Twenty years ago, Jake Busching left the beef farm he grew up on in Minnesota and moved east to Virginia.
“I moved to Virginia in the wake of a band and a girl,” explained Busching wryly. “In March 1997, I found myself back on a farm working as the assistant farm manager at Colle Estate [Jefferson Vineyards today].”
By 1999, Busching had worked his way to the position of Vineyard Manager at Jefferson Vineyards; a testament to his work ethic and commitment to learning. Busching credits noted vineyard consultant Chris Hill with helping launch his winegrowing career at Jefferson and providing the foundation of his viticultural knowledge.
In 2001, Busching left Jefferson to work with Virginia wine pioneer Dennis Horton, founder of Horton Vineyards in Gordonsville, 20 miles northeast of Charlottesville.
From Horton, Busching continued to gain experience and build his reputation as one of the most talented growers and winemakers in the Commonwealth at notable Central Virginia wineries including Keswick Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, and Grace Estate Winery.
In July 2015, he joined Charlottesville-based Michael Shaps Wineworks as winemaker and soon transitioned to running their state-wide wine and vineyard consulting group, Vineyard Management Services.
“I’ve learned a lot in my 20 vintages as a grower and winemaker in Virginia,” said Busching. “But, I feel like I’ve learned as much in the last year consulting as I have in the previous 20. I put 27,000 miles on my car last year visiting clients and vineyards across the state.”
Today, with his fingerprints of quality all over the state, Busching is one of the most respected winegrowers in the Commonwealth. He’s known as a ‘dirt guy’ because of his deep knowledge of soil and focus on making wines with a sense of place.
Tomorrow, Friday, February 3, 2017, will be an important milestone in the career of Jake Busching and an equally important new chapter in the Virginia wine narrative. At 10am, Busching will release a 2015 Viognier as part of his new eponymous wine brand —Jake Busching Wines.
Busching joins a select group of well-regarded Virginia winemakers that bottle wines under their name: Michael Shaps, Gabriele Rausse, Doug Fabbioli, and Nate Walsh among others.
“Legacy is one of the most important words in our industry and I’ve helped a lot of folks establish their own legacies,” explained Busching about his decision to start Jake Busching Wines. “Making wine is hard work and it’s very personal. Like many winemakers, I‘ve reached that career mark where it’s time to establish wine with my name on the label while continuing to build for others as well.”
Busching’s inaugural release will include a 2015 Viognier, a 2015 Cabernet Franc, and a blend of Petit Verdot and Tannat called F8 (pronounced fate) that will be bottled in April and released later this year. Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville serves as home base for production of Jake Busching Wines.
The 2015 Viognier and Cabernet Franc beautifully showcase the culmination of 20 vintages of experience working in many of the top vineyards throughout the state.
“It’s great to be in a position to work in vineyards across the state and be able to pick fruit from vineyards I see great potential in,” said Busching. “These wines represent my interpretation of these individual vineyards.”
Busching sourced the Viognier from the acclaimed Honah Lee Vineyard near Gordonsville and the Cab Franc from Grape Lawn Vineyard, located on the southern edge of Albemarle County.
“Very few growers or winemakers have boots on the ground at all these different sites like I do.”
These are important wines. Not just because they are a great representation of the potential of Virginia and contribute to the state’s reputation as a producer of world-class wines. Jake Busching Wines are important because they represent 20 years of progressive experience of someone that worked (emphasis on worked) his way up the winegrowing ranks here, in Virginia!
“I’ve put my heart into these wines,” said Busching. “Jake Busching Wines has been a long time coming and I’m pretty excited about these wines”
As a Virginia wine enthusiast and fan of Busching’s wines, I’m excited, too!
* Wines received as pre-release samples.
Jake Busching Wines 2015 Viognier
100% Viognier | 12.9% abv
Made from 20-year-old vines grown on the south slope on the Honah Lee Vineyard, ranging in elevation from 500 to about 1,000 feet. Fermented in stainless steel (no malo), the juice spent four months on Chardonnay lees (yes, Chardonnay lees) in neutral oak barrels. A beautifully balanced wine; rich mouthfeel; offering notes of peach, white flower, and beeswax. Great texture! Texture without the oily mouthfeel found in many Viogniers. Exceptional mid-palate and lengthy stone fruit finish.
About 40 cases produced.
Jake Busching Wines 2015 Cabernet Franc
100% Cabernet Franc | 13.2% abv
Made from grapes sourced from 15-year-old vines at Grape Lawn Vineyard. The wine spent 10 months in mostly neutral oak. A fresh, fruit-driven Cabernet Franc with loads of red fruit. Nice red berry acidity; lengthy raspberry, cherry and black tea finish.
120 cases available.