In 1997 Jake Busching began working as the assistant vineyard manager for Jefferson Vineyards in the Monticello AVA of Virginia alongside Chris Hill and Michael Shaps, both well-known leaders in the VA wine industry. Jake grew up on a farm in Minnesota and was familiar with the physical aspects and seasonality of agriculture and so took readily to vineyard management at a time when the VA industry was really just starting to find its legs.
Jake considers himself a true Virginia winegrower. His entire vine and wine experience has been learned in the soils and terroir of Virginia hands on. The term Winegrower, meaning, a winemaker who grows grapes with a full season focus on wine quality is his chosen title. The winegrower path begins through learning vineyard management prior to following the grapes into the winery and making wine. ‘Wine is grown, not made’ is an often heard adage around winegrowers and serious minded viticultural folk.
Jake Busching has remained in the Monticello AVA of VA wine country for 20 years planting, growing and establishing industry leading wineries such as Keswick Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, and Grace Estate Winery. Jake learned winemaking techniques under the guidance of Michael Shaps while working with Pollak vineyards form 2003-2010. This relationship eventually led to Jake and Michael joining forces in 2015 at Michael Shaps Wineworks where Jake was hired on as the GM and head winemaker for the custom crush portion of the business. Following a year of leading the 27,000 case production team for Wineworks, Jake transitioned on into the role of Vineyard Manager and head consultant for the clients of Wineworks. Jake is currently consulting manager of Vineyard Management Services which offers full vineyard and winery project consulting and management around and beyond the Monticello AVA.
The exciting culmination of his 20 years of experience growing and making wine in VA will be in the pending release of Jake Busching Wines, a private brand of hand selected grapes grown and made into wine at Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville. Small batches of high quality wines will be produced by Jake each vintage with an eye towards quality vineyard sourcing and hands on management. Jake’s first vintage will include the 2015 varietals of Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and a red blend of Tannat and Petit Verdot.
These wines will be made available in limited amounts on Jake’s website beginning Feb 3rd, 2017.