Susan Vidal and her husband Dean operate Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in north central Virginia. Their diversified income comes from their winery, growing for market and restaurants, a lovely bed and breakfast cottage, and seed crops. Susan has been growing tomato, pepper, and flower seeds for Southern Exposure. She likes the hardiness of heirloom varieties and being able to grow seed that works well on their farm.
Growing organic wine grapes in humid Virginia is a challenge and running grape variety trials takes many years. For now, their principle wines are elderberry and elderflower. The farm is home to a variety of heritage animal breeds, including rare Spanish meat goats, colonial-era Tunis sheep, and oldtime chicken breeds like Speckled Sussex and Buff Orpington, all guarded by Great Pyrenees dogs to keep coyotes and other predators away.