Today, Muse’s vineyards and wine production operate under the watchful eye of noted winemaker, Tim Rausse. Tim is the son of legendary Italian winemaker Gabriele Rausse who is often called “The Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry” and therefore is to our way of thinking wine royalty.

The winemaker’s touch

While stationed in France, Thomas Jefferson wanted vines for his vineyard at Monticello and asked the American consul in Livorno, Italy to obtain the vines. The consul approached the director of the Botanical Garden in Florence to ask for some vines. The director made the wine list, half of which were of Italian origin. The consul asked the director of the Botanical Garden, “Which one of these grapes will make the best wine?” And he replied, “All of them…if you have a good winemaker.”

Tim oversees and commands all aspects of our wine growing and production. Every grape used in our wines is grown on our property. And every step of the wine-making process – from nurturing and growing the vines to harvesting at the optimal moment, fermenting, pressing, aging, and bottling – occurs right here.

The result: Exceptional artisan wines crafted with care, patience, expertise, perspiration, and inspiration- all for your pleasure.

Viticulture, a la Muse

According to Robert Muse, Muse Vineyards’ viticultural philosophy and practice is that of minimalist agriculture. “We aim for as few sprays as possible.  Our commitment is to employing only the latest generation of low-impact materials and taking great care when and how we use them.”

Robert continues to be an avid researcher into various viticulture models that can lead Muse to enhanced production of the highest quality grapes.

For example, his research led Muse to be among the first to employ dense vine plantings, as they do in France. Why is that important? Vine growth depends overall on the complex interaction of climate and soil; root stock capacity; scion capacity (scion is another term for producer vine. This is the part of the vine that is grafted on the root stock and from which wine grapes will be harvested.); vine density; the trellis system used; shoot density; and the wine producer’s technique, or “wine culture.” But, only the latter two factors are where the grower enjoys meaningful input.

Robert’s research indicated that shoot density (shoot number/meter), controlled at pruning, can be a beneficial contributor to quality and quantity of the final product. When shoots are too dense, light in the “fruiting zone” is reduced, and the result is reduced fruit quantity and/or quality. But when shoots are too sparse, the fruit-bearing surface (number of shoots per acre) is reduced and potential yield is lost. So finding the balance of density to space underscores vine health and optimal productivity.

The end result? Muse is successful at growing grapes that ripen extremely well, achieving the ideal natural sugar content and resulting in wines with 13% to 15% alcohol content, all thanks to our terroir, our vines, and our viticulture model and methods.

Muse Vineyards 2009 Clio Awarded 2015 Virginia Wine Governor’s Cup