Cheers Check-in: 22BRIX Wine Room

Posted on February 17, 2014 by

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Cindy and Cody of 22BRIX

Cindy and Cody

With Cindy’s “big picture” point of view and Cody’s eye for detail, this mother-daughter duo created a quaint wine shop, 22BRIX Wine Room, distributing their family-made wines from Ankida Ridge Vineyards. Thanks to their family tradition of carrying the lucky number 22, as well as their love and passion for wine, Cindy and Cody made their shared dream of opening a wine shop come true.

What inspired your family to be in the wine business/open a wine shop in Charlottesville?

CINDY: The vineyard has been a creation of my sister Christine Vrooman and her family’s since 2008 when it was planted. I had been living in Cincinnati – and had been coming up on a regular basis to help out, and had really enjoyed being a part of it all.  The crushing, the bottling, etc, and just being up there on the mountain at Ankida- so beautiful and breathtaking nestled that far into the blue ridge mountains. Being closer to my family was really important, so I made the decision to move to Charlottesville in June of 2013.

Ankida Ridge has an incredible tasting room up on the mountain, but is very much off the beaten path, therefore they are only open to the public for seasonal events and the first Sunday of every month. Since the wine at Ankida has been so well received, we knew we had to make it easier for the people of Charlottesville to experience it.  In the same way that California vineyards tend to have remote tasting rooms located in the nearby towns, we had always thought it would be fun to somehow recreate that here in Charlottesville. My sister/vineyard owner Christine and I happened to stumble across a small room for rent right off the downtown mall not too long after I moved here. The space was small – but we thought it had such potential. And with that- 22BRIX Wine Room was born!

DSC_0405CODY: I’ve been a documentary /reality tv editor since I graduated college, but in the last couple years – I’ve been trying to get away from the dark edit suite a little and out into a more organic, grounded environment. Just like my mother- I really gravitated towards the viticulture/winemaking world that my Aunt Christine, Uncle Denny, and cousin/winemaker Nathan were entering into- so I decided the best way to enter that world myself, (but from NYC) was to start taking sommelier classes in Manhattan. I fell in love with it, but still had no idea that 22BRIX was on the horizon. It wasn’t until one fateful day when my mother called me after she had moved to C-Ville and said they had signed a lease on a small space in downtown Charlottesville for a tasting room- (A dream I’ve shared with her for many years) – that I knew this was bound to be the next chapter in my life.

After a few serendipitous coincidences, I was able to relocate part time down to C-Ville to help out my mom for the year and get things started.  She said it was a small space- but having spent years drinking wine in those countless tiny, cozy, dimly lit spots in Brooklyn, I told my mom- we can make it work. So I really tried to blend a little bit of that Brooklyn flavor with the feel of Ankida Ridge’s actual tasting room on the mountain. It has been such a fun experience getting to know what a ‘small town’ life is like. Honestly, I feel like Charlottesville is the little Brooklyn of Virginia- so I definitely feel like I picked the right small town to experience for the year!

Tell us about “the Brix Number” and where the name “22BRIX” came from.

The BRIX number is the percentage of sugar in the grapes, that when fermented gives us just the right percentage of alcohol to create the style of wine we like to craft at Ankida Ridge. For Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir, we wait all season for the reading of the grapes to climb to a brix level of 22. As soon as it does – it’s time to harvest. We chose this name not only because ’22 BRIX’ lends itself to our own viticultural practices, but more importantly -opens up the conversation to talk about wine. On top of all this –  the number 22 has been the family’s lucky number for decades – so it was almost too perfect!

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What is your favorite wine that you produce and sell?

CINDY: The 2012 Pinot Noir. Since Pinot isn’t normally grown out in Virginia (due to the more humid, boggy Virginia terroir) – it is really nice to be able to taste what Ankida has accomplished with this grape. Because of their high elevation and rocky soil, Ankida has been pegged as Virginia’s ‘Little Burgundy’ and henceforth- the Pinot has done extraordinary well up there on the mountain.

CODY: Gosh – not going to lie – I love all of Ankida Wines.  I really do, but I think the one I love most is the 2012 Chardonnay. I never was a Chard fan until I tasted Ankida’s, but it is done in more of a Burgundy-style, so it has fantastic minerality and great notes of  juicy pear and lemongrass. A litttle nutmeg on the nose. Yum. A great wine all year long- actually one of the few white wines I like to drink during the winter!

Describe your wines in 10 words.

Virginia’s “Little Burgundy”, wines that express a true sense of place. (Oops. That’s 11… Are we fired?)

DSC_0449What’s the first glass of wine that you can remember having?

CINDY:  Boones Farm Apple Wine. Wine Gods – please forgive me.

CODY: Yellowtail Chardonnay. And yes, I was playing a drinking game with it.

Where do you like to go to have a glass of wine and a bite to eat in the area?

CINDY: I just discovered Alley Light with my sister a couple days after it opened. Wow – what a fun, tasty spot.

CODY: Coming from Brooklyn, I gravitate toward the small, dark, cozy spots. Only been here a month or two – so I’m still learning the lay of the land – but I do love me the downstairs bar at the C&O. Great wine. Spectacular cocktails. Incredible food.  Awesome atmosphere.

List your favorite local vineyard(s).

Stinson Vineyards. Veritas. King Family Vineyards. Early Mountain.

What’s next for 22 Brix? Upcoming events, collaborations, and wine sipping on the porch in the spring?

We hope to continue featuring wines from a different Virginia Vineyard each month (in addition to our own). So great to be able to let people in Charlottesville get to taste a bit of what Virginia’s fantastic vineyards have to offer- without travelling too far. We will also to continue to do cheese pairing events with Nadjeeb from Flora – in fact, our next wine and cheese pairing event is THIS FRIDAY, February 21st!

And as soon as the warm weather hits- get ready for wine sipping on the front porch! And hopefully some local musicians to keep our ears entertained.

The ladies of 22BRIX searched for and finally found the perfect table that brings a sense of community for those enjoying Ankida wines in the cozy wine room.

The ladies of 22BRIX searched for and finally found the perfect table that brings a sense of community for those enjoying Ankida wines in the cozy wine room.

I learned a lot about Ankida Ridge wines from Cindy and Cody, including the different stages of life that the vines undergo in the growing process. The elements of Virginia’s soils help to create the unique flavors of Ankida Ridge wines. Cindy and Cody taught me about the importance of the levels of soils through which the vines grow, pictured below:

Jars of the 3 layers of soil

In Jar #1 is the surface soil, being the top 12 inches of the earth. It is loose and stony, consisting of larger pieces of dirt and rock.

In Jar #2 is soil that is beginning to break down into smaller fragments of dirt.

In Jar #3 is the soil, that after thousands of years, has collected the crushed components of granite, sand, clay, and decomposing forest matter. Water seeps underground, down the slope of the mountain side, to this soil. This is the vines’ favorite soil.

Thanks to the uniqueness of Virginia’s rich soils, and this incredibly talented winemaking family, we are able to appreciate the delicious selection of Ankida Ridge wines!

Akida Ridge Vineyard, photo by CW Vrooman

Ankida Ridge Vineyard, photo by CW Vrooman

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Posted in: cheers, New to Cville