Ellen, from Houston, Texas and David, from Abilene, Texas, met at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and were married in 1977. Law school, a law practice and three growing boys kept the Kings busy until their move to Crozet in 1996. Ellen enjoys gardening and helped put in the original vineyard plantings. David put in all of the original vineyard and is currently helping sons Carrington and Stuart to add to the vineyard acreage.
The King’s oldest son Carrington, is involved with every aspect of the operation both in the vineyard and the winery. Stuart King assists brother Carrington in managing the vineyard and running the winery operation. The youngest son, James, is currently learning the role of Tasting Room Manager.
Sitting at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vineyard is located at 800 feet elevation. Dyke silt loam soil nurtures the fruit and provides ample drainage. This is particularly beneficial during challenging, wet seasons and aids in maintaining good concentration, ripeness, and balanced acidity in the fruit. The varietals picked to be planted were chosen with care. Each vine planted is a French clone on low vigour rootstock.
Throughout the year the vineyard is tended by hand. All leaf pulling, pruning, canopy maintenance, green harvest (limiting the crop to about four tons per acre), and harvest is done by hand. The family is proud to utilise best management practices that avoid soil degradation and express the terroir in the grapes. Terroir can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place.” At its core, it is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality specific to that place.
Matthieu Finot was born in Crozes Hermitage in France’s Rhone Valley. From a family of viticulturists and wine lovers, Matthieu was predisposed to continue his family’s pursuit of winemaking and enjoying. He first studied viticulture and oenology at Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy. After successfully receiving his advanced BTS degree, Matthieu worked in many different wine regions around France including Rhone Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, and Jura. Matthieu then wanted to gain world-wide experience. He worked in Italy and South Africa before joining the King Family. “Our philosophy is simple,” says Matthieu, “making great wine requires exceptional fruit.”