VPR Cafe: Award-Winning Vintner Puts Vermont Wine In The National Spotlight

Jan 25, 2019

We know all about Vermont's stellar reputation for beer, cheese and maple products. But wine? Over the last several years, Vermont wines have gained national attention thanks to one woman who has been leading this particular parade.

Deirdre Heekin is co-owner of La Garagista Farm + Winery in Barnard. Along with her husband, Caleb Barber, they also have two additional parcels of vineyard in The Champlain Valley. The two have been running the winery for a decade and, in the past year-and-a-half, Heekin has hit it big! Some of her accolades include:

  • One of five "rule-breaking winemakers to know" by Food & Wine magazine
  • A finalist for Wine Enthusiast's Winemaker of the Year
  • Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Beverage Professional of 2017
  • Wine Person of the Year by Imbibe

Food writer, Melissa Pasanen, spent time with Heekin last fall to learn about making natural wine through biodynamics. In this episode of The VPR Cafe, Pasanen gives us an overview of this intrinsic process, points out the difference between traditional "noble" grapes and the northern-hardy hybrids used by La Garagista, and tells us how Heekin is supporting other up-and-coming vintners.

No need to get the rest of this winemaker's story through the grapevine, just read Pasanen's article from the fall issue of Middlebury magainze: "Can World-Class Wine Come From... Vermont?"