In the summer of 2020 we began leasing vineyards owned by David and Linda Boyden in Cambridge, Vermont. Home to some of the oldest vines in Vermont, these three plots are planted to Frontenac Noir, Marquette, and Frontenac Blanc (a bit more about these grape varieties below).
We converted to the vineyards to organic practices, spraying sulfur and copper as well as some stylet oil and various plant teas to help control fungal disease in the vineyard. In the fall of that year we leased space in the old Shacksbury production facility, and produced the first vintage of Stella14 wine. We destemmed and foot-trod all of our grapes and allowed indigenous (native, ambient, etc.) yeast to do their work. We've not added any sulfur in the winemaking process and the wines are not fined or filtered.
In 2021 we decided to sell our grapes to other wonderful producers around the state, and in 2022 began renovating our property and as of 2022 we produce the wines in the barn on our property in Cambridge!
In 1785, the Vermont Republic issued a copper coin with the words 'Stella Quarta Decima' or 'The 14th Star' in hopes of becoming the 14th state. In 1791 Vermont was admitted to the nascent United States and the coin left circulation.
The coin's Latin text was the inspiration in 2015 for Angela Kubicke, a freshman at St. Johnsbury Academy, to propose that Vermont adopt a second motto in Latin: Stella Quarta Decima Fulgeat, or May the 14th Star Shine Brightly. Meeting with opposition from some misinformed citizens who thought that Vermont should not have a 'Latino' motto, the press and high school students alike seized on the opportunity to educate those less learned in Vermont history (and ancient languages). Gov. Shumlin signed the bill into reality saying: "veni, vidi, signati" and Vermont had its Latin motto.
We took the history of this coin and the charming path to a new motto for our state as inspiration for both our name and the back label to our wines.
All of our grapes are cold-hardy hybrid varieties, bred to withstand the chilly Vermont winters. This is the quick rundown on the grapes and their history:
FRONTENAC NOIR: Bred at the University of Minnesota in 1978 as a hybrid of Landot Noir and Vitis riparia selection #89. First released in 1996. Very cold hardy and disease resistant. Intense color, savory character, and lots of dark fruit.
MARQUETTE: Hybrid of MN1094 and Ravat 262 (of course!) also bred at the University of Minnesota. Don't try to understand the genealogy of those varieties as it's horrifically complex. It does involve Schiava way down the line somewhere... and Ravat 262 is a hybrid of Seibel 8365 x Pinot Noir, so that's cool. Released in 2006 and named after a 17th c. Jesuit missionary and explorer, it has beautiful red fruit with lots of currant and raspberry character, as well as bright acidity and lifted floral and spice notes.
FRONTENAC BLANC: See Frontenac Noir above, this is a color mutation that was first seen in Québec in 2005. Propagation in the states began in 2009. High acid with beautiful tropical fruit. Much less aromatically intense than La Crescent or Brianna.