David Greenhill, the Yale educated entrepreneur, had been hoping to purchase a Virginia vineyard for many years, and as soon as he walked the Swedenberg property in Middleburg, he knew he had found the perfect place.
All he needed was a knowledgeable, confident and committed winemaker and estate manager, whom he found in Sébastien Marquet and Isabelle Truchon.
Today, everything is ‘full steam ahead’ at what is now Greenhill Winery & Vineyards under the expert direction of the Burgundy Style Consulting duo, Marquet and his wife, Truchon, wine consultants whose business is highly regarded across the country. Both Isabelle and Sébastien have committed their experience, expertise and enthusiasm to help Greenhill create the most delicious and authentic Virginia wines on the market.
Sébastien, who hails from a Burgundian family of winemakers has been making wine since he began on his grandfather’s estate when he was four years old.
“By my 12th year, I had made a personal decision to become a winemaker. At the age of 13, I was sent to The Lycé Viticole et Oenologie de Beaune in Burgundy.
“It was within the walls of this boarding school that I successfully obtained my knowledge and diplomas. It was during this time of study and hands-on experience that my love and appreciation for the earth, and its gifts were established.”
From 1989 to 1992, he created wines from prestigious villages in Burgundy such as Pommard, Volnay, Beaune, Meursault and Monthelie.
“This Pinot Noir and Chardonnay experience brought me a rich and complete understanding of these fabulous grape varietals.”
For the next three years, he managed and produced wine in the Languedoc-Rousillon region in Southern France where he expanded his Burgundy techniques to the Bordeaux and Cote du Rhones varietals where different weather conditions required broader knowledge.
By blending his knowledge base, learning various techniques and honing his instinctual savoir faire, Sébastien won many awards during this period.
Feeling adventuresome, he launched the first Caribbean vineyard in 1996. In order to launch the first Caribbean wine and table grapes after learning to deal with the technical and scientific challenges of such humid weather conditions.
In 2003, Sébastien’s friend, Canadian Professor Dr. D’Arcy Doman, opened a door for him to an important California experience.
“Through D’Arcy I became employed in many wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley. The dynamic industry revolving around the wine world in California opened my eyes to the exceptional possibilities that was available to the industry there.”
He also learned that a highly diversified palette existed in different parts of the world, and he began to tailor his wines accordingly.
Now, after six harvests as general manager/winemaker of Doukénie Winery in Loudoun County, Sébastien looks forward to continue putting his global knowledge to work at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards.
“It takes a deep understanding of the challenges presented in the East Coast to create world class wine in Virginia. I believe I have proven that I can produce world class wine anywhere, and I intend to produce vintages at Greenhill that are of consistent high quality, vintage after vintage.”
Sébastien intends to launch Greenhill with Sparkling Blanc de Blanc from Chardonnay grapes, a Red Bordeaux blend made of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc grapes, a Vidal Blanc and a Syrah.
David Greenhill was charmed by Virginia wine country while driving through the Northern Virginia countryside a decade ago. When Swedenberg came to market, he knew he had found the location and property that would help him build his dream.
Isabelle Truchon, grew up in Montreal, but has lived in the United States for 25 years. She and Sébastien met in Sonoma California, where they both lived and worked.
We want our guests to have an authentic Virginia Wine Country experience,” she explained. “And we plan to plant vines all the way to Route 50. We need more vines, and we want passers by to see immediately what is happening here.”
With a soft opening scheduled for early August, and their grand opening scheduled for August 31, there is a lot to do to bring the property up to the level planned, and the renovations are ‘all systems go’ everywhere one looks.
The public Tasting Room is under total renovation with the signs of an elegant, European environment already much in evidence.
Every inch of the Revolutionary War manor house is being remodeled with plans to establish a Greenhill Wine Club for 1,000 or so lucky members. In addition to silver leaf gilded walls, and a massive conference room, and a wine tasting sink bar, every detail is being considered closely to meet the needs of what will certainly be a distinguished membership experience.
“The only commitment for membership is that each member purchase a specified amount of wine annually, at a discounted rate,” according to Isabelle, “ and we offer exclusive benefits and our Clubhouse amenities will be of the highest caliber.”
A tour of the clubhouse renovations underscored her statement as the three private Tasting Rooms, dining room, gardens and lakeside patios are taking shape. The views are majestic, the accommodations elegant and serene and the ambience could easily be at the Hotel de la Poste in Beaune.
Soon, David Greenhill will take up residence at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards. Until then, he will supervise the renovations from his Alexandria and Florida residences.
For more information about Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, please telephone 540 687 6968.
For Sébastien’s thoughts about the grapes that work best in Virginia, please visit: http://www.sebastienmarquet.com/www.sebastienmarquet.com/Blog/Entries/2010/6/2_What_grape_work_well_in_Virginia.html.
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