An Albemarle County vineyard is making an appearance at the White House this weekend. Wisdom Oak Winery is shipping 50 cases of its wine for an inaugural ball to celebrate President Obama.
Formerly Sugarleaf Vineyards, Wisdom Oak Winery is the new branding. It's starting the year off with a bang - busy with new labels, a large expansion and the presidential debut.
"Coming out of the gate with a new brand Wisdom Oak Winery and then being served at this celebration to celebrate the president is a little surreal," said Jerry Bias, owner of Wisdom Oak Winery.
Wisdom Oak's vidal blanc and cabernet franc will be featured at an event of Obama's largest benefactors. Bias says the brand grew up just in time for its big debut.
"We thought that we should take our brand to the next level and as we think about it, what were the experiences that helped us get where we are now. There's a lot of wisdom we had to partake in to get that way, so we look at it as wisdom in a bottle," Bias said.
That wisdom is also being poured into an expansion that includes a new tasting room six times its current size, an addition that keeps up with Virginia's 2012 wine industry boom.
"We do have, Virginia in itself, a unique niche in terms of its production and there is a whole lot more room in terms of growing, bigger production and also keeping with high standards," said Romulus Pascall, a winemaker at Wisdom Oak Winery.
Bias hopes the winery's success will come with a focus on quality over quantity - and a little bit of wisdom.
"The sky is kind of the limit in what we do and what we can do and what I'm most proud about is that we stick to what we do best," Bias said. "I don't need to have a winery that produces a million cases but what I do need to do and all of us buy into is what we put in the bottle matters."
Wisdom Oak actually expanded by taking over a neighbor's property. The winery hopes to open its new tasting room - with the newly labeled wines - in March.
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