Meet the Burlington Winemaker Taking the Industry by Storm

Vermont may not be the first place you’d think of as an epicenter of winemaking, but when it comes to “natural wines,” it is becoming one.

Krista Scruggs, owner and founder of Burlington-based Zafa Wines, tastes one of her naturally fermented wines. Photo courtesy Krista Scruggs/Zafa Wines.

In 2018, Burlington-based winemaker Krista Scruggs (pictured above) was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Her credo defines the natural wine genre: “No refining, no filtering, additives or funny business in the winery. No herbicides or synthetic pesticides in the vineyard. Just f-ing fermented juice from responsibly farmed living fruit.”  In the cellar, intervention in the naturally-occurring wild fermentation process is kept to a minimum, with wild yeasts favored over added varieties.

The 34-year-old California transplant hand-picks grapes at Ellison Vineyard in the Champlain Islands and hopes to plant her own vines on Grand Isle next summer.   

“There’s a real terroir in Vermont and the hybrid grape varietals that are hardy enough to grow here lend themselves to sparkling wines,” says Scruggs.   Try Scruggs’ Zafa wines at her new Burlington tasting room, CO Cellars.

Other acclaimed Vermont natural wines include those by winemaker Deirdre Heekin at La Garagista Farm & Winery in Bethel and Shelburne Vineyards’ Iapetus label.   

Abagael Giles

Abagael Giles is the Assistant Editor at Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine. She loves free-heel skiing and exploring her home state of Vermont–one ridgetop at a time.

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