Cassandra Derby is the newest member to the Slater Run Vineyards team. She discovered her passion for winemaking during her college years on a study abroad trip to Italy. Following her time in school and a brief stint of consulting, Cassandra was drawn back into the wine industry and has worked in all areas of the industry from the tasting room to the vineyard to the cellar. Always hungry for more knowledge, Cassandra continues to further her wine studies through many different avenues and couldn't be more excited to be a part of the SRV team!
Lucie Morton is the established superstar on the team with academic credentials and accomplishments too many to mention, including being one of the world's foremost ampelographers. Lucie helped the team select the vineyard site and the clone/rootstock combinations to fit a vineyard design with one meter between vines and seven feet between rows. Lucie continues quarterly visits to the vineyard to advise on how to nurture the vines to produce the type of high quality fruit that makes great wine.
Kiernan's father, Bob Slater, brings a lifetime of experience working the family farm, as he helps ensure that all aspects of the vineyard and winemaking effort are done right--including the selection of the best terroir for the vineyards. His specialty, however, is serving as the farm and vineyard's "tractorist," maneuvering the narrow-gauged Landini and Kubota through the close-spaced rows of the vineyards to care for the vines and by operating larger equipment, a.k.a. the "Bushhog," through the surrounding fields.
Kiernan's mother, Alice Slater, wears every hat in the family business -- from harvesting grapes to labeling bottles to helping in the tasting room. She has led the landscaping effort at both the winery and tasting room, while also developing the menu of homemade treats served at the tasting room by preparing the delicious flourless chocolate cakes and traditional Hunt Country ham biscuits that make our menu so special.
Julien Lacaze was brought up with a rare past. Raised by a wild pack of frogs, he had to fend for himself at an early age, roaming the countryside. By the age of 9, he was found by a traveling circus, where he was forced to do acts he still doesn’t like to talk about. After the “shows” he would then have to cook and feed the crew, which is where he learned his excellent skills in hospitality. After escaping through an event of which he also doesn’t like to talk, Julien was found eating the grapes of Slater Run Vineyards. Kiernan and Chris so thoughtfully took Julien in and turned him into their own “juggler.” You can find Julien around the Patuskys' various businesses, trying to look busy and purposeful.
Kiernan comes to the vineyard and winery business with a strong liberal arts background, which her grandfather always assured her: "will teach you to be a life-long learner." After a career that included teaching high school and college writing, she moved back home to the family farm with her husband and two young children to launch the vineyard, winery and tasting room. She continues to enjoy learning with and from her fabulous team every day!
Soon after her parents had the opportunity to accomplish a dream and purchase a vineyard and a winery in Monbazillac (Southwest France), Katell Griaud “fell in the barrel” and began her studies in oenology and viticulture. Graduating with a Diplôme National d’Oenologue from the faculty of oenology of Bordeaux, she went on to earn a Master degree in Oenologie et Environnement Viti-Vinicole.
After a few harvests in France and New Zealand, working as winemaker and winemaker-consultant, she moved in 2009 to Virginia to work at Kluge Estate and then Trump Winery as a winemaker. In summer 2014, she decided to go back to winemaking for small hands-on family wineries and now works with Slater Run Vineyards in Upperville and Casanel Vineyards in Purcellville, both in northern Virginia. She also returns to her family’s winery, Chateau Kalian, twice a year to help make Monbazillac organic wines.
Francisco Rivas joined Slater Run Vineyards as its first employee in January of 2014. Through record-breaking cold temperatures that winter, a relatively mild growing season and then our first harvest, Francisco has learned every step of the winemaking process--from grape to bottle. He continues to show his mental and physical strength through his position as Vineyard and Winery Foreman.
The Slater Run Vineyards wines can be tasted and purchased year round in the Village of Upperville at the Slater Run Vineyards Tasting Room, located at 9030 John S Mosby Highway, Upperville, VA 20184. The tasting room is open from 12-7pm Thursday-Saturday & 12-5pm on Sunday.
The Slater Run Vineyards winery & production facility is open seasonally from May - October.
Christopher Patusky partners with his spouse Kiernan in running the vineyard and winery. Chris comes to this business after 25 years working in law, academia, government and various start-up ventures. He enjoys getting to know the wine world as well as our neighbors and guests, while working at the winery’s tasting room in Upperville.
Estate Vineyard and Winery in Upperville, Virginia
Adale Abel Henderson has developed a deep love for Virginia wineries and the fabulous wines that the state produces during her ten years of experience in the Virginia wine industry. As the Events and Marketing Director of Slater Run Vineyards and its "in town" tasting room in the Village of Upperville, she has great joy in telling people "I plan parties" when asked what she does for a living. The mother/step-mother of three adult boys and one girl, with her husband a winemaker as well, Adale has found that wineries are a fun place to work and meet great people!
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