The Women of the Well Hung Vineyard

Tickle the Tastebuds - Wines & Wineries

Wine With The Total Package

by Jessica Coates


A toastWhile visiting a Charlottesville or Earlysville market, sampling local fruits and goods, you might find yourself encountering a unique brand of wine made by the women of Well Hung Vineyard.

What started five years ago as an idea between friends has become a thriving business in the Virginia wine community. Well Hung doesn’t just owe its growing success to the unique name but to the dynamic women behind it.

The idea started between jogging partners Amy Steers and Tracy Verkerke. Amy, who is the resident viticulturist at Well Hung, had been growing grapes in her backyard. One day she and Tracy began to discuss the idea of making their own wine and started to think of a name for it.

“Amy’s husband is a urologist,” explains Tracy, remembering the process. “That is sort of where [the name] came from…. We thought it was pretty outrageous but it was a good idea.”

While some may find the name a bit risqué, Tracy notes women have been the brunt of alcohol advertising for years. Well Hung provides a tasteful and fun alternative.

The Women of Well HungTracy Verkerke, an artist, began working on the design based on a picture of Amy’s husband and son standing behind grapes.

Kathy Rash, a successful businesswoman, heard about the venture between Amy Steers and Tracy Verkerke at a cocktail party, and decided to join Well Hung Vineyard, taking on the business aspect. With these three women at the helm, Well Hung seems to have the perfect package.

During its first year, Well Hung sold out of their stock quickly and has since had to double their production. The wine is produced at a facility run by Michael Shaps. While Well Hung doesn’t have a facility of their own to make their wine, they do grow their own grapes, half of which are still in Amy’s backyard. They celebrated their first vintage in June of 2009.

Tracy has found that there are not many women involved in the complete process of wine making. This may have to do with the relatively new and recently exploding wine community in Virginia.

The trending emphasis on wine can be seen in Richmond by taking a short drive down Carytown. which is now home to several wine bars, including Secco, Bonvenu and Bin 22. Well Hung can be found nearby at the Strawberry Street Vineyard, 407 Strawberry St.

If readers want to start their own vineyard, the Well Hung women say it is a lot of work but can be rewarding. There is a whole art to growing grapes for wine. Readers can check out the informative video, “A Year in the Vineyard,” on the Well Hung web site to explore the wine-making journey.

WH-PrivateSelect-backCurrently, Well Hung Vineyard is trying to expand their distribution locations and their business. With that name, it seems they will have no trouble attracting new audiences.

Find other Well Hung retailers and products can be found at The Well Hung Web siteFollow them on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

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Vintage 2009 wines now available from Well Hung Vineyard are the Well Hung Chardonnary, with  crisp apple and citrus notes and a persimmon finish; the Very Well Hung, with vanilla, apple and caramel flavors and a vanilla finish; the Well Hung Vineyard Blush, offering a refreshing acidity with a hint of strawberry and kiwi and a clean, smooth finish; a Cabernet Franc, a dry, light, ripe fruity sip and black pepper and raspberry finish; Verdot-Merlot, with hints of rich red currants and a clean finish; and the Private Select, for a ripe plum and cherry sip and an earthy finish.

Photos courtesy of Well Hung Vineyard.

Photo 1, top: left to right, Kathy Rash, Amy Steers, & Tracy Verkerke

 
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