About Muse Vineyards
Muse Vineyards is on the banks of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River at a site continuously farmed since the mid-1700s.
After leaving their native Germany, Mennonites landed in Philadelphia and made their way down the "old valley pike" (now US Route 11) to the virgin farmlands of western Virginia. In Woodstock, Jacob Hockman and his family planted wheat and corn and kept livestock. The farmhouse was built in 1792 of chestnut logs harvested on the property.
The Muse family came to Virginia several generations before the Hockmans, and for some of the same reasons: they were French Protestants (Huguenots) fleeing Catholic France after the King cancelled in 1685 the Edict of Nantes that had allowed religious freedom for nearly a century. French settlers were often encouraged by early English settlers to join southern settlements to grow grapes and make wine in the infant colonies. Those pioneer winemakers’ efforts achieved little success for reasons that would not be understood for many years and will be discussed later in connection with Thomas Jefferson’s adventures in wine.
“At Muse Vineyards we have planted fifteen different grape varieties,” explains Robert Muse. “No sensible vineyard I know has more than four or five. So, no one could accuse us of being risk averse - though time has demonstrated in a couple of instances we should well have been!"
Robert Muse has adopted an approach which he describes as non-interventionist. “Years ago I took one of the winemaking courses taught by Jim Law of Linden Vineyard. He is rightly considered a great master of Virginia wine, as demonstrated by a couple of sayings that I took particularly to heart. One of them was: “I only work in the cellar if it’s raining outside.” By which he meant, great wine is made not in the winery but in the vineyard.