Made in Virginia 2018 Awards: Overall Winner

22 quality products created with pride, passion, and a commitment to craftsmanship. 

Boozy Botanicals

The founders of Flying Fox Vineyard infuse their sweet vermouth with seasonally inspired flavors.

Flying Fox’s Summer Sweet Vermouth is bright, lightly spiced, and refreshing, making it perfect for what its makers call a “reverse cocktail”—vermouth with a splash of gin or vodka, rather than the typical, and much boozier, ratio.

The team behind Flying Fox Vineyard in Afton consists of siblings Emily Pelton, George Hodson, and Chloe Watkins—the children of Andrew and Patricia Hodson, who opened nearby Veritas Vineyard & Winery in 1999—along with George’s wife, Tralyn, and Chloe’s husband, Elliott. Flying Fox began as a vineyard that grew fruit for Veritas before starting its own winemaking in 2006. 

George says the team operates Flying Fox “on a smaller scale than Veritas” as a space for winemakers Pelton and Elliott to “explore the creative side and break out of the established wine model” and engage in “uninhibited winemaking.”

After traveling to Portugal with a group of winemakers, Pelton returned with a plan to produce vermouth. “I knew that bringing this back as a project for Elliott and I to work on was not only something that would be fun, but it would also be something that we could do really well,” she says. 

Vermouth, an aromatized, fortified wine, begins with a base wine—for the summer and fall, that is Viognier—that is then fortified with distilled grape brandy and aromatized with wormwood, bittering agents, and citrus. For the summer edition, Pelton and Elliott added seasonal peaches, while the fall edition features notes of persimmon. The team will re-release all four editions in December, including the Cabernet Franc-based winter vermouth with pomegranate and the strawberry-laced spring version.

“We approach this wine so you can make a mixed drink or dial it back and drink it straight,” George says. “It’s a sippable vermouth.”


Meet the other winners of our 2018 Made in Virginia Awards:



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Click here to meet the 2017 winners.

Click here to meet the 2016 winners.

Click here to meet the 2015 winners.

Click here to meet the 2014 winners.

Click here to meet the 2013 winners.

Click here to meet the 2012 winners.

The Made in Virginia 2018 Awards were selected by the Virginia Living editors and originally appeared in our December 2018 issue.

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