Save The Bay, Eat An Oyster In Nelson County

Oyster lovers were greeted  Saturday afternoon by billowing cottony clouds rolling across the Blue Ridge mountains near Wintergreen and fears of a rainy washout dissipating in the light breeze. This year, the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival appeared to be quite successful judging by the numbers of happy picnickers headed in with lawn chairs, children in tow and  lines forming for food and beverages at the Devils Backbone Brewing Company  in Roseland, Virginia.

I’ve never been a big fan of oysters so this was a nice chance for my husband to enjoy a rare treat. Neither of us anticipated how much I was going to like the BBQ’d Mobjack Bay oysters with Rock Barn‘s Andouille sausage, arugula, and Asiago cheese.  Needless to say, they were sold by the half-dozen and first go-around I had three!  The shrimp and sausage grits topped off with scallions and cheddar cheese were worth the fork fight we had and are a must for next year. Ice cold beer on draft washed it down well and cooled us from the warm sun.

Oysters play a key role in helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay by filtering water.  One single oyster can clean up to 60 gallons of water every day. More oysters and oyster reefs are needed which is why they were proudly recycling all the oyster shells from this year’s Blue Ridge Oyster Festival for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s many oyster restoration projects.  All oysters served at the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival were harvested from Ward Oyster Company’s Aquaculture program (Ware Neck, VA)

We never got a chance to try the wine that was released by Cardinal Point and Blenheim wineries as we were headed back into Charlottesville for the Monticello Wine Trail Festival.  The 2011 Chardonnay aged in 100% American Oak  from Cardinal Point was the featured release and the 2011 Red Table wine from Blenheim was a blend of 46% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Blenheim wine that I thought would have paired well with the oysters was the 2011 Rosé a vibrant, fruity but dry rosé made from Mourvedre, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, served chilled.

I wanted a souvenir wine glass but settled for a cool t-shirt. Next year, wine and the glass!

The hustle bustle behind the concession counters kept up with the demand and I loved the lady working the oyster booth with her double strand of pearls smiling her gorgeous smile. She was indeed one of the “pearls ” of the oyster festival. I would have loved to interview her but didn’t dare disrupt the assembly line.

Two Suggestions for 2013:

Restructuring the admission gate to facilitate better flow of the people who purchased tickets online. There was a bit of grousing and one person actually asked the attendant if they weren’t embarrassed to tell people, “If you don’t have a ticket, move to the head of the line”. The line was actually to check bags for outside food and beverages but unfortunately it was to the advantage of non-ticket holders.

Also, is there any way that speakers can be enhanced so that the food concession area can hear the wonderful live music? Picky, picky, but the stage was a bit far from the food area to pick up much volume.  I’m not an engineer and perhaps it is due to sound restrictions? With so many people quietly savouring their meals, I think it would add to the experience.

The commitment to accommodating as many people as possible was evident and look for this event to work out fine details, this was only the second year and they did a great job. Thanks to Cerberus Productions and Devils Backbone Brewing Company for hosting the event and benefitting The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge and The Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We look forward to next year!

For Sale: California Contemporary with Cabernet Vineyard In Virginia Wine Country

Gabrielle_Rausse_Cabernet_Sauvignon_Reserve_2010Another segment of “Honey, I Want a Vineyard”

Here is a rare and unique opportunity to own an airy, light-filled abode at the foot of a mature vineyard and wrapped by  a ten-acre spring fed lake. With over 4000 square feet on 11 acres, this contemporary ranch style home offers geo-thermal radiant heat  and a commercial kitchen for the avid chef.

“Vintage” views are yours, whether relaxing on the swimming deck in the warm Summer months or pulling up a chair and glass of wine  to the outdoor fireplace during peak Autumn color.  Gabrielle Rausse’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is bottled from grapes from this vineyard!  The dock is equipped with a ladder for easy exiting after kayaking or swimming. The neighborhood is also known for its 4th of July fireworks display over the lake.

Virginia_Cabernet_Sauvignon_VinesThe Vineyard

Soft breezes waft down the slopes from the 2+ acres of vineyard where  525  ten-year old  Cabernet Sauvignon vines are in production. Located a mere 10 minute drive from the Charlottesville Albemarle County Airport, makes this property a “best of both worlds” scenario. Burnley Vineyards is just a short distance down the road and the historic Barboursville Winery (where the Virginia wine industry got started) is nearby.

 Don’t be intimidated by the vineyard, the vines are irrigated and require periodic pruning but there is plenty of local interest to support and guide you. Being a wine lover and distant from our 200 acre Southton Farm in Texas, I can’t imagine dividing this lovely, spacious home from its grapes.  However, the property is available sans the vineyard.  You will find me kicking and screaming if you do this, but, it is listed in our MLS both ways. There is also a 3.9 acre waterfront lot that can be divided off of the property.

Sophisticated California Style Home

The floor plan offers a variety of lifestyle options including a separate wing for guests and privacy for the owners.  It has excellent potential for a Bed & Breakfast and is listed  online with Airbnb, check out the pictures. One wing includes an additional complete kitchen, living area with patio, and two bedrooms plus a family room. Tiled flooring makes this home low maintenance and hypoallergenic.  The present homeowner uses the main central kitchen with its customized island as a licensed  commercial kitchen for her luscious Charlottesville Cupcake baking.

Charlottesville_Cupcake_ One level living design also makes the home easily  accessible for elderly individuals and combined households. The workshop below the garage and the fenced raised-bed garden are wonderful bonuses. Personally, I think the home would make a nice tasting room for a winery with living quarters for the homeowner or even a venue for weddings and events. Parties of 75+ guests have been entertained here with plenty of space to socialize. The hot tub, fishing/ swimming dock, outdoor fireplace and expansive great room plus the vineyard combine to create a package that seldom finds its way  to the  Virginia market.  Disclaimer: Cupcakes Not Included 🙂

Sandy_Branch_Vineyard_InteriorThe property is listed two ways, one (CAAR MLS 487248)  includes the house,  11 acres total and the vineyard for $1,249,000.

CAAR MLS 486111 lists the house along with 5+ acres without the vineyard and   3+ acre waterfront parcel.

If you have any interest in viewing this property, it would be my pleasure to show you this lovely home. It is presently listed by Montague, Miller and Company-Westfield. There are only a few properties that boast having income-producing vineyards. If you would like a complete list of vineyard properties or are looking for a home with vineyard views, please check out our website at Welcome Home

We are licensed Real Estate agents with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III 2271 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville, Virginia and knowledgeable about the local wine and vineyard industry.