2016 WineGrower of the Year Nominee's
Please review each nominee's biography and comments from their nominators. Each LWA member winery can place their vote for the 2016 WineMaker of the Year award to be presented at the Loudoun Wine Awards this year on Friday, October 14th. Voting can be completed at the bottom of this page.
Quintin garcia, vineyard manager at sunset hills vineyard
Biography: Quintin Garcia began working in the Loudoun wine industry over ten years ago at Doukenie Winery under the tutelage of Doug Fabbioli. Since that time he has worked as a vineyard manager at various vineyards throughout the county and is currently the Sunset Hills Vineyard Manager.
Nominator's Comments: Quintin Garcia has been working in and managing Loudoun County Vineyards for over fifteen years. He has been instrumental in the establishment and management of a large percentage of all vineyards planted in the county - truly, there is not a vineyard manager in our area who has set foot in more vineyards than Quintin. He has planted, managed, or worked at Delaplane, Doukenie, Wild Meadow, Veramar, Corcoran, Willowcroft, Lost Creek, Tranquility, Creek's Edge, Twin Notch, Village, Old House, F & J Vineyards, Maggie Malick, Hillsborough, Notaviva, Russ Mountain, Sycamore Springs, Sunset Hills, and more.
bill hatch, owner, winegrower & winemaker at zephaniah vineyards
Biography: Bill has developed a successful wine growing operation on his family farm. A farmer first, Bill has been farming in Loudoun county for over 66 years. In that time, Bill has transitioned the farm from a dairy to a pastured livestock and wine operation focusing on direct sales to consumers.
Nominator's Comments: Bill's grapes and wines have consistently won metals in the Virginia Governors Cup and Loudoun Wine Awards. Bill serves on the board of the Loudoun Wineries Association and Loudoun Winegrowers Association. Bill loves to teach wine consumers about the agricultural history of Loudoun county and the farm work that goes in to each bottle of wine.
Mitch & betsy russ, owners of russ mountain vineyards
Biography: Most Americans entertain retirement dreams that are suffused with leisurely pursuits like tending a rose garden, driving the country in a Winnebago, or fly fishing in Montana. Betsy and Mitchell Russ’s aspirations were much more ambitious. The idea of owning a vineyard was years in the making for Mitchell, a retired physician, and Betsy, a former nurse. Starting about 15 years ago, the Indianapolis, Indiana, couple envisioned themselves cultivating the soil and getting their hands dirty. The Russ's now own a 25-acre property in Bluemont, Virginia and have cultivated Russ Mountain Vineyards.
Nominator's Comments: Mitch and Betsy have been the glue that holds the Loudoun Winegrowers Association together. Their sense of winegrower community is immense. They have worked tirelessly end endlessly as administrators of the LWGA. In the most challenging vintage we in Loudoun have experienced, the 2011 vintage, Mitch grew the best red grapes in Loudoun County. As winemakers, we have nightmares about the "2011 Vintage" when we experienced 40 days and 40 nights of non-stop rain right at harvest. The winemakers who were privileged to get Russ Merlot made the best red wine in Loudoun in 2011.