81250 Old Military Rd (State Hwy 1082)
Phone: (985) 892-9742
Contact: John Seago
Planting began at Pontchartrain Vineyards’ 34.5 acre vineyard site north of Covington, in the fall of 1991. The location is approximately 140 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and 20 miles north of Lake Pontchartrain in the first hills arising off the flat coastal plain of south Louisiana. The vineyard is approximately 150’ above sea level and has well drained, sandy loam soils from the Savannah and Ruston series of the soils of the upland terraces. Pontchartrain Vineyards, which is a registered trade name of Distinctive Wines of Louisiana, Inc., was formed in 1992.
The planting of the first 5.5 acre block was completed in the spring of 1992 and the vineyard’s first harvest resulted in a modest 200 cases of wine from the 1993 vintage. Beginning in the fall of 1994, these 200 cases of wine were marketed exclusively to fine restaurants in New Orleans and on the Northshore.
Pontchartrain Vineyards produced a little over 2,000 gallon or approximately 800 cases of wine from the 1994 vintage. These wines were marketed exclusively through fine restaurants on the Northshore and in New Orleans, or were sold directly out of the winery.
A 2,400 square foot winery building at the vineyard site was partially completed in time for the 1995 crush which yielded wine production of about 1,500 cases of wine. Most of the 1995 vintage wines were released in the fall of 1996. The winery building was completed in 1996 and that year’s production totaled about 1,800 cases or 4,300 gallons of wine.
In 1997, construction of a French provincial style tasting room and visitors center overlooking the vineyards was completed. Current ( i.e., from the 1999 and 2000 vintages) production is approximately 6800 gallons or about 2,850 cases of wine. Pontchartrain Vineyards wines have been awarded numerous medals in both national and international wine competitions over the last several years, and are well represented in the finer eating establishments and wine stores in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Northshore areas. With the exception of the Panhandle area of Florida, the wines are generally not available outside the state of Louisiana.
Approximately 11 acres of vines are presently under cultivation, and now producing. Another approximately 5 acres is scheduled for planting in the spring of 2002. The main varieties grown are Blanc Du Bois (white) and Cynthiana/Norton (red).
Winemaker: John Seago
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