What’s better than a wine made from pears?
A wine made from pears with a full piece of fruit in the bottle.
Just north of Leesburg, Va., Fabbioli Cellars has mastered the process of making pear-in-a-bottle wine, with great results.
“They’ll put the bottles on the tree when the pears are tiny and then their pears grow into [the] bottles,” says Jessica Strelitz, local wine writer. “They’re being creative and doing fun stuff.”
Strelitz says Doug Fabbioli is a great winemaker with years of experience. In Virginia wine country, he’s known as something of an expert.
“He’s actually taught a lot of the other winemakers in that area, who caught on to open their own vineyards,” she says.
So how does a winemaker get the idea for a pear-in-a-bottle experiment?
Melanie Natoli, assistant winemaker at Fabbioli Cellars, says it all started when the family first bought the land where the vineyard is now located. A few big trees were already growing on the property, including ones that were growing pears.
They drew inspiration from a bottle of German liqueur someone brought to them that still had the pear inside it. They liked the idea and decided to try it themselves.
The vineyard’s first attempt during the 2010 growing season did not go well. Natoli says they only produced a few bottles of wine from it and lost a lot of glass in the process.
But the 2011 growing season was a complete turnaround, and the vineyard is now in its third growing season. The vineyard has also leased an orchard in Lovettsville, Va. to produce the pear wine in larger quantities.
“The bottles are on the trees right now,” Natoli says. “We found a glass bottle that’s shaped like a ship, so a few of them this year will be pears in ship bottles.”
The wine is made from a cross between Asian and box pears. Natoli says the wine is fortified with pear brandy from a nearby vineyard.
She says learning how to make wine out of pears in general was challenging for the vineyard, but she’s confident they’ve found their footing.
“I feel like we’ve figured it out,” she says.
For more information about the vineyard’s wines, including their pear wine and other options they have to offer,, visit Fabbioli Cellars’ website.