After spending a day at the Omni Hotel on the Charlottesville downtown pedestrian mall ( I write this description for non-locals) we climbed on busses heading up curvy route 53 to Monticello for a dinner reception featuring Virginia wines. Extremely muggy hot weather was not the best conditions to show off our fair city and Blue Ridge Mountains. I still think despite the New Orleans Bayou-thick air, out of state visitors were impressed with the history and beauty of Monticello. Efforts were made to keep the guests comfortable, hand-held fans printed with “Virginia Is For Lovers” were distributed and outdoor air conditioning was provided at strategic locations, fans with water reservoirs diffusing cool mist on the more aggressive heat relief seekers (Me!). TJ look-alike mingled with the guests along with celebrities like the Zonins, owners of Barboursville, just in from Italia!
The wine makers were sheltered under a vast tent, keeping their bottles in coolers before opening them for the bloggers. I couldn’t be more proud of our winery owners, wine makers and hosts-cheerfully pouring (more requested) whites and reds and extolling the quality of their wines. Meanwhile, I shed my heels at Ankida Ridge’s table and walked barefoot in the grass, meeting other wine bloggers and tasting wine. As I wandered around, I couldn’t help but wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think about these techy wine lovers traipsing around his home and sharing thoughts regarding an industry that he started centuries ago in Virginia!
I was a little despondent about the demise of the 200+ years old White Oak and Poplar trees flanking the west side of Monticello. Noticeably missing, the large tree stumps look void and sad, so I toasted Thomas Jefferson quietly to myself. The value of some of the wines attributed to his collection have reached record prices at auction!
Ankida Ridge, Glass House, Stinson, Gabrielle Rausse, Flying Fox and Pippin Hill Farm Vineyard were stops for me, unfortunately I missed several others due to waning energy. The food was excellent! Shrimp and cheese grits, mini crab cakes, tiny stuffed red potatoes were all tasty pairings for the wines offered. Water bottles were the most coveted item on the menu, Keswick Hall did a fabulous job!
All in all, a lovely event and I overheard many guests discussing return travel plans to Virginia!
Great job, Charlottesville and Virginia Tourism!