In the spirit of the founding winemakers before them, The Commonwealth Collective crafts wines unbridled by regulation or expectation - four vintners telling the tale each vintage of their varied experiences and continued study into Virginia winegrowing. As the next generation of industry torchbearers, The Collective draws on lessons from the past, while embracing and shaping the evolving understanding of what's possible in Virginia wine country.
Winemaker, Veritas Vineyard & Winery
As the oldest daughter of the owners, it can be said that Emily has been around since the beginning of Veritas time. She moved to the farm in 1999 to take care of her youngest sister, Chloe, and helped get the vineyard started. Quickly, she fell in love with life in Afton, VA and enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Fermentation Science program, eventually earning her master's degree in oenology. Now fifteen vintages in, she’s been making wine at Veritas ever since. Emily has a newfound passion for fishing and is truly obsessed with UVa Basketball (despite being a Tech grad!) She has two beautiful daughters and resides in Afton.
Winemaker, Ankida Ridge Vineyards
In 2009, Nathan moved to Virginia from Denver, Colorado to help his family realize their winemaking dreams. Nathan utilized his business background and winemaking style to help catapult Ankida Ridge Vineyards into prominence in the blossoming Virginia wine industry. He gained valuable experience working with his wife, Rachel, at Stinson Vineyards where he manages the vineyards and assists in the cellar. Following the example of winemaking consultant Matthieu Finot of King Family Vineyards, his winemaking style is to provide the healthiest fermentations and maturation conditions possible for the grapes to properly express their terroir. Ankida Ridge Vineyards consists of a 2 acre planting of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. The vines are planted with tight spacing on well drained, rocky soils. An emphasis on meticulous canopy and fruit zone management allows the vines to produce clean, healthy, mature fruit that makes world class, small batch wines.
Winemaker, Early Mountain Vineyards
Ben Jordan oversees all aspects of winemaking, vineyards and production at Early Mountain Vineyards. A native Virginian who began his winemaking career in Sonoma County with Dutcher Crossing Winery and C. Donatiello Winery, Ben most recently worked with Michael Shaps at Virginia Wineworks. Along with his brothers, Ben also helps run his family’s vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley and makes an aromatized wine called War & Rust. Outside of the wine world, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. Ben is a graduate of Duke University and received his master's from Carnegie Mellon University.
FIVE FORKS WHITE BLEND
NOVUM RED BLEND
Rachel Stinson Vrooman
Winemaker, Stinson Vineyards
Rachel Stinson Vrooman is Winemaker and Director of Operations at Stinson Vineyards. Just years removed from a career in Manhattan as a photo editor, Rachel has emerged as one of the bright young talents in a state now producing world-class wines. She finds that her new vocation shares features with her previous one. “I love that winemaking is a blend of science and artistry,” Rachel says. “This was familiar to me coming from a photography background. I also appreciate the idea of a vintage – the chance to start over each year and the challenge of not having complete control over harvest conditions.” With just seven vintages under her belt, Rachel has already made her mark on the Virginia wine scene. Her wines have earned numerous awards for the 2010 through 2015 vintages. Stinson Vineyards is a family-owned, estate winery in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, specializing in small-lot wines with a distinct French influence. The father-daughter team of Scott Stinson and Rachel Stinson Vrooman takes their inspiration from ‘garagiste’ wineries of France, in both their winemaking techniques and the winery itself, which is built in an old three-car garage. The wines of Stinson Vineyards are enjoying growing critical acclaim, and the winery has become a visitor destination for its fine wines, stunning views and artisan farm store.