Chateau Z and barn.
Welcome to Chateau Z Vineyard, your source for grape vine cuttings and fruit from varieties "that belong in Virginia's hot and humid climate!" With the new dominance of vinifera grapes in the eastern winemaking scene, Dr. Ambers decided that the best disease- and insect-resistant hybrids developed over the last 300 years, and select wild grapes, needed a home. More than 195 of these live in Chateau Z Vineyard!
Making new grapes on a wild vine.
Since 2003, the "prime directive" has been grape breeding to continue the long tradition of developing our native vines and to prepare for a time, maybe not so far off, when heavy use of pesticides is either cost prohibitive or finally accepted to be health prohibitive. Without fungicides and insecticides, vinifera grapes and many hybrids cannot produce fruit of high enough quality in the eastern U.S. to make excellent wine. When chemicals finally become untenable, Dr. Ambers wanted to have had a hand in helping to create the new cultivars that will form the basis of the New Eastern Viticulture.
To quote a recent treatise on muscadine grapes*, "Resistance is our most important, economically viable, environmentally safe, and socially acceptable disease management strategy for the long-term success of mankind." Dr. Ambers agrees and believes this extends to ALL crops, especially those used directly for food.
C. Ambers in Chateau Z Vineyard at the beginning.
As a by-product of collecting existing grape cultivars and natives for breeding, there are many prunings, many small lots of different grapes, and plenty of seed. All of these are available to interested growers and home winemakers who can contact the Chateau through this website.
The Chateau Z barn with Fall colors on Tobacco Row Mountain.
We hope you'll take some time to explore the vineyard virtually by clicking on the topics buttons on this page. Please email me at the address shown on the Home page if you have any questions about the vineyard products we have available. Note: we are not open to the general public because of limited staff (one person) and the shock hazard present from our electrified deer fencing. Please contact Dr. Ambers before attempting to visit.
Carol Mae Ambers grapes relaxing in the vineyard.
Fall color on High Peak behind Chateau Z and barn.
*(Muscadine Grapes; ISBN: 0-97975546-0-4; Softcover; Edited by Fouad M. Basiouny and David G. Himelrick; Chapter 10: Diseases; p. 228; http://www.ashs.org/ashspress/mgrapes.html )