"With a commitment to making the best wines possible, every aspect of our operation, from where to plant and how to tend the vines, to the types of barrels and length of aging, is given equal attention." - David Pollak
In 2003, aided by Virginia viticulturist Chris Hill, we purchased a farm well suited to growing European vinifera. That year we planted our first 10 acre block. Today, Turtle Zwadlo meticulously manages more than 17,000 vines, each hand-tended to produce quality fruit for winemaking.
The vines are planted on six distinct sites scattered across the 98 acres, each arrayed and pruned to take advantage of the aspects of their particular parcels:
Original 10 acre block
Mountain vineyard which is sited on the highest portion of the property at 880 feet
Pinot Gris block next to the winery
The last two were named for one of David’s great-grandfather’s silver mines in Colorado where he founded the town of Aspen.
In 2008, we opened our winery whose design enables us to control all aspects of winemaking. We utilize a cold room to stabilize fruit temperatures before crush and fermentation, and we make many wines in small batches to capture characteristics of a particular terroir and different yeast treatments. The layout also enables efficient and tender treatment of wines by permitting the gravity flow of wines from the crush pad to the production area below and into our barrel aging room built into a hill.
Our first wine was a 2005 Meritage, a Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. While the percentage of each varietal is based on blind taste tests conducted each season, the final result has been remarkably consistent.
Benoit Pineau took over winemaking duties in 2011. He is continuing our practice of making estate wines of single varietals, reds and whites. They include:
We also have made a Durant blend of whites and/or reds based upon the quantity of harvest available. Like our Smuggler Vineyards, the Durant name was also one of the Colorado silver mines of David’s great- grandfather.
Some wines are made in stainless steel; some in French oak barrels. Respecting differences of site terroir, yeast treatments and barrel types , we keep much red wine discretely labeled in small lots to enable hand selection of wines for special blending or bottling. Some years this has enabled us to select certain barrels for reserve status, when the characteristics of the wine merit this elevated status.
"Quality wine begins in the vineyards. We choose to reflect this commitment in our logo: a vine where two trunks rise to the cordon where they separate, best seen in the winter and early spring without foliage."
- Margo Pollak