Sparkling Wine Blind Tasting: Virginia vs. The World


On Sat. Dec 3rd, Michael Shaps hosted a blind tasting of Sparkling Wines, Virginia vs. The World. The wines were selected by Michael in terms of similarities, with each group featuring a Virginia Wine and three other international contenders including both the Michael Shaps and the Maison Shaps sparklings.  With tasting notes of crisp green apple, honey soaked strawberries and freshly baked bread, the group was treated to a wide selection of Blanc de Blancs, Bruts, Cuvees, Roses and Champagnes. A cheese board for pairing was prepared by the C&O Restaurant and the tasting ended with a pairing of local Gearhart's chocolate brownies. A list of the wines is as follows:

Flight One

•      Jansz Premium Cuvée (Tasmania)

•      Afton Mountain 2013 Bollicine Brut (Virginia) 

•      Maison Shaps Crémant de Bourgogne (France)

•      Domaine Carneros 2012 (California) 

Flight Two

•      Michael Shaps 2012 Méthode (Virginia) 

•      Chapuy Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blanc (France)

•      Veritas Scintilla (Virginia)

•      Voirin-Jumel Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (France)

Flight Three

•      Gatinois Grand Cru Brut (France)

•      Thibaut-Janisson Brut (Virginia)

•      Michael Shaps 2011 Méthode (Virginia)

•      RH Coutier Grand Cru (France)

Flight Four

•      Mirabelle Brut Rosé (California)

•      Maison Shaps Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne (France)

•      André Clouet Rosé Brut (France)

•      Michel Arnould Grand Cru Rosé Brut (France)

Wine Releases

We have just released our 2015 Petit Manseng, as well as our 2014 Cabernet Franc! Both are available for tasting at Michael Shaps Wineworks at 1781 Harris Creek Way.

The Petit Manseng was barrel fermented, stirred with lees, and aged in 50% new French oak for 8 months. These grapes came from both the Rougemont and Honah Lee vineyard locations. It was bottle on June 1, 2016.

The Cabernet Franc was bottled on April 13th, 2016. It is 14.5% alcohol and was aged in 40% new French oak for 1 year and 7 months. These grapes came form the Carter's Mountain vineyard. Relative to our 2013 vintage, this wine is drier, less smoky, and has strong pepper notes. 

Blind Tasting 7-9-2016

This past weekend, we hosted a blind tasting of summer wines. It consisted of 4 flights of 5 wines each - 5 white blends, 5 white varietals, 5 rosés and 5 reds. There were also cheese pairings from C&O. Michael led the tasting and prior to revealing the wines, walked through describing and rating the wines. There were definitely some surprises when the wines were revealed. We had a great time, and we hope everyone that came did as well!

Stay tuned for our next event!

Wineworks Extended is now open!

Wineworks Extended

Our second tasting room and extension of Michael Shaps Wineworks, Wineworks Extended, is now open at 1585 Avon Street Extended. Stop by and see us to try our wine flights. We're offering a Wineworks On Tap flight of 4 of our growler wines for $6 and a bottle flight of Michael's Picks for $8. We've also added a smaller growler size of 1 L, and carafes for onsite consumption.

You can purchase the 1 L growlers for $8 and fill them for $15. Right now we are pouring our Mon Bidon Blanc, Viognier, Rosé & Cabernet Franc. 

We are open Wed-Sun 1 pm - 7 pm.  Our traditional wine tasting of Michael's Virginian and French wines are still available at our Michael Shaps Wineworks Tasting Room at 1781 Harris Creek Way. 

Wine Growlers Are Here!

We've gone old school. Well, we've always been pretty "old school." But now we've got the wine growlers to prove it. 

You've probably seen growlers before -- they're common at beer breweries. Heck, we get our own every so often (there are so many great breweries around Charlottesville!). But it's pretty likely that, if you're an East Coaster, you've never had one freshly filled with wine. They're not uncommon on California and Oregon and France. But the wine jug has mostly fallen out of common popularity (too bad, eh?).

Back in the day ... “the jug was once the only way to transport wine, and it was poured right out of the barrel, so I guess you could say we’re going really, really old school,” Michael Shaps said. “We’re calling it Mon Bidon, which is French for my ‘canteen.’"

Read more about our Wine Growlers (and why you can only get them filled at our tasting room) via Daily Progress! 

Cost: $10 to buy an empty glass growler, $25 to fill 'er up! 

Where to buy: Our growlers are only available in our tasting room. They're a one-time buy and you can fill and refill them to your hearts desire.

On-tap wine: We always have a white and a red on tap. As of right now (1.29.15) both the red and white are fruit driven blends that are made to be enjoyed immediately, more charming than serious. Perfect as a weekly table wine. The red is Merlot, Cab Franc, and Chambourcin, and the white is Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc. When we run out, we make a new blend, so it will always be changing.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on what's happening at Michael Shaps Wineworks! 

All photos courtesy of Kim Veillon

Behind the Scenes at the Virginia Wine Summit with Michael Shaps

About 30 Virginia Wine Summit attendees came to Carters Mountain and the winery to taste Michael's wine. It was very exciting to see all these high profile people in the wine world LOVE Michael's wine!!! The theme was old and new. A 1998 Merlot and Cabernet Franc! Did you hear that right? 1998!!!! Some of the first wine Michael made when coming to Virginia.

Michael opened all sorts of wines, and the guests showed themselves to be true professionals: able to taste/evaluate/experience a large number of wines in a relatively short amount of time. We tasted a lot of library stuff, some bottles going back to when Michael was at Jefferson Vineyards.

The crowd of sommeliers, wine buyers and journalists are nationally recognized and hailed from around the country. They really appreciated being able to taste older wines. They also seemed to genuinely enjoy tasting in our "rural industrial" setting. No frills, just the honesty of the wines. The Petit Manseng was a standout, but so was the ageability of the wines. 

Michael Shaps Wine & VA Wine in the Media:

2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine Harvest a "Classic" | Washington Post 

From Virginia to Minnesota, This is the New American Wine Map | Food and Wine 

Virginia Producing "Seriously Astonishing Wines," Says Food & Wine Writer |

Why You Need to Visit Virginia Wine Country | CNN  

Michael Shaps Chardonnay (review) | 

Virginia Wine Summit 2014 |

D.C. region’s pioneering vintners have wine varieties that might surprise you |

Upcoming Events:

11/14 UVA Women's Hockey Wine Dinner Fundraiser with Michael Shaps & l'etoile (Tickets Here)

11/16 Burgundy Wine Club Launch 

Photos by Kim Veillon 

Behind the Scenes with Michael Shaps, Chef Jose Andres, and Food & Wine Magazine

Have we mentioned how excited we are for the October 2014 issue of Food & Wine Magazine? The winery was featured as part of a piece on Virginia Wine Country with Chef Jose Andres. Here's a little peek into what happened behind the scenes during the Chefs visit to our working winery.

Jose Andres visited the winery in August along with Ray Isle, the Executive Wine editor at Food and Wine, and Jose's Beverage Director Lucas Paya. Michael gave them a tour of the space -- which, if you've ever been out our way, you know includes checking out a lot of massive, stainless-steel-finish fermenting tanks, barrels upon barrels upon barrels of new and aging wines, a mini kitchen where our staff chemist works her magic, and our newly expanded crush pad and tasting room. Michael led a barrel tasting and then they tasted through about 20 different wines, with Michael and Jose trading stories about Virginia wine as they went. Jose, Ray, and Lucas all loved the wines, especially the Petit Manseng, and Jose tried to buy Michael out of his private stash. Michael was generous enough to share some. Both Ray and Jose returned to their favorites and finished the visit over a glass of wine and talking about the industry.

As you can see from the page out of Food & Wine's Dream Trip feature, Jose bought three of those reserved cases for his restaurant America Eats Tavern. Which means that's one of the only places you can taste that Petit Manseng reserve! (Unless you happen to get invited to share a bottle with Chef Jose Andres himself, over dinner one night.)

Pick up a copy on news stands now! You can also subscribe to the magazine (a print or online edition) here.

Wine Club Just Got Re-Vamped!

Grapes from this years (2014) harvest. Photo by Kim Veillon. 

Grapes from this years (2014) harvest. Photo by Kim Veillon. 

We have revamped the wine club. The most significant difference will be an increase in the discount offered on wine club selections. Each wine selected will now receive a 30% discount per bottle!  There will also be more events to benefit wine club members. 

In case you have not visited Michael Shaps/Wineworks lately we have been working on a building expansion. We are making progress and hope to have the new tasting room completed in the next few months.  

 We have several events planned for the coming months.  

On November 16th we will be launching our new Burgundy Wine Club, which will feature the Michael Shaps wines made in Meursault, France. We’ll be tasting Maison Michael Shaps wines between the hours of 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Michael will be conducting the tastings so this is a great chance to hear about Burgundy wines. 

On December 13th we will be holding a blind tasting event featuring sparkling wines and champagne. Everyone needs a little bubbly in their life for New Year’s Eve! The cost for this event will be $45, for wine club members it is $35. 

On January 10th we will be hosting a Wine Club Member Appreciation Party! 

More details coming soon. 

Michael Shaps Wineworks September Wine Club Picks!

Are we a little late on the uptake for posting this month's September Wine Club picks? Perhaps. Better late than never! Here are the features for the rest of this beautiful month: 

Michael Shaps Petit Verdot 2010:  This wine is amazing and if you remember the boldness and fruit of the 2009 you will be even more impressed.  This is a phenomenal red from Virginia rich in smooth tannins and deep, dark fruit, and can be appropriately described as an iron fist in a velvet glove.  Aged in 50% new oak for two years with 1 year in bottle to aid in integrating tannins and the develop length.  It is drinking well now, but will reach its prime in 4-5 years.

Michael Shaps Odette 2013:  Named in honor of Michael’s mother, Odette, this is an intriguing and complex dry white blend of Petit Manseng, Riesling, Chardonnay and Viognier.  The initial crispness and citrus fruit on the nose develops into an incredibly aromatic, balanced and luscious wine with big, bright, and ripe fruit.  Balanced acidity and a full body lead to a lingering finish. The wine is partially fermented in barrel and stainless steel before being briefly aged in French oak.  The Odette is a great wine for serious wine enthusiasts.  A classic wine in the making. 

Maison Michael Shaps 2009  Bourgogne Pinot Noir:  This is a special limited offer to introduce you to Michael’s wines made in Meursault, France. The Bourgogne Pinot Noir is made from grapes grown in the Cote Chalonnaise and in the Haute Cote de Beaune.  We blend the two vineyard sites together during the aging in barrels.  Both are made the same way, with destemming before going in the tank.  A cold maceration period of three days takes place before allowing the native yeast strains to start the fermentation.  Daily punch downs and pump-overs take place to extract the color and tannins.  A post fermentation maceration also takes place with the fermented wine staying on the skins for up to two weeks.  The Bourgogne Pinot is aged in older oak barrels as not add any weight or over powering oak to this fruity, but elegant wine.

Not a member of the Wine Club? Send us an email and we'll sign you up! (Did we mention it's free and you get a 30% discount on all of our wines just by signing up? Real life.)

Name *

2013 Golds for Michael Shaps Wines at Virginia Governors Cup Competition

Virginia Wineworks and Michael Shaps secured 3 golds this year at the 2013 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition. The most golds awarded to a single winery. The gold medals were awarded to the Michael Shaps 2010 Chardonnay, 2010 Cabernet Franc and 2008 Red Hill Reserve Cabernet Franc. Michael Shaps Wines also received 4 silver medals for the 2007 Michael Shaps Meritage, 2010 Meritage, Merlot and Petit Verdot and won a bronze for the 2011 Viognier.