Food, Family, Celebrations, Shopping! It’s the holidays and the pressure is on to entertain, so why not make life easy? Here are some ideas of upcoming events at our local Virginia wineries. Beginning with Black Friday ( I prefer Green Friday if you’re hung up on the sales aspect of the season) at Grace Estate Winery and enjoy the ambience and views in Western Albemarle from the new tasting room. From November 27th-29th and take advantage of the 20-30% discount on three different wines.
Tired of leftovers? Take your friends for a nice country drive on Friday Nov 27th 6-9pm where the Beatles cover band Abbey Road Unplugged will be at Glass House Winery, and Two Brothers food truck will be servin up their fantastic southwestern style eats, so come hungry, too. You can still bring a picnic if you like, but the food truck is fantastic, just so you know. No cover, no outside alcohol, no reservations.Buy some delicious gourmet wine infused chocolates while you’re there! Tastings served throughout (noon-5:30).
Head to Keswick Vineyards and spend some time getting up close and personal with Keswick Vineyards 2015 vintage with Winemaker Stephen Barnard as you get to experience a barrel tasting of this very promising vintage!
Taste exceptional wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier as they develop and mature in the barrel. There will be 8 sessions, Saturday, November 21st, Sunday, November 22nd, Saturday, November 28th, and Sunday, November 29th from 10-1pm and from 2-5pm each day. You will also have the opportunity to purchase “futures” of these wines at a discount during the barrel tastings!
SHOPPING and SANTA
On November 28th and 29th “Deck the Halls” atEarly Mountain Vineyards To celebrate the holiday season, from 11:00am to 5:00pm. On Saturday, Two Wishes (if you haven’t heard them you’ve really been missing out!), and on Sunday, The Olivarez Trio with our friend Jeff Cheers, will be providing holiday music throughout the event. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, photos with Santa, cookie decorating and shopping for gifts from a wide variety of local artists and artisans .We went last year, it was lots of fun and ran into friends out with their visiting families.
Celebrate the holiday season on December 9th 6-9 p.m. with Pippin Hill’s Executive Chef Bill Scatena! Learn to entertain with small festive bites great for your next holiday party! Tickets will also include a cocktail demo that will explain how to mix flavors to create the perfect holiday drink!
MASKS and BUBBLES!
On New Years Eve Veritas will be hosting their annual Masked Ball, an elegant event featuring wine and hors d’oeuvres followed by a five-course winemaker’s dinner at 8 p.m. in Saddleback Hall. There will be dancing until midnight, when the masks come off and the champagne flows! Breakfast follows at 12:30 a.m. So bring your mask and your dancing shoes to have great food, wine, and fun to bring in the New Year 2016. Tickets are $175/person.
For any of these events, please plan ahead, call now for reservations at the links provided.
Cheers to You and your Families as we ring out 2015 and celebrate the New Year 2016, Clink!
Weather forecast on 4th of July: good chance of rain and upper 80’s, almost didn’t leave the house, who needs another muggy day…change of plans and headed to Western Albemarle county…best decision ever!
Since we’re real estate agents and sometimes find carving out personal time difficult, we tend towards spontaneity. This spontaneous choice found us on the patio at Stinson, overlooking ripening vineyards and the bucolic valley below the Blue Ridge Mountain skyline. Listening to Charlottesville’s own homegrown New Orleans style jazz band of Chickenhead Blues completed the experience. Recently the musicians have been discovered in New Orleans and a majority of their scheduled gigs are now in Cajun country.
As far as selecting wine, we chose the 2012 Meritage, which would have been perfect on a cooler day or in the evening with a steak, but in accordance with the warmish weather we moved on to the Sauvignon Blanc. I now have a new favorite Virginia wine and since have encountered other wine lovers who feel the same. Father and daughter winemakers, Scott and Rachel Stinson have invested in, not one, but two concrete eggs to ferment wine in and this wine is done in a combination of stainless steel and the concrete egg, achieving a delicious grapefruity, white peach flavor followed by a mineral finish for a refreshing result. The concrete egg is a whole other story!
It’s been on my calendar to make it for their Tailgate Thursday nights event held weekly until September 3rd, and we’re running out of time to take advantage of the TWO Big Green Eggs and Weber grill. Bring your own meat for grilling, grab a blanket or chairs and picnic in a family, dog friendly venue and kick off the weekend early. No time for grocery shopping? Local meat from The Rock Barn and Free Union Grass Farm can be purchased and thawed by calling ahead. Now, pick your favorite wine to pair and it’s a cookout. Can’t get too much easier than that.
While the Champagne region of France claims the name, other countries including the United States of America are establishing their own reputation using traditional Chardonnay grapes as well as Pinot Noir to make sparkling wine. The average bottle of Champagne contains enough carbon dioxide to potentially produce 49 million bubbles, some say even more. Watching the bubbles shoot upward is quite mesmerizing, recalling childhood memories of bubble lights on Christmas trees. This has sparked a new tradition in our family of opening gifts with a chilled bottle of Champagne or a Brut Rosé from Soter in the Willamette Valley of Oregon (very welcome gift from my sister).
Virginia has now placed itself on the sparkling wine map courtesy of Claude Thibaut and his Thibaut Janisson sparkling wines. Originally from Champagne, Claude has traversed the globe popping coks, perfecting his dosage and selecting only the best grapes and juice for his wines. He brought his expertise in the “methode champenoise” to Kendall-Jackson, Jordan and Iron Horse wineries in California as well as Champagne Veuve Devaux, Bar sur seine, France and Yarra Bank, Victoria Australia, where his wines were voted “Best of the Best” in the 1995 Australia and New Zealand Wine Guide. He partners with Manuel Janisson of Janisson et Fils, a well know family of Champagne makers in Verzenay, France. Claude originally was enticed to Charlottesville by Patricia Kluge of Kluge Estate Winery and is now owned and operated by Donald and Eric Trump. I am particularly fond of Claude’s latest T-J Extra Brut!
We were recently gifted with a bottle of Barboursville Cuvee 1814 Brut wine which was excellent. Side note: after pouring the wine there seemed to be very few bubbles and within a short period of time an explosion of bubbles occurred. The wine was well received by all! I look forward to serving it again.
Following traditional holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, Champagne drinking may hit a slump but any time is good for serving sparkling wine. It’s like the slogan, Orange Juice, It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore! Watch these three wineries (Trump definitely included) as well as other Virginia wineries for future vintages!
Cool weather is around the corner and Autumn is always a busy time around the grapevines. Harvest speaks to our soul and smells of burning leaves and pumpkin patches; cinnamon and juicy fallen apples perfume the air. It draws us out of air-conditioned homes and cars to reconnect with the earth. I thought it might be nice to share some of the upcoming events ( certainly not all) that might piqué your interest.
Music at the Vineyards
Grace Estate Winery is one of our newer wineries with older vineyards and widespread views across western Albemarle County. Located nearer the White Hall area in Crozet on the Mount Juliet Farm, music this Friday begins at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with Hot Twang and catered by Kitchen Catering
September 5th (Friday): 6-9 pm Abbey Road “Unplugged” The Beatles Tribute Band
Abbey Road “Unplugged” will be performing in our Friday night sunset series, with their acoustic Beatles melodies, Check them out here! Bring a chair, a picnic blanket, or come early and grab a table and enjoy some classic southern style soul food, award-winning wines, and awesome Beatles tunes while the sun sets over the vineyard.
Foodtruck service by: Black Jack’s Mobile Soul Food
Singer Songwriter Event Benefitting The Wildlife Center of Virginia at Glass House Winery is coming soon, meet some of the winged raptor ambassadors from the Wildlife Center and listen to the music of ‘2 Wishes’ – Joy Kuhar and Mike D’Antoni and musicians Genna Mathew, John Kelly and Justin Storer. Event begins at 6 p.m. and donations of $10 is suggested but any amount is appreciated.
With so many wonderful wineries in the Charlottesville area, you may want to plan ahead so you don’t miss some of your favorite musicians this Fall. Sippin into Sunset at Early Mountain Vineyards has managed to secure Beleza Brasil, my favorite duo for Samba style soulful music, for two different dates in September.
Sunsets at Carter Mountain have been playing music every Thursday evening 6-9 p.m. since May 15th and will continue until the end of September. Look for Lockjaw, a band of local dentists who perform together, and The Local Vocals, an acoustic trio, each member with a long history in the Charlottesville area.
Helpful tip: Bring warm blankets, temps can drop quickly, and seating is harder to come by so bring those camp chairs. Picnics are encouraged but not inside the wineries. I did this once, not cool, they were quite nice about it 🙂
A new way of going to the movies, kind of like going to camp or the drive-in, pack up your lawn chair and Early Mountain Vineyards provides a bag of popcorn and it’s cheaper than the theater. Tickets are $6 and you can reserve on-line. The feature will be The Sandlot and September 25th is usually exquisite weather for kicking back outdoors with a glass of your favorite cool season robust red, perhaps the 2012 Eluvium Cabernet Sauvignon?
This should be a good start to fill up your September calendars, look for more venues next week in my Weekend Picks off the Vine post.
Being first is nothing new to Donald Trump and, in this case, timing is everything.
Known for associating their brand with luxury and the finer things in life, the sound of a popping cork and tiny effervescent bubbles racing to the top are symbolic of this latest of Trump ventures. Trump blew into the Virginia countryside in early October 2011 with a clapping helicopter entrance and media show announcing his arrival onto the Monticello AVA scene and in a flash set in motion the transference of ownership from Kluge Estate to his namesake.
With 95 acres of grapes dedicated to sparkling wines, the 2014 harvest began as a “crunch to the crush”. The consumption of Champagne and sparkling wine has been on the rise and Trump Winery was poised to meet that demand. After an unseasonably cool Summer, little rain and hot August days approaching, the time to pick the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes for sparkling wines was quickly upon us in the Charlottesville area. Due to their micro-climate, location and a desire to have a more acidic grape desirable for sparkling wines, Trump is one of the earliest vineyards in Virginia to start picking grapes (as early as August 7th). If we got rain too soon, as was in the original forecast for the 9th and 10th of August, the grapes could become saturated affecting the sugar (brixx) level which is so critical. Harvesting grapes at night and into the cool morning hours is ideal for a champagne style wine. Vineyard managers believe that night harvests result in grapes with better sugar levels and acidity. It is also easier on the workers who are hand picking without having to labor in the heat of the day.
On Sunday August 10th, accompanied by my husband and our daughter ( our photographer) we set off for a visit to the Trump Winery tasting room. The transformation from Kluge Estate was quite apparent with the Trump logo everywhere emblazoned on polo shirts, on chocolate bars looking newly minted in silver and gold and on the black shirted tasting room team attending to the guests. Even the bathroom fixtures appear gilded!
Business is certainly thriving at Trump and the tasting room filled rapidly, but not before we had quick assistance from lovely Judi Bowers, opening a bottle of the Trump Brut Sparkling Rosé 2009 to taste. Great choice, Judi! Armed with our Champagne glasses and an ice bucket we headed outdoors.
One of the best decisions ( in my opinion) made at the tasting room since Trump had taken ownership was opening up the vista off the larger outdoor patio. Previously the outdoor space had been surrounded by trees and dense natural foliage obscuring the view. Now a picture-postcard, artist-inspiring view draws guests out to rough picnic tables with a pastoral scene of vineyards and a lake in the distance. Just off the patio and tasting bar is a garden smelling ripe with tomatoes.
The salmon colored sparkling wine paired beautifully in taste and appearance with our selection of a rustic bacon lettuce tomato sandwich and a Caprese salad of heirloom tomatoes. We savored the experience and our glass of Brut Rose before heading out on the hike across the road through the vineyards. As we approached the vines seemed to come alive with the rustling sounds of invisible workers hidden below the vines laughing and singing as they selected the best clusters of grapes to clip. Moving rapidly up the rows and bringing in the bunches of grapes was a pleasure to watch.
Listen and perhaps the next time you pop open a bottle of sparkling wine from Central Virginia you may hear some of the laughter and song in the rising bubbles!
We hope you enjoy your next bottle of Trump bubbly as much as we did.
Visions of warm sunny days, leisurely two hour lunches drawn out with conversation, an aproned waiter pouring bubbles into your champagne glass and soft music beckon us back to the Old Country. If you’re like most wine lovers from the United States, it is a dream to visit the birthplace of wine making, Europe. France, Italy and Spain are the most sought after destinations, followed by Germany, Portugal and Greece.
Thomas Jefferson was just so inspired during his travels to France, thus beginning the New World efforts of cultivating grapes to make wine. He started his vines on the slopes of Monticello, his mountain top home, overlooking Charlottesville, Virginia. Richard Leahy has written a wonderful book, Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, about the history of this endeavor and the more recent explosion of vineyards in Virginia. I especially like the praise offered by John Hagarty, www.Hagarty-on-Wine.com, “Richard Leahy has woven a rich tapestry of Virginia’s wineries and winemakers. If Jefferson could peruse this book a satisfied smile would surely grace his countenance because his dream of quality Virginia wine has been fulfilled. This volume will be referenced often for those seeking to better understand the Old Dominion’s wine ascendency. A riveting and rewarding read.”
Recently, I travelled “across the pond” in the company of my mother, to visit my sister currently living in Provence. The movie, A Good Year, with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard, , is one of my favorite movies and the film location of Bonnieux, Vaucluse, France was just a little southeast of Carpentras, where we made our home base. Maison Trevier, the delightful maison we stayed in, is within the walled village of Carpentras, around the corner from a wonderful fromagerie, La Fromagerie du Comtat. Grab a baguette, some home made fig preserves, olives and truffles from the market and you are in heaven. As I walked into the jardin of Gina Trevier, owner of Maison Trevier, I could almost hear the music from the soundtrack from A Good Year 🙂
I was accustomed to our lovely tasting rooms at the wineries in Virginia. Many of which supplement the costly production of wine on the east coast by building fabulous event sites for weddings and celebrations. Not all are like Pippin Hill Farm, Veritas, King Family Vineyards or Early Mountain Vineyards with their beautifully appointed celebration halls (which are quite gorgeous!) many are smaller, more intimate and not quite as opulent. Afton Mountain Vineyards has a wonderful outdoor covered space, complete with blankets and space heaters to enjoy the view even when it’s cold. They have a perfect spot with a contemporary arbor for weddings plus one of the coziest tasting rooms. See my post http://cvilleuncorked.com/2011/10/15/afton-mountain-vineyards-revisited/ for more about Afton Mountain.
Each winery around the Charlottesville area has it’s own personality. Some are dog friendly like Keswick with it’s Yappy Hours on Sundays but also known for fabulous weddings with a plantation feel that Scarlett O’Hara would have loved. Some are tropical and create gourmet chocolates like Glass House Winery and seating under the glass conservatory jungle of banana trees. Pollak Vineyards sits below the mountain overlooking a pond and has offered fly fishing lessons in the past. Mountfair does weddings on a smaller scale and many of the wineries offer live music on weekends. Veritas has their Starry Nights, outdoor fire pits and a bandstand. King Family Vineyards hosts Polo matches and an annual benefit for breast cancer, the Pink Ribbon Polo Classic coming up on June 20th, 2014. None of this takes away from the fact that Virginia is producing award winning wines that rival the wines of the Old Country. Southern hospitality abounds and you won’t be disappointed in visiting a tasting room in Virginia.
By contrast, the wineries and tasting rooms we visited in France were small, most do not charge a tasting fee and can limit you to three tastings, unlike Barboursville Winery (with it’s 5 Star Dining at Palladio) or Horton Vineyards where you taste quite a large selection. Not to be outdone by the ruins at Chateauneuf du Pape, Barboursville has their own ruins of Governor Barbours home, designed by Thomas Jefferson himself. In Chateauneuf, you can taste in a Cave, a small room under ground where you may taste from several different wineries or in the main tasting room for Chateauneuf du Pape that even sells souvenirs. The French term for tasting is “degustation” so look for a sign that includes the term. ‘En vente directe‘ indicates that they have direct sales and “vin a’ emporter” means they sell wine that you can take with you.
In Gigondas, my favorite village of the trip, we visited a more contemporary tasting room with very small bottles in a test tube style presentation, where you may taste many vintages and some world class wines. It was a bit like stepping up to the counter in a store than tasting at a bar, but they had an amazing selection of wines.
The smallest winery we visited was Clos de Trias in Le Barroux and the winemaker’s home really did remind you of A Good Year, family owned and operated, this winery is one of the few 100% organic, biodynamic wineries in the world. With the family Great Dane, Tauro, sneaking in to watch us barrel taste, it was the best wine tasting on our trip. The wines were excellent and we had a wonderful tour by Paige Carnwath and my sister, both who’ve bottled, pumped, picked and tasted for the wine maker, Evan Bakke.
If you want to taste wine and make an effort to converse about your tasting in France, explore this link for French wine tasting terms. It’s like the old adage, when in Rome…
Whether you venture out to wineries in France or Virginia, the wine community is a big family, facing the same obstacles of weather, and uniting to support each other. Both countries appreciate wine from bud break or bud burst to the final product, so go, enjoy and savor the experience wherever grapes are grown.
March 31st was a week set aside for family, friends and wine.
I had planned to show my semi ex-patriot sister (living part time between Provence and the U.K.) a bit of our world, more specifically, the New World Virginia wine country. Who says you have to have vines that are hundreds of years old to grow delicious grapes and produce great wines?
That week, we hit Tastings without her (she flew in a day too late), went to Veritas, rode horseback through the vineyards in the snow, bought wine at Feast and Tastings, met with winemakers Claude Thibaut of Thibaut-Janisson, Emily Pelton and Elliott Watkins of Veritas, lunched at Early Mountain Vineyards and experienced many fabulous wines.
Unfortunately, one of the events she would have really enjoyed was the pairings of small courses at Tastings in the historic section of downtown Charlottesville. Hosted by Bill Curtis for the Wine Club of Charlottesville, the guests of honor that night were Claude Thibaut and his partner Manuel Janisson, both hailing from the Champagne region and most recently notable in the U.S. for their sparkling wine featured at the first state dinner for President Obama. The wines offered that night were sparklings from the Thibaut-Janisson partnership, Fizz, Blanc de Chardonnay Brut, and their latest release and limited production, TJ Xtra Brut, followed by three Janisson et Fils champagnes: Francois de Rozay, Tradition, Grand Cru and the dessert finale, the Grand Cru Brut Rose. Claude shared about the TJ Xtra Brut, 100% Chardonnay grapes aged 1/3 in oak as compared to 10% in their Blanc de Chardonnay. Only 100 cases were produced and we were privileged to get early access to this delightful slightly oaky, drier sparkling wine. Manuel discussed his method of Champagne making next and as each wine was poured, guest were given the opportunity to remark. The Janisson et Fils Champagnes were well received and fellow winemaker Gabrielle Rausse quietly sat at the next table enjoying the fare.
After a wonderful horseback tour of Veritas, we returned to meet Claude in his “Cave” where bottles were being labeled and crated for shipping to a surprise destination (I know but I can’t tell) super cool! The shape of Claude’s bottles are distinctive and we love the new Xtra Brut T-J bottle. It does make storage more difficult as the bottles don’t fit into a typical crate.
In the end, we really enjoyed the wines, new friendships, tour of Veritas and good times in Virginia. I packed a bottle of the Xtra Brut to open in Texas on the last day we spent with Terrie, symbolic of celebrating great times together! T-J Xtra Brut was recently described by Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post as ” A new can’t miss Virginia sparkler that most people will miss”. I’m glad we didn’t miss it!
Random: So where are the two degrees of separation? This is my mathematical formula: I know Claude, Claude comes from the same town in France and knows Bruno Paillard, champagne maker and his daughter, Marie Caroline Bakke-Paillard (from Claude’s days in California wine making). My sister stays part time and interns with Marie Caroline’s husband, Evan Bakke, at their winery in Le Barroux, Clos de Trias, where they produce 100% biodynamic, organic wines. We had scheduled for her to visit Claude so she could see where he makes his sparkling wines using space at Veritas in Afton, Va. While visiting Veritas, we realized that my sister, Terrie, ( ala Francais, Tehrreee’) is in the same school that the assistant winemaker, Elliott Watkins attended in the U.K., Plumpton College. So, basically, I take Claude, Marie Caroline, Bruno, Evan, Elliott and Terrie (6), divide by (3) countries US, UK and and France and get 2 degrees of separation. Very random: Oh well, at the least, there are two great winemakers creating wine in the methode-champenoise in Virginia, two sisters that love each other and wine, two winemakers in the same space using two different methods of winemaking under two completely different labels.
Crystal skies, frosty winds coursing the rows of dormant grape vines anchored on slopes of the Virginia piedmont….feeling the snowy terroir under hoof… it was a beautiful day.
Whether you’re a horse lover, wine lover or outdoor enthusiast, a ride on horseback through the Virginia vineyards appeals to the romantic in all of us. Don’t believe me? Gentleman, ask your spouse or girlfriend if she would like to venture out on horseback, escorted by a professional guide and finish at the tasting room of one of three spectacular award winning wineries. Ladies, ask your husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends or bridesmaids if they would enjoy a private tour like I just described….exactly! Which is the same reason that I arranged for my sister ( fellow oenophile-fancy name for wino) and I to do just that!
Veritas, King Family, Pollak Vineyards and Glass House Winery all snuggle up to the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains with views that arguably beat Napa Valley hands down. All three wineries have joined with local cowboy, Ashton Beebe and his Indian Summer Guide Service, to provide a sensory experience that shouldn’t be missed. If you have any apprehensions about riding, no worries here, these horses are accustomed to the terrain and easy as can be with any novice rider.
We selected Veritas Winery for our tour and would have gladly hit all three if time had allowed. Two Socks, Beau and Murphy (Quarter Horse Pintos) were brushed down and ready for our ride. Ashton had requested the lovely Chloe Hodson, Manager of the Farmhouse and Retreat at Veritas, to join us for an education about the grape varieties, the terroir and the history of Veritas. We mounted and set off towards the slopes above Veritas casually chatting, getting accustomed to the gait of the horses. In a matter of moments, we had established a connection-multiple connections-between the four of us. Chloe immediately tripped to the fact that her boyfriend, Elliott Watkins, assistant winemaker to sister Emily Pelton and originally from the U.K. , graduated from Plumpton College in England, for wine making, the same school that my sister is attending for her WSET. I knew Ashton’s family from years before where we attended church together. Small world!
The ride was comfortable, horses snorting in conversation with each other, and we continued to ascend the slopes. Should you have any reservations about riding, Ashton will put you at ease and the horses follow each other, easily used to mountain trail rides. I wanted to take pictures with my camera, no easy task when you’re trying to relax and just take in the moment; but Ashton was riding, reigning single handedly and snapping pictures with his own camera. A nice surprise and we lapsed into just savouring the experience. At the highest elevation on our ride, Chloe pointed out a slope where future vines would be planted and quite possibly be tended on horseback due to the steepness. It was at this point that I felt like I was in Montana, in another era, bygone days and away from the hustle of business, cars and crowds.
Following our ride, we entered the tasting room with it’s soaring ceilings and the “cork LOVE” display playing off the slogan Virginia is for (wine) Lovers. Chloe and Elliott walked us through the extensive line up of wines produced at Veritas. Two wines of special note were first, Elliott’s baby, a 2013 Rosé, which my sister is taking back to Plumpton College to brag on his winemaking skills. It was fun sampling wine with Ashton and getting the guided tour of the cellar and doing some barrel tastings.
The other was the Kenmar, made with Traminette grapes ( a hybrid of Gewurtztraminer and Joannes –Seyve (JS) from Cornell. Emily’s Veritas 2005 Kenmar brought national attention to this young female winemaker as the winner of the Judge’s Choice Competition at the 2007 National Women’s Wine Competition in California. Chloe explained the history of this wine, named in remembrance of her grandparents, Kenneth and Marjorie who passed away during 2001, the year of their first vintage. Her grandmother enjoyed sweet wines and asked that one be made to her taste, thus the Kenmar was born. As Chloe shared the sweet story about her grandmother, we couldn’t help but get teary eyed along with her. My favorite wine was the Harlequin Reserve Chardonnay 2012, a little oaky, buttery and served later at home with our favorite cedar planked Alaskan salmon. I admit that I do like creamy chardonnays…what’s wrong with that?
Chloe Guides the Wine Tasting
Our tour culminated at the winery, off horseback, (no drinking and riding despite our posed photographs to show off the link to the vineyards). If you can arrange a horseback tour of the vineyards, try to arrange it during the weekdays when the tasting room is quieter and you can sit by the grand fireplace or really take your time learning about the wines. I cannot recommend this enough and look forward to the soonest opportunity to ride along again. Contact Ashton to arrange your vineyard tour at 434) 531-9679, he DOES answer his phone 🙂
If you want to create the ultimate package, horse back rides, massages courtesy of Blue Ridge Massage Therapy , yoga, cooking classes, spa treatments and staying at the Farmhouse call 540-456-8100 for rates and reservations. Chloe is hands on in this area and can coordinate your visit with various pampering and adventures for your indulgences.
“Every day should feel this good.” The well known slogan of Vineyard Vines was apparent at the grand opening of one their newest nautically themed locations in Charlottesville and it felt really good! The VV concept is to have their clothing and accessories conjure an image of “enjoying the finer things in life, the things people love to do and dream about doing”. Founded in 1998 on Martha’s Vineyard by Shep and Ian Murray, the Connecticut raised brothers left the Manhattan corporate world to make “ties for others so [they] didn’t have to wear them”. Starting their business on an accrued debt of $40,000 , Shep and Ian have managed to turn the small business into a thriving American company with over 28 stores and affiliations with the NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball not to mention colleges and universities. Nautically appointed, their stores display Vineyard Vines memorabilia, sailing gear and an “all hands on deck” sales counter set below a teak sailing yacht ceiling and the backdrop of a ship’s cabin.
The two brothers have become icons in the world of “haute-prep” and customers have a tradition of bringing in their old Vineyard Vines ties to be autographed. I like to think that Nolan Ross, the fashionably-preppy attired Hamptonite on the ABC TV series Revenge , shops at one of the original VV stores in New England. The same signature “fun” atmosphere Ian & Shep have injected into their retail stores permeated last Thursday evening’s event as popped-collared customers socialized, shopped and in keeping with the “vineyard flair” sipped glasses of Pippin Hill Chardonnay and Merlot while sampling carried trays of hors de oeuvres. Side note: I’m sure there has been more than one bridal party at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard (a premier destination wedding venue near Charlottesville) to don Vineyard Vines accessories.
One could almost smell the salty air of the Vineyard as corn hole toss games played at the entrance, photo ops flashed with Ian & Shep, and a duo performed live summer themed music at the door.
The successful evening ended as smiling shoppers left with whale embroidered ball caps and bags of whimsically colored clothing while Shep was noticed generously giving away merchandise to future young customers! I spoke later with Deborah Kahn and Hannah Nolan, both who love being a part of the new Vineyard Vines team, plus modeling the latest outfits for the Fall/Winter season. Their enthusiasm for the management style of the company as well as the quality products made me want to join the team as well. I’d have the best Christmas gifts to give, like the new ties with holly berries or candy canes or even lobsters with antlers….are you smiling yet? If not, pop into the store, you will be =)