Trump Winery Open for Business!

Tuesday, October 4th, heralds the grand opening (or re-0pening) of the former Kluge Estate Winery  in Albemarle County, Virginia under a new name,  (can you guess it?)  Trump Winery.  Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump is President  and Patricia Kluge and her husband William Moses will serve as Vice Presidents of the winery.  Attending the celebration were the aforementioned, as well as Governor Bob McDonnell. The Governor  has played a key role in promoting Virginia wines in the United States as well as Europe and soon will be encouraging business with Israel. According to Todd Haymore,  Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry,  McDonnell and Virginia’s first lady,  Maureen McDonnell are credited  with helping boost Virginia’s wine sales.  The McDonnell administration  passed a program giving tax credits to individuals establishing or expanding wineries and vineyards in the Commonwealth.

The media were present to photograph, video and ask questions of Donald Trump, and I  found him to be just like he is on television-assertive and gregarious, but better looking in person!  There is no question that Trump knows how to deal with the media.  When asked by  reporters why Donald could make this venture successful when Patricia Kluge could not, he came to her defense in typical “Trumpian” manner and explained that he had the advantage of not having a mortgage! Touche! Another question regarded the intentions of the real estate aspect of his investment . 

Mr. Trump  said  he planned to keep the property “high-end”.  When a reporter from The Hook asked about Albemarle House, Donald Trump tossed the question back and asked him if he would want to buy such a big house on such little property! We know who owns the surrounding estate!   He is still in the market for Albemarle House but feels the bank  has it valued too high. 

 

 
 

 After answering several questions, the baton was then passed to his son for details about the winery itself.    Patricia Kluge joined Eric at the microphone and remarked on her role in the business.  Geraldine Fabrikant, a senior writer for Business Day at The New York Times, interviewed  Patricia Kluge  recently and found her to be, not surprisingly, quite resilient and up to the task of re-establishing herself in the wine industry. Subsequently, Eric Trump stepped aside allowing Gov. McDonnell  to praise the wine industry in Virginia.

Ultimately, Donald and Eric  Trump and Patricia Kluge  plan to expand the vineyards and employ new marketing ideas to the wines and their labels.  They refused to elaborate and left it as a surprise for wine lovers.  Additionally, Eric mentioned the potential for  “hundreds” of jobs associated with the growth of the winery. 

No matter what locals think, the Trump name creates fervor and  excitement in a realtively sedate area of Virginia. I know it  certainly was fun for me to sit in the Trump   helicopter even though I couldn’t wrangle a ride out of the pilot!  The pilot  did however mention that he loved  flying over our  scenic Virginia wine country!  Planning a trip to Charlottesville?  A must-do after visiting  Monicello, home of Thomas Jefferson,  is  the new  Trump Winery and the neighboring  vineyards  owned by Dave Matthews,  Blenheim Winery!

Promises and Celebrations at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Promises and Contrasts.  Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards  is the newest addition to the Monticello Trail AVA  but has the aura of  generations of history. Set in a valley in the southern end of Albemarle County, this boutique winery promises to be one of the most coveted locations for wedding celebrations  in Virginia.  I was struck by the contrasts of old and new, soft and coarse, refined and rustic; the promise of a new venture developing like a fine Bordeaux into an exquisite wedding destination. 

 Upon first approach from the road, the hillside divide into two vineyards, both are in first year growth. Very new!  On the crest of the hill,  the Granary and Tasting Room are visible,  designed in the style of a classic farmstead house with the barn blending into the rolling countryside.  The structure appears old but the newly sown grass and plantings give it away.  The panoramic views are Old World and I can’t help but anticipate the views after the vines mature, anchoring the vista of  the  Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding hills !  Definitely add this to your Autumn leaf peeping, wine tasting outings!

                                                                                  

Owners, Dean Andrews and Lynn Easton Andrews, have assembled the best team, from the architects and landscape designer to the interior design team of  JohnSarahJohn!  Dean has an extensive 30 year background in the hospitality industry  specificically,   international hotel operations and development including properties in the US, Caribbean, French Polynesia and Mexico.  Lynn’s professional career includes producing  large events for Fortune 500 corporations, non-profit organizations, and top-level social clients. Lynn’s expertise is described as orchestrating “high-touch” events that require maximum attention to detail.  It appears that between them, they have the recipe for success!

Chris Hill is the vineyard consultant with decades of experience in vineyard establishment and  management. Michael Shaps of Virginia Wineworks is partnering with Pippin Hill to produce wines and supplement with his label to get things rolling.

 The Structure 

The Pippin Hill facility offers five different arenas for entertaining: the main event building, The Granary; the Winery Tasting Room; the Veranda & Courtyard; the Wine Cellar and Alfresco Dining in the Vineyard.

The elements of design were artistically placed with photo opportunities in mind ( at least that was my impression) and permit countless  locations for keepsake snapshots!  Little niches placed here and there are priceless for stolen kisses and intimate moments!  Perfect for exchanging wedding promises!  Already, the wedding photographers and planners are blogging about this hot location! While I was visiting, three different groups were contemplating scheduling their big event here and judging by the smiles and number of camera clicks, I’d have to believe some deposits were placed!

The Granary is a barn inspired structure and the main event hall for wedding receptions,  accommodating up to 200 people with over 3,600 square feet of open floor space beneath a dramatic two- story wood beamed ceiling.  Old wood and rustic, distressed  furniture coupled with lavish fabrics create a sense of established elegance, feminine yet substantial. Several pieces were selected and imported from San Miguel, Mexico adding to the international feel.  Upstairs,  Brides can dress and primp with their bridesmaids  in the Bridal Loft  delicately decorated with  wispy sheer draperies and soft linen tweed upholstery.  

         

Below, wine tasting and a “vineyard to table” menu are offered on the Veranda and in the Tasting Room, which coincidentally has a loft for the groom  to prepare for the occasion!   The rustic decorating style continues throughout interior and exterior, with little touches of country elegance achieving an effect of a French or Tuscan farmhouse. 

In the Tasting Room, the bar top is constructed  out of  harvested wood from a Montezuma Cypress tree.  These trees are extremely hardy with a  long lifespan, some  can be up to 2,000 years old!  The  Montezuma Cypress  is Mexico’s national tree and cannot be cut down while still alive.  This tree was estimated to have died 10 years ago.  The tree’s circumference is 10′ and stood approximately 70-80′ tall!  

Stay tuned for my next post which will be Part II of Pippin Hill,  the wine  and ambience!

2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville!

In a little over a month, Charlottesville, Virginia will be hosting The North America Wine Bloggers Conference!  They are expecting as many as 325 participants, actually limiting it to that number!  This is quite a coup for Virginia and the efforts of many in the Commonwealth including Governor Bob McDonnel . With the recent opening of Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards  and this week Stinson Vineyards,  there is a lot of excitement in the air around Charlottesville’s wine country!

This is my first time to participate and I’m excited to be  learning more about wines from enthusiasts world wide!  I will be joining wine bloggers, new media innovators, and wine industry leaders on July 22-24, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia for the fourth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference!  Best of all, I feel proud to be a local wine blogger and have the opportunity to show off  the beauty of our wine country and some of our superb wineries! 

There is also a Pre-Conference Excursion to Loudoun County.  Loudoun County is located just outside Washington DC and is one of Virginia’s premier wine areas, with 28 area wineries. I really wanted to join this group as well but can’t take that much time away from real estate in the summer! Other than visits to local wineries and Monticello, all meetings will be held at the Omni Hotel,  located near the end of our charming downtown pedestrian mall.

I’ve never “Live-Wine Blogged” before, hopefully I’ll get some pointers before the event!  The agenda is amazing including Dave McIntyre, wine writer for the Washington Post and founding member of DrinkLocalWine.com;  Lenn Thompson, founder of New York Cork Report; and Rémy Charest, blogger at The Wine Case in Canada.  This panel will be moderated by wine blogger, Frank Morgan of  Drink What You Like.  It will also be a great chance to meet wine tweeps in person!

New York Times wine critic and blogger Eric Asimovwill be providing the  keynote speech for the conference. I also noticed my friend Kat Schornberg Barnard of Keswick Vineyards will be attending!  I’ll know one person!

Look out C-ville, Here come the winos 🙂

Today At DuCard!! Artists, Music and Wine!

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!

 

ALERT! “Noise Ordinance”- Keswick,We’ve Got Your Back!

 

Keswick Vineyards is doing their best to be a good neighbor!

Come support our neighboring vineyards at the Albemarle County Office Building March 9th at 6 p.m. !

This is a reprint of Keswick’s blog that I felt should be seen by as many people as possible.

 

A Call to Action

I got into winemaking for many reasons, the love of farming and definitely a love of wine. I get butterflies in my stomach when I see sweeping vineyards and land being farmed to create products that not only bring joy to customers, but also provide a much-needed boost into the economy of the surrounding areas.

It is with this in mind that I request your help regarding a certain matter, that not only affects us at Keswick Vineyards, but also potentially many other wineries in the county of Albemarle in the future. We opened our doors last year for weddings to be hosted on the property knowing that many a bride would want to say their vows surrounded by beautiful vineyards, with gorgeous views of the Southwest Mountains. What better way to start a new chapter in one’s life.

Albemarle County’s noise ordinance leaves much to personal interpretation, and dependent on the surrounding residents may be used to force the wineries to cease holding these events. It is with this in mind that I urge you to read the information regarding this ordinance, and if you feel like we do, to sign the petition as either a resident or non-resident of Albemarle County [there are two specific petitions].

Petition for Albemarle county residents

Petition for non-residents

We are having a public hearing at the county office building on March 9th at 6pm and showing your support  would be greatly appreciated.

Kindly

Keswick Vineyards

   

“3” A Triple Play for Virginia Wine

If you can’t break away on Thursday March 3rd at 3:33, all is not lost!  There will be tastings of “3” at Pollak, Veritas and King Family Vineyards on March 6th.  This is an opportunity for a unique gift or collectable bottle of wine, all you oenophiles! I’m looking forward to tasting this on Sunday myself!  Below is the official press release and a bio on the winemakers. Enjoy!

Three's A Charm!

King Family-Pollak-Veritas Three Virginia Wineries Create “3”

"3"

Get your calendar out and checkbook ready!  A collaborative effort of three local winemakers: Matthieu Finot- King Family, Emily Hodson Pelton- Veritas and Jake Busching- Pollak will be released next week.  Apparently the three winemakers contemplated the idea while sipping beer . They decided to combine three varietals from each of  their three wineries to create one special wine.  Pollak Vineyards was chosen for their Petit Verdot which they have won several awards for in the past. Veritas Winery provided the Cabernet Franc, also an  Annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association award winner. King Family Vineyards contributed the Merlot grapes which they are well known for to complete the wine.  The blend is equal percentages, 33 1/3%  of the three varietals.  There are only 150 cases and each winery will have 50 case available for sale.

Aptly, the Release Party for “3” will be the third day of the third month at 3:30 p.m. and will be priced at  $33.30 a bottle. I’ll do the math for you:  the party will be at Pollak Vineyards on  3/3/2011 at 3:30!  No bottles will be sold prior to that date and they will definitely go fast!

Valentine’s is For Virginia Wine Lovers!

                                        Call me Cupid!

Need some ideas for your special sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?  Check out some of our local wineries and  revel in chocolate and wine, an indulgence for all your senses! Pick out a sentimental card and a rose and you have the ingredients for a very romantic weekend!

DuCard Winery Valentine’s Sunday Brunch
Sunday, February 13 2011 11:30 AM seating
Here’s an elegant idea for you and your special Valentine to enjoy at their Madison County tasting room.  Charlottesville personal chef Cindy Shepard will be serving a gourmet brunch featuring local ingredients (click here for menu) and paired with DuCard Wines (of course!).  Vicky Lee will set the mood with her harp (victorialeemusic.com) $40 per person.  Seating is limited – for reservations contact scott@ducardvineyards.com or call 540.923.4206.

Glass House Winery

Mark your calendars for Sunday Feb 13th, when Glass House welcomes acoustic rock musicians The Lost Souls to Glass House.  2-5pm.  No cover. 
Also on Sunday Feb 13th, they will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with cheese and chocolate pairings with their wines!  For $15, they will pair a cheese or one of Glass House Winery’s delectable chocolates with each of their wines for this tasting.  Don’t miss it, as Michelle is dreaming up some new flavors for the occasion.   Regular $5 tastings will also be available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keswick Vineyards Be Mine With Wine

Feb 12th, 11am – 4pm
Wine, strawberries, and sweets… Spoil yourself or someone you love with Keswick Vineyards’ special wine, 2 different kinds of hand-dipped strawberries and other sweets for a Valentine’s Day indulgence.  Discover how these luscious confections complement each wine.  After your tasting, enjoy the romantic setting while you savor a glass of wine and take a guess at how many candy hearts are in their  Rosé bottle to win a free future tour and tasting for you and your sweetheart.

The cost is $12 for  wine club members and $15 for non wine club members. Reservations are recommended.

If you’re unable to break away on the weekend, stop by during the week and pick up a bottle of Norton wine for Kris’s homemade brownies!  I borrowed the recipe from the Keswick blog:

Double Norton Brownies

We’ve had a lot of requests for the recipe for Kris’ brownies that we had in the tasting room last weekend, so here it is!  It’s really simple!
 
Just take a regular box of brownie mix (chocolate or fudge) and substitute Norton wine for the water and 1/4 of the amount of vegetable oil that the mix calls for with Norton chocolate sauce.  Mix it together and bake as directed.
The chocolate sauce will make a more fudgy texture so you can use less or more depending on how fudgy you want them.  

To make an extra special treat, we topped them with strawberries dipped in whipped topping (we used equal parts mascarpone cheese and whipped topping, sugared to taste) and rolled in coconut and then drizzled the whole thing with more Norton chocolate sauce! 

 

King Family Vineyards

February 12, 2011 – February 14, 2011Valentines at the Vineyard

Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with your special someone at King Family Vineyards! Enjoy Gearhart’s chocolates specially selected to pair with their wines. $15/person includes souvenir glass, glass of wine, and 3 handcrafted chocolates. Reservations are recommended. 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm Monday.

When the President comes to town…

Big, big event in Charlottesville this  Friday night!  President Obama is lending his support for Tom Perriello by hitting our little town the weekend before midterm elections. 

He will be speaking at the Charlottesville Downtown Pavillion.

I’m not sure if he thinks Tom can’t do it alone or he just wants to come to Cville in the Fall and enjoy our beautiful town during  peak Autumn color!  Either way, for all you folks who want to avoid crowds or support Robert Hurt  by being absent;  Pollak Vineyards will be an evening worthy of a President!

Tip to Pollak

Friday evening from 4 p.m. until  9 p.m., the last of the Friday Night Sunset Concert Series for 2011 will be the happening place for wine lovers and Fall foliage enthusiasts. I’m not sure who the entertainment will be, but the terrace at night is beautiful, the wine is superb and our weather should be perfect if a little chilly,  so bring a blanket or sweater!

Directions to Pollak from Cville-

 Take Interstate 64 West to Exit 107 (Crozet). Turn left onto 250 West. Go about three miles, passing the estates of Mirador, Seven Oaks, Ramsey and Ridgley all on your right. Just past Ridgley estate, take a right fork onto Rte. 796 (Brooksville Rd.). Continue about a half mile and turn right on Newtown Road. Entrance to Pollak Vineyards is about a half mile on your left.