its specifically chosen food accompaniment. “Nothing tastes more like its place than an oyster,” says Jon–it’s this same marriage of place and product that the art of wine making strives to nurture.
Jon grew up learning about wine from his parents, who spent 30 years restoring a vineyard in Great Falls, VA. In the 1990s he left the Washington D.C. area to grow and make his own wines at Chatham Vineyard. He’s a charismatic guy who speaks passionately about how the moderate maritime climate, long indian summers, and late frosts in this part of Virginia all conspire to create the ideal conditions for his vines. And how dramatic weather events like Hurricane Irene in 2011 impact the wines.