Owners, Luke and Toni Kilyk, bought the initial piece of what is now known as Granite Heights in 1997. The most recent expansions of the current farmland occurred in 2007. Luke is a full time Intellectual Property Law Attorney (patents, trademarks, copyrights) and Toni is a Family Practice Physician who works for the Fauquier Free Clinic (for those without the means to afford health insurance). Our other full time job is taking care of the Granite Heights farm and our dogs and cats.
The vineyard part of Granite Heights is currently about 12 acres with each acre having 2,000 vines per acre, which is known as 'high-density' planting. This is not because we have limited land but it is done to crowd the vines and make them 'fight' for growth and nutrients in view of the fertile soil of Virginia. We currently have planted Merlot, Cab. Sauv,, Petit Verdot, Cab. Franc, Barbera, Chardonnay, and Petit Manseng.
OUR BELIEFS/APPROACH/PHILOSOPHY --- WE DO THE WORK AND WE CARE ABOUT THE QUALITY.
From the day we bought the property and moved to the farm, we have always believed in doing almost everything on our own when it comes to landscaping and farming. On the farm, we cut the grass, we constructed the deer fencing for the vineyard, we designed the vineyard and help plant it, and so on. Now, with some time sensitive projects, we have had the help of additional folks, but we are right beside them getting our hands dirty. Our owner beliefs are simple -- we do not want to watch someone else do the job, if we can do the job ourselves or with them. We see some vineyards these days where the owners are just that - owners - without any real involvement and having no appreciation for the details of the operation, the sweat it takes and the time it takes to build a farm/vineyard. We have been and will be involved in every step that this farm takes. We are proud of that.
When it comes to wine making, we are the ones that help harvest the grapes, we are the ones that process the grapes, and we are the ones that press the fermented grapes and fill the barrels. Luke is fortunate enough to have a college degree in Chemistry and has enjoyed making wine as a hobby since 2001 and now commercially since 2008. We have been blessed with working with vineyard and wine consultants for several years, including Lucie Morton (who at one time actually lived on the farm to further assist with planting strategy). Essentially, we have tried to be "sponges" with taking the current knowledge of Virginia grape growing and wine making from the ones that we respect in our area, and now we need to apply and advance that knowledge with our own efforts. When we make and taste the wine, we always ask ourselves, "is this something that we would buy?" We can tell you that our wine will only get sold, if the answer is "YES."
In wine making, our goals are simple. We want to make a high quality wine and be proud of the wine itself. In other words, let the "wine do the talking," and we do not want to be a winery known for entertainment or great parties. We want to be known and recognized as wine makers/owners that really care about making a fine-tasting wine that can be enjoyed on our farm. These goals mean that we put a lot of resources into growing high quality vines (using entirely ENTAV French certified clones except for the Barbera plantings), the best grape processing equipment (Bucher Vaslin and Euromachines), and our own on-site automated bottling equipment (Costral) and high quality control (hand sorting/inspections) on the grape processing and wine making. When you consider that we are a very small winery (we call it a "nano-winery"), the amount of effort and the high quality equipment that we are using are quite unusual and some would consider us crazy for that time/expense. We hope you will appreciate the love, hard work, and drive for a wine product that we hope will get better each year (with mother nature cooperating).
Picture of Luke pumping wine from pressing
Picture of Luke and Toni at the Winery
Granite Heights Winery