Virginia Vinegar Works is Owned & Operated by Jay and Steph Rostow. They live in the rural Nelson County, Virginia countryside which when they built their cabin, have continually lived electrically off the grid since 1999. Steph’s upbringing was mostly on a dairy farm in Minnesota; her Husband Jay was born and raised in West Los Angeles. They both are equally considered locavores and foodie types, since they enjoy raising and growing their own food. Steph was brought up to eat primarily food from the farm and has since striven to eat local, healthy, non-processed food. But Jay on the other hand learned about good food from his mother and grandmother, as he spent a lot of time in the kitchen watching them cook which was much more interesting then sitting with his dad watching every golf tournament on television.
In 2007 when Steph retired from a career in healthcare and while Jay was looking for a way out of the telecommunications field, they went to a farmers’ market with Jay’s brother out in Davis, California. They were looking for salad fixings for their evening meal together. Eventually they found nice greens, tomatoes and an assortment of micro batch olive oils, but No Vinegar! That is when they started entertaining the idea of making their own vinegar especially since there were around 200 wineries in Virginia. The fact that there wasn’t anyone making vinegar from any of these winery products started to intrigue them and seemed to suggest the possibility of a viable profitable business. It took them about a year of trial and error before they really started to get it fine tuned to a suitable Superior Product level acceptable to their standards. As you know, making vinegar is NOT as simple as leaving the wine bottle open. At first there was some reluctance on the part of the winemakers in dealing with the “vinegar people”. Since then they’ve developed a respectful professional ongoing relationship with some of the best winemakers in the industry. These incredible and talented winemakers are the ones who call Virginia Vinegar Works occasionally and say, “I have something for you.” VVW also source beer from local breweries for their malt vinegar and use locally produced fruit for our fruit vinegars.
Steph and Jay felt that making vinegar gave them the opportunity to re-purpose something that would normally be wasted, which makes for a win-win situation for everyone involved. Their philosophy and continual goal is creating Superior Products while incorporating homegrown ingredients from various local vendors within their community. They strive to produce products, as well as consult anyone interested in their methods of achieving the highest quality and superior branding in the industry.