National Model Aviation Day Event Benefits Wounded Warriors

75003_10201054856107400_944762312_nOur friend Bill Sykes, (you may know him as the Wings Over Wine Country Ambassador for the Wildlife Center of VA) has now taken the initiative to help fund raise for The Wounded Warrior Project as well. This is a little out of my normal realm but I’m passionate about our Veterans and supporting this charity. Bill, a Navy veteran as is my husband, combines his hobby of making model airplanes  (the kind you can really fly but shouldn’t because they’re just too darn beautiful to crash) and his support for the military to help create a fun event benefitting those who’ve served our country!  This event should prove to be not only fun but an opportunity to eat great food and win some generous raffle prizes! Wonder if any wine is raffled?Father_s Day Exrtravaganza 2013 002

Model Aviation Celebration Fly-in

On August 17th, 2013, join the pilots of the Fluvanna County Radio Control Flying Club (FCRCFC) as we celebrate National Model Aviation Day and raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).  The club field is located at 11176 West River Road, immediately north of the Fluvanna County Landfill.

  • 9 AM to 4 PM with flying all day – big planes, small planes, scale planes and awesome aerobatic demonstrations!  Come help us celebrate and “Get the Bug” for model aviation J
  • Pilots’ Landing Fees of $10 will be donated to the WWP
  • Guests admitted free with lunch (sandwich, side, and drink) provided by Two J’s Smokehouse in return for donation to the WWP.  Please donate generously!
  • Additional food/drinks available for purchase
  • Raffle with GREAT PRIZES donated by local businesses and 100% of raffle proceeds donated to the WWP.  Drawing at 2:30 PM

Grab a lawn chair and some sunscreen and come on out to the field to catch some great flying, learn about model aviation, and help raise money to support the Wounded Warrior Project! Hope to see you there!

Chris Breiner Stone Mountain Vineyards

RePost from Neil Williamson
Contact: Neil Williamson The Trellis Group 434-962-0847
Winemaker Chris Breiner Remembered
DYKE, VA – Chris Breiner, Winemaker and Managing Partner
at Stone Mountain Vineyards, died on February 14th, 2012. In addition to his work at the winery, he also managed the family law practice in Alexandria. An innovative winemaker with a wry wit, his tireless promotion of quality Virginia Wine led his peers to elect him as Vice President of the Virginia Wineries Association and as past Chairman of the Jeffersonian Grape Growing Society/Monticello Wine Trail. Well respected throughout the wine community, in 2009 he was selected as a Knight in the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine.
Dennis Horton, founder of Horton Vineyards and a long time friend said, “Chris was one of the good guys in the Virginia
Wine industry. You knew where you stood with Chris and he always, always, did exactly what he said he would do. I will miss him tremendously.”
In a statement the Breiner family said, “Stone Mountain Vineyards is truly a testament to the vision and hard work Chris, and our late father Al, put into their collective dream. Both men had an abundant love of agriculture and of the land. They saw the vineyards and winery as a perfect vehicle to keep the rural mountain land preserved in productive agricultural production. The family remains committed to this shared family vision. The tasting room will reopen, as scheduled, on March 2nd and regular winery operations will
continue; Chris would have wanted it no other way”. Services and interment will be private.

Early Bird Gets the DuCard

2012 VA Wine Expo Pre-Sale Special!
Planning on attending the Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond on Feb. 24-26? We have a deal for you! We will be offering ALL of our wines (including wines not being tasted at the Expo!) for a special 15% off discount if you order between now and noon on Thursday Feb. 23rd! Minimum purchase is two bottles. You can pick them up at our booth at the Expo and save on any shipping! Wines currently in stock include (see website for details:

–2010 Signature Viognier
–2010 Gibson Hollow White
–2009 Sweet Virginia Vidal Blanc
–2009 Cabernet Franc Vintner’s Reserve
–2009 Popham Run Red (Bordeaux blend)
–2009 Petit Verdot
–2010 Norton

To pre-order, simply email us at with your desired order, name, email address, and phone number and we’ll back with you to confirm your order and get your credit card info. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Looking forward to seeing you at the Expo! (

By the way, on display (and for sale) in the Tasting Room this month is the beautiful photography of local artisan, Carl Zitzmann ( Check it out!

Congrats to DuCard Vineyards for being a co-winner of the Virginia Green Travel Leader Award! Read about DuCard’s green efforts here (!

Thank you for your interest and support!


Co-Winner: Virginia Green Travel Leader Award

Open Friday – Sunday, plus holiday Mondays, 11 AM – 6 PM. And by appointment. Follow us on

I really like this label and can’t wait to come out and try it!

Stinson Vineyards : The Blog


We’ve been gearing up for the March bottling and release of our 2010 Meritage aka The Black Label! And yes, it is really as good as it looks 🙂

The 2010 Meritage is a velvety smooth blend of our finest grapes.  Virginia’s 2010 harvest was perfectly ripe with ultra concentrated flavors, making it the ideal vintage.  Aged 18 months in French oak.  With good structure and balance, this wine is not only delicious now – it has excellent cellaring potential.  Sign up for our Wine Club now to get in on the mid March pre-release!

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Growlers are making beer drinking more like wine by storing fresh beer in a quantity intended for sharing.n the late 1800s and early 1900s, fresh beer was transported from  local pubs to the  home by using a galvanized pail. Rumor has it that as the beer sloshed around the pail, it created a rumbling sound as the carbon dioxide seeped through the lid, thus the term “growler”.
Prior to World War II, inner children hauled covered buckets of draft beer from local bars or breweries to workers on lunch break or home to their parents at dinnertime, a practice called “rushing the growler.”  Personally, I find the bottles really interesting and use my Starr Hill growler as a (gasp!) vase!

After a recent comment on the blog, I realized I’m leaving out a whole new generation of micro-breweries and the “Brew Ridge Trail” in Nelson County, VA is an excellent example of this trend.   Blue Mountain Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Wild Wolf Brewing Company and Charlottesville’s/Crozet’s own Starr Hill Brewery are a few to not miss in Virginia.
There is a huge following of fans touring breweries on the weekends much like the wineries.  Events are now centered around these spots and eventually we’ll resemble Europe with their pubs and bierhallen. Dogs and children are welcome in Europe and families gather after soccer or rugby matches to relax in the countryside.  The Griffin Inn Free House in Fletching, East Sussex, UK is a model to strive for in our similarly scenic pastoral terrain, plus we have the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop.
Look for more posts as we “uncork”  beer as well as wine!

Outstanding Fish & Chips
The Griffin Inn Pub in Fletching East Sussex UK

Kluge Wine, Going, Going….Get it Before It’s…Gone!

Vacant Seats

Albemarle Simply…Gone? 

Most people in the Charlottesville area are fully aware that the remaining wine at Kluge has been rapidly flowing out the doors and into car trunks on a daily basis. The last time we  visited The Kluge Farm Shop,  1500 cases of the Albemarle Simply Red 2007 remained.  All of the white wine that was to be offered had been included in the recent auction of the property.  As of the moment, no one has purchased the magnificent manor on the hill, Albemarle House.  Who the new owner will be is anyone’s guess, but rumours abound with Donald Trump’s  name at the center.  According to some of the people who are now employed by “Grand Cru”,  there are under 1000 cases remaining and the last day for sales could be as early as May 6th, if not, May 9th.  Bottom line is that it won’t last forever!  At the all time low price of 2 cases for $90, you just can’t beat it!

Employed or Unemployed? 

After a few visits to Kluge, my husband and I were impressed by the staff at the Farm Shop and most specifically by Tammy Cavanaugh!  These employees are waiting to hear if they still have a job in the next couple of  weeks.  Hoisting heavy boxes of wine and laughing as if she knew what the future held  for her, she kept a light hearted, cheerful  attitude  amid a rather sad situation. We wanted to find out more about Tammy and what she had accomplished in her life outside of wine. After chatting with her, we found out that she has two autistic sons. She took the initiative to be  aggressive about their education and future. 

 Tammy started a non-profit organization, The  Charlottesville Youth Learning Academy, to help at-risk youths participate in project-based learning activities that  bolster their academic career and life skills.  YLA   has created programs focusing on the construction and motorsports industries to prepare their students for successful careers upon graduation.

Listen to Tammy on the video clip below:

They have received grants from The University of Virginia and have gotten involved with NASCAR with their Race 2 Sucess program. This is a dynamic lady who is a real asset to any organization and our suggestion to Mr. Trump would be,You’re Hired!” 

Be sure to say hi to Tammy when you stop in at Kluge and hurry up because the wine,  like the property, will be Going, Going…Gone!

A Double Gold Afternoon at Jefferson Vineyards


Sunday Drive

Family outings with our son Brian and his  bride to be,  Carolina, are the best!  Always game for scoping out a new winery, we headed in the direction of Kluge Winery to pick up more of the 2007  Albemarle Simply Red.  The sun had  just peeked out after a rather gloomy Sunday morning and we were ripe to enjoy a little fresh April breeze and warm sunshine.  In a recent church sermon, ( it was Sunday after all!) we learned that direction not intention determines our destination!  Cruising down 53 past historic Monticello,  Jefferson Vineyards appeared ahead on our right and with that,  our destination  veered to the Jefferson Tasting Room!  Side note, we did make it to Kluge eventually and a quick stop at Blenheim as well.

We were quite familiar with  Jefferson wines but always held the notion that this particular winery was a bit  more of a tourist trap then a local attraction.  Nice to be  proven wrong,  it turned out to be a very pleasant experience and in retrospect are glad we hijacked ourselves off  our original route. If you’ve read any other posts you’ll notice I’m a bit spontaneous when it comes to winery visits.

To the right side of the parking area are old wine barrels  for sale to recycle rainwater, cool idea!  Add that want to Honey! I want a Vineyard!  Next to the rain barrels were even larger wine barrels.  Brian, anticipating his upcoming wedding festivities was attracted to the super sized wine barrels and attempted a pre-tasting!  Not really!  He hammed it up for the camera!

Jefferson Vineyards

A shaded deck is positioned just in front of the door to the tasting room. Lacks a little in curb appeal but  a  nice area to sit outside;  I think the best views are from the meadow facing the mountains and  that site could  be capitalized on  more.  They have placed a few Adirondack chairs with small tables to rest your wine bottle and glasses.  Nice touch!  I would recommend tightening the bolts a little or sturdier furniture, they’re  a bit light weight compared to other chairs of similar style.  All it takes is a bigger budget! or maybe a smaller…!  A lovely flagstone patio would be nice and visible from the scenic highway, beckoning to the multitude of tourists who visit Monticello and Ashlawn daily.

Invited inside by a couple of engaging  tasting hosts, forgive me I can’t recall the gentemen’s names, we embarked on tasting award-winning wines envisioned long ago by Thomas Jefferson.  Several visitors passed through during our tasting.  They were given directions, information and local trivia by the hosts.  We enjoyed their personal stories about  the wines and their favorite food  pairings. Such hospitality,  Another nice touch!

The Tasting

Tastings are $10,  slightly higher than most of the local wineries but includes a Riedel wine glass. Nicest touch of all!!  I’ve been in wineries in the Willamette Valley that offer the same style of Riedel glassware, each engraved with their logo.  A classic idea which enhances  the overall experience of the quality, color and especially the bouquet of the vintage.   Coincidentally, we were consulted about offering engraved glasses at Jefferson.  Of course, we thought it an excellent idea as a keepsake.  I use my souvenir glasses for sipping by the firepit, no tears if the glass doesn’t return to the cabinet!  In this case, the glass stays indoors.   We first tasted the whites, then reds and finished with the semi dry whites,  the Vin Blanc was Carolina’s favorite ( as marked on the tasting notes)!  Carolina draws hearts and stars (which fit her personality) on her tasting notes and Brian draws emotional  faces and caricatures on his (fitting his personality!) .

     Carolina Loved This-See the Heart!

Top of our list was the 2010 Pinot Gris crisp, bright and floral like the afternoon weather.  Our favorite reds were the Petit Verdot 2009 tasting of spice and tobacco and definitely, the Meritage 2008  Gold Medal Winner of the 2010 San Diego International Wine Competition.  The memorable and unique Malvaxian wine wasn’t available for tasting  (I love that bottle design) which is an excellent addition to any wine collection!   We selected the Pinot Gris, a Double Gold Medal winner,  to toast our side trip.  Taking our bottle to the meadow, we relaxed in the Adirondack chairs  savouring  excellent wine,  picture postcard views and sharing it with a lovely young couple very much in love.

 A Double Gold Day in The Monticello Trail Wine Country!                       

Cheers and a Clink to Carolina and Brian in 2011 and another Clink to Thomas Jefferson-Happy Belated Birthday!

Check out Greene!

I’m on vacation but couldn’t let this slip by!
Check out the Greene County Food and Wine Festival April 16th and 17th. Complete Details.
Have fun! I’ll hear about it when I get back!

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Get an “Official” Taste of Spring on The Appellation Trail

 Albemarle County is catching on fast! I try to arrange self-guided wine tours for friends and clients with location and proximity in mind.  Now, the newly formed  Appellation Trail has done just that!   By organizing a mapped tour of four ( soon to be five wineries ) a logical sequence of wine tastings is simplified for tourists and locals.  Loudoun County has a similar set up for 27 wineries broken down into “clusters” for easy touring.  Wikipedia describes an appellation as a legally defined and protected geographic indication used to identify where grapes are grown.  It is also defined as a geographical name (as of a region, village, or vineyard) under which a winegrower is authorized to identify and market wine according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Playing off of the name of the nearby Appalachian Trail,  the  “AT”  is a unique wine route that connects five artisanal wineries in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains:  White Hall Vineyards,  Mountfair Vineyards,  Glass House Winery,  Stinson Vineyards & Moss Vineyards (opening 2012).

  This Saturday April 16th  is the celebration of the” official opening” of  The Appellation Trail!

Spring is the Time for Wine!

                                           Appellation Trail Grand Opening Winery Events on April 16th:

 White Hall Vineyards:

Vertical tasting of  2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 Petit Verdot,  paired with cheese (12:00 to 3:00pm)

 Mountfair Vineyards:

Pre-Release Tasting of the 2009 Engagement Blend with live music!

 Be sure to stop by  &  join them on the patio for a delicious glass of wine while taking in the beautiful views & the sweet tunes of  THE LOST SOULS!



 Glass House Winery:

Tank tasting of 2010 Viognier with Live music — The Stoned Masons (3:15 to 5:45pm)

 Stinson Vineyards

 Winery Preview Opening featuring Gryffon’s Aerie meats & mini-burgers.  Preview four of their seven wines!  The 2010 Sugar Hollow White, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, and Sugar Hollow Red will all be available to taste and purchase.  Additionally, they will be featuring Gryffon’s Aerie meat and miniburgers – stock up on pasture-raised, heritage beef, pork, and sausage!


Trump Buys Kluge Estate and Winery

Cville gets “Trumped”

For over 200 years,  Charlottesville, Virginia’s claim to fame has been the home of Thomas Jefferson,  3rd President of the United States and co-author of the Declaration of Independence. Henceforth, another high-profile name will be associated with Charlottesville. Today, Donald  “The Donald”  Trump  achieved quite a coup in purchasing over 647 acres in the piedmont wine country of Virginia for a mere 6.2 million dollars.

Valued at over 28 million dollars, the largest tract included 647+/- acre tract of  planted vines, event pavilion, large office barn, a carriage museum, and three cottages ideal for staff or guest accommodations. 60+/- acres of clear land that has ideal slope and elevation for future planting.  Tract 3,  a 131.7+/- acres tract contains the original vineyard as well as the winery production building, 2 2BD/1BA cottages, a barrel cave that can hold approximately 500 barrels, and a modular office. 

J.P. King Auction Company, Inc., the oldest real estate auction company in the United States conducted the auction. A video of the Kluge Estate and Winery

offers the public a glimpse of the exquisite property that fell under the same circumstances encountered by many during these tough economic times.  Donald Trump was poised and ready to capitalize on an incredible investment opportunity… and he succeeded.
During  a recent PVCC viticulture class, I had the chance to prune some vines under the tutelage of Chris Hill and Gabrielle Rausse. I wonder if Mr. Trump will ever invite me over?  That might have been my first and last tour of the Kluge vineyard.
Locals can only speculate what plans Trump has for Kluge. Will his name be the new label? Will it be Gold??   Highly likely considering past history.  One thing is certain, Virginia’s wine country and Charlottesville will gain more international attention with the Trump branding.

Church on Kluge Estate

 We are an understated area, elegant and quiet, will Charlottesville ever be the same?