I write with our best wishes for a healthy and flourishing 2021, and to recall bright spots we’re thankful for, in a 2020 everyone will remember as challenging. We owe these gifts, like our challenges, to being an agricultural estate under long and diverse cultivation. In 2021, we’ll be inviting you to celebrate the bicentennial of both the completion of Thomas Jefferson’s mansion for Governor Barbour, and the opening in Gambellara, Italy, of our founding family’s 7-generation winegrowing house, Casa Vinicola Zonin. As much as the duration of these commitments, their annual renewals best explain our adaptability and good fortune. We recall Virgil’s insight, in his poem on winegrowing, Fortunate is the man who knows the causes of things.
Truly this wine estate struggled in 2020 as much as everyone did, to adopt necessary precautions to protect the health of our visitors and staff, while strengthening our distribution directly to homes. But with our generous setting, these burdens fell upon expansive space to assure social distancing, the natural allure of the countryside to sustain our flow of visitors, and deep experience across the spectrum of hospitality in accommodation, food and wine. More than ever, an afternoon at the vineyard gave memorable refreshment.
We enlarged indoor tasting areas, we enriched the amenities of our outdoors, and when group tours needed to be suspended, we augmented the outreach of our educational efforts in our Discovery Room, with video discussions of our wines which I presented from the vineyards where they grow. Palladio Restaurant, too, contributed proportionately to this enrichment of our welcome, providing elegant, simple take-out dishes to be enjoyed in our Discovery Room and Library 1821 tasting areas, indoors and out, while sustaining as distinguished a program of Lunch and Dinner and special feasts as could be had in Virginia. We cannot mention the difficulties of 2020 without confessing their inspiration, in enhancing the experience of being our guest.
Our gratitude for adversity in 2020's weather is naturally limited. A metallic gray of frost hovers over Goodlow Mountain vines without pity. Even 45 years of winegrowing here have not taught us how to attract constant sunshine, but they have led us to discover the optimal slopes and soils and exposures for the planting of our leading varietals. Even with some 20 percent of our total crop lost to severe Spring frost, and rain-related impairments in certain vineyard sectors, therefore, we emerged from the 2020 growing season with the harvest of a new vintage of Octagon. As every follower of our wines can attest, this capability is the fruit of decades of sustained expansion in our commitments to Merlot and Cabernet Franc, especially, always seeking those most ideal settings for their cultivation.
A visitor to the winery today and this January, can savor that history by sampling a splendid vertical tasting of Cabernet Franc Reserve vintages in Library 1821. Because of the challenges of 2020, 2021 will not be a year of expanding our plantings, as is our custom. Instead, we will be tending to the 35,000 young vines established in ground in the recent past.
To followers of these messages, and to all who lent patience and support for our efforts in 2020, we are unforgettably grateful. We wish to all a bright and fulfilling year in 2021, and hope to be a part of it with you.
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