A bottle of wine – perhaps more than anything else on earth – reflects the time, place and people that produced it.
In January of 2016, our dynamic team, with a background in sustainable grape growing & winemaking, partnered with a distinguished geologist, Ernest “Bubba” Beasley, and set out to find the perfect hillside to plant a new vineyard.
Through advanced geologic mapping and weather data, we collectively identified the key soil characteristics, topography and climate we were looking for – no vineyard should be planted in unexplored ground.
After many months of searching, we found it: Burnt Hill Farm. 117 acres located high in the hills of the Piedmont Plateau – 30 miles northwest of Washington, DC in Montgomery County, MD. At the end of a long day digging backhoe pits to examine the soil, Bubba concluded:
“This place has the potential to yield brilliant wines.”
// the name
This wild hillside, known as Burnt Hill, is named after the fires early settlers used to revitalize the land. In the early 1800's farmers found it difficult to grow crops on this rocky hill, so instead they burned timber to make charcoal, lye and potash for cooking, soap making and fertilizer.
Fast forward 200 years and we believe the Burnt Hill name reflects the potential of this vineyard site. As the Romans discovered millennia ago, the best wines aren’t grown on flat, fertile land; they’re grown high on rocky hills where other crops don’t thrive. Burnt Hill is an extraordinary farm with a new purpose: growing mighty grapevines that yield wines with distinctive character you can taste.
// the future
The Burnt Hill Project is focused on one thing – redefining American wine.
Since purchasing the farm on December 20th, 2016, we’ve spent two years tilling the earth, cultivating cover crops and enlivening the farm through biodynamic practices. We believe the ground is finally ready for 30,000 vines in the spring of 2019. We will plant a thoughtful mix of old world grape varieties we love – like Cabernet Franc and Gamay – and native American varieties that can be farmed organically and produce revolutionary wines that are uniquely our own and truly American.
This hillside – with all its elements in harmony – will yield wines unlike anywhere else on earth.
// The Mark
Our logo is a portrait of sensible and ambitious winemaking. The sun, just (dis)appearing at the crest of the hill, sprays beams upwards and shadows down. This creates a network of deep roots, which can alternately be read as a soil map – irregular, geometric and contained in the clean arc of the hillside. The patterns contained in the horizons both differentiate the soil types, and also hint at the simultaneous diversity and repetition of the tasks that yield exceptional wine.
The sun’s rays reach the edges of the atmosphere, leading further up into the cosmos, which take the shape of a labyrinth. This adds further dimension to the process of winegrowing. The path is not always clear but there is both wisdom and direction in the stars.
The Burnt Hill Project mark is a dynamic picture of the multifarious and singular identity that it will grow to embody.
// regenerative farming
We choose to think of our farm as a living, breathing organism. Like a human body with a system of organs, our farm is a complex system of interacting substances and processes. This understanding is the fundamental starting point of biodynamics.
Biodynamics is about thoughtful & heartfelt farming.
So much about a hill – like soil type and topography – is not easily improved. But there are some things – like biodiversity and soil resiliency – that greatly impact farming outcomes and can be enriched through farming practices.
While the vineyard is at the center of what we do, we also invest in the workings of our farm as a whole. We will raise livestock, vegetables and an orchard, with respect for the relationships between the land and all its inhabitants. In beautiful symbiosis, we give to our farm and know that it will return the generosity.
Burnt Hill is a reminder of the generations who have come before us and our responsibility to preserve its legacy for generations to come.