When Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont last August, Shelburne Vineyard was spared the devastation experienced by farmers in other parts of the state. However, in the aftermath of the storm, the rains that followed and the subsequent rains from Hurricane Lee played havoc with the upcoming harvest. Specifically, some of the red grapes absorbed the water and began to split before Vineyard owner Ken Albert had planned to harvest. The grapes had to be picked early, and Albert determined that to achieve the highest quality wine with those grapes meant he should make the wine sweeter than their typical red wines. Despite skepticism from others about producing a sweet red wine, that’s what he did. After much deliberation about what to call it, Shelburne Vineyard staff named the wine “In Spite of Irene.” Little did they know that the wine would become a runaway success.
When the Vineyard released the wine in July, Albert and the Vineyard staff decided they would contribute a percentage of its sales revenue to the Vermont Community Foundation’s (VCF) Farm Disaster Relief Fund to assist those farmers who had not been so fortunate. The Vineyard also produced an In Spite of Irene t-shirt and donated $2 from the sale of each t-shirt to the Fund.
With the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, Shelburne Vineyard presented its donation of $1,002 to VCF Farm Disaster Relief Fund representative Ryan Torres at a formal presentation at the Vineyard. “Thanks really go to all those who have supported Vermont farmers, not only with their purchase of this wine, but with all the kindness and generosity that has manifested itself on behalf of Vermont farmers in this challenging year,” said Albert as he delivered the contribution to Torres. “Agriculture is so important in the history and in the current culture of Vermont. We all want to see it thrive.”
Located at 6308 Shelburne Road, Shelburne Vineyard was founded in 1998 and now comprises 17 acres of sustainably produced grapes on vineyards located in Shelburne and nearby Charlotte. For more information about Shelburne Vineyard, visit www.shelburnevineyard.com.