• August 2015

The Father of Virginia Wine, Gabriele Rausse, Teaches Us About Jefferson's Passion

Pour yourself a lovely glass of vino and sit back and relax as you watch this episode of Grateful American™ TV, starring Gabriele Rausse, who has been dubbed “The Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry.”

It is with good reason. Rausse has been involved in the start-up of numerous wineries, including his own, since he first came to Virginia from his native Valdagno, Italy.

Today, he is director of gardens and grounds at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, where he began as assistant director when he arrived in 1995.

During his time at Monticello, he has worked to restore Thomas Jefferson’s vineyard, located just below the vegetable garden.

The Northeast vineyard has been replanted using several Jefferson-related European varieties of grape, grafted on hardy, pest-resistant native rootstock. The Southwest Vineyard has been replanted entirely with the Sangiovese grape, a variety documented by Jefferson in 1807 and the principal ingredient of Chianti. Rausse oversees the production of wine and the care of the restored vineyards, which continue to serve as experimental gardens of unusual varieties of vinifera.

In this interview with Grateful American™ Foundation founder David Bruce Smith and Grateful American™ Series Executive Producer Hope Katz Gibbs, Rausse answers these questions:

  1. Jefferson is known as an agricultural experimenter. What crops did he try to grow on the surrounding plantation?
  2. What plants did he experiment with growing in his kitchen garden? What were some of his favorites, and how did he like to eat them?
  3. Jefferson, a wine lover, also experimented with growing grapes. What varieties did he try to grow?
  4. How did all of Jefferson’s agricultural experimentation fit into his vision for America and its place in the world?
  5. How do we know so much about what Jefferson grew?

Watch the video now! And be sure to check out more fascinating facts and interviews at gratefulamericanfoundation.com.

Here’s to restoring enthusiasm in American history for kids, and adults!

About the Gabriele Rausse Winery

For the past 18 years it has been frustratingly difficult to find Gabriele Rausse’s wine. Now it will be marginally easier … his winery will be serving wine during regular hours:

  • Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The winery is located at 3247 Carter’s Mountain Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22902.

Intrigued? Learn more at gabrieleraussewinery.com.