2015 Early Mountain Oyster Festival or I Want the T-Shirt!

Early_Mountain_Vineyards_WineryWho loves Oysters??

I just did a casual poll in my office, 100% in favor of the rocky little mollusks! Disclaimer: several people were away from their desks or at lunch. Whether or not you’re an oyster lover is a moot point, this years Oyster Festival at Early Mountain Vineyards strikes a nice balance, offering alternatives for those who pass on bivalves. Last year the event was a fixed price for all you can eat oysters, this year is structured a little different and in my opinion, better. All food is priced a la carte and for those with shellfish allergies or are not fans of oysters, there’s always wine!  Raw & steamed oyster, crab cakes, and Barcat chowder will be served in addition to the excellent selection of wine. A limited alternative menu will be available in the Market Place in the winery.  Bonus!  A free souvenir stemless EMV glass and wine tasting are included in the ticket price.

Gotta get the T-Shirt!

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If you’ve never visited Early Mountain Vineyards you’re in for a treat, the staff is well trained in making your experience pleasurable and no doubt you’ll want to return. The facility is gorgeous, allow enough time to see how artfully designed this venue is and the blends and contrasts of textures from the pillows on the sofas to the course brick walls and tables to the smooth polished wood tasting bar.Early_Mountain_Vineyard_Cville_Uncorked_03

Come out and enjoy the sounds of Folk rock band, Mercy Creek from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission is $12 in advance, $10 for EMV Wine Club Members, and $15 at the door.

Under 21 are admitted free and Early Mountain Vineyards keeps a stock of fun games for the family. Hope to see you there!

Check out more photography by Lumina Boston!unnamed

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Everyday is a Good day for Virginia Bubbly

Virginia_Sparkling_WineWhile 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).

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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!

Posted in Albemarle County Wineries, Shopping for Wine Lovers, Valentine's Day, Virginia Wine Country, Wineries Outside Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silverback Distillery Adds a Different Spirit this Christmas in Nelson County

Silverback_Distillery_Spirit_Lineup I Love Christmas! And as excited as I am about spending the holidays with the ones I love, there’s always the question as to what to give or what to do with our out of town guests. Well here’s a a different type of spirit that makes for a fun “get out of the house”  trip and even get some Christmas gifts or  stock up the bar for New Years Eve.Gorilla Juice

Chest thumping enthusiasm is palpable as wine drinkers and beer lovers “fall off the Brew Ridge Trail” and into the new tasting room of Silverback Distillery in Nelson County. Curiosity tempted us away from apple butter festivals and past some of the wineries and breweries dotting 151 in Nelson. Just a short drive south of 250 and Afton is the newest attraction, opened the end of August by partners in life and business, Christine and Denver Riggleman and close friend and operations manager, Blake Rhodes.

DSC04021  The distillery bears Denver’s nickname of Silverback (gorilla of course) because he had grayed prematurely, lifted weights and is actually quite gentle unless provoked.Silverback Distillery

We arrived shortly before closing and within a small window of time that allowed us to connect with the Silverback himself, Denver, for a quick but thorough tour of the distillery. Proud of not only the design and the process thoughtfully chosen by the couple, we were treated to  a brief chemistry lesson in spirit production. Silverback_Distillery_StillThe  two stills used would make Willy Wonka want to switch to Bourbon,Gin and Vodka. Sleek and sparkling in the sunny room, the contraptions rest above a hidden geothermal system for heating and then shock cooling the spirits to achieve the best flavor possible. Teflon lined fireman’s hoses transfer the mash to the stills. The stills are Denver’s million dollar plus babies, don’t quote me on this but I remember the dollar figures astounded me.DSC04022

The motto which reflects their commitment to safety, fun and the environment is

PRODUCE RESPONSIBLY. DRINK RESPONSIBLY. DISPOSE RESPONSIBLY ™Seriously...

Monkeying AroundI won’t steal their thunder, head to 151 in Nelson and take a tour, there’s an encyclopedia of information about distilling spirits and the bourbon to come at Silverback. You can even  shop for some fun non-alcoholic gift items  for tea-totalers.

Love these Bottles

Hours are:

Monday: 12:30-6
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday & Thursday: 12:30-6
Friday: 12:30-7
Saturday: 11-7
Sunday: 1-6

* Special Note * Closed the same days as ABC stores-early closing on Christmas Eve, Closed Christmas and New Years Day.

Posted in Nelson County Wineries, Shopping for Wine Lovers, Virginia Wine News, Weekends in Charlottesville | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Grapes of Rave

…. And now the rave! Heading on down the road I stopped in at Barracks Road shopping center, really not sure if I would be greeted or ignored.
Thinking Crème de la crème might just have the type of pot I was looking for I entered the store and was refreshingly greeted with a bright smile by Nancy Jo Krueger. Though she was helping another person, Nancy Jo offered her assistance and said she would be with me as soon as she was finished with the other customer.

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I was thrilled and not only bought something for myself but bought something for our soon to be born granddaughter.

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Ironically, the type and size of pot was not to be found and Nancy Jo suggested the Ivy Nursery!
I left happy and will gladly come back.

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Grapes of Wrath and Rave

I would like to preface this post by stating the fact that the Ivy Nursery is probably one of my favorite places to shop in Charlottesville. I love to buy gifts there for myself and I love to buy gifts there for people I love. If I had the means, I would furnish my entire home to look like the gift shop at the Ivy Nursery. After having repeated experiences in the local shops in Charlottesville I’ve decided to do a periodic rant/rave post. I think I’ll call it Grapes of Wrath and Rave. Maybe we’ll have a cork rating system! 5 Corks for over the top service. I don’t shop every week, frankly, so it won’t be every week. If I go into a store and someone offers assistance I’ll likely rave about you, but if I go into your shop, and you don’t offer me assistance, not only may I write about it but I will not buy from you. I’m getting a little tired of shopping around this area and literally being ignored in the store. I don’t look funny, I dress normally, and I have money in my pocket. I am ready to buy. But I will not buy from you if you do not offer me help.
I had a few moments to stop in at the Ivy Nursery this afternoon with the full intent of purchasing a quite lovely pot for my succulents. I walked in the nursery, I walked in the greenhouse, I walked into the gift portion of the store and I walked back into the nursery. Not once did anyone greet me, nor did they offer me assistance in searching for something. So, I’m on my way to another store. Thank you and the next time I shop at Ivy Nursery hopefully I’ll buy something. Of course I’ll go back, I can’t help myself…ah, that was the point after all!

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A Taste of Monticello with the Winemakers

A Taste of Monticello

Virginia wine fans, join us for a live tasting with three winemakers on Virginia Wine Chat

There is still plenty of time to order for this weekends special event!
Virginia Wine Chat – 3 Bottles of the finest Monticello wines

Virginia wine fans, join us for the September edition of Virginia Wine Chat, Saturday, September 27 at 7:30pm, presented by DrinkWhatYouLike.com, Virginia Wine Marketing Office, and The Virginia Wine Club:

A live tasting and interview with Emily Pelton (Veritas Vineyard), Matthieu Finot (King Family Vineyard), and Jake Busching (Grace Estates Winery ) moderated by wine writer Frank Morgan. The educational tasting and panel discussion will be streamed live via the Virginia Wine Chat UStream Channel. Participants watch the live panel discussion/tasting via UStream and can ask questions via Twitter by using the #VAWineChat hash tag.

This Wine Package will include one bottle of each of the following:

Veritas 2013 Viognier
King Family 2012 Meritage
Grace Estate Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc

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” Bras for a Cause ” Charlottesville Breast Cancer Benefit

bras_for_a_cause_Charlottesville_Breast_Cancer_FundraiserMany of you may have already  attended this benefit in the past, but in case you’ve missed it, let me share  a bit about Bras for a Cause. The fashion show is highlighted by male models (since men can get breast cancer too) cavorting in the specially designed bras. Past themes have been Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Golf theme, and the Wizard of Oz.  Just as almost everyone has had an encounter with breast cancer, whether  yourself, a family member or a friend, hearing the diagnosis is a life changing event.  The Blue Ridge Chapter of Women’s Council of Realtors ( which has male members also) is hosting the 4th Annual Bras for a Cause event in an effort to provide funds to help Flourish, the positive image boutique at The Emily Couric Cancer Center in Charlottesville, Virginia and raise Breast Cancer awareness in our community.

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate III Breast Cancer Survivor Bra

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate III Breast Cancer Survivor Bra

At Flourish, stylish products are made available to those facing Cancer.  Flourish is located on the main floor of the UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.  Supported by the UVA Hospital Auxiliary,  funds generated by the boutique help the UVA Cancer Center to provide additional resources for cancer patients. Mastectomy garments, skin care products, wigs and scarves,  clothing and accessories are some of the products available. It’s a great place to buy gifts for someone that you care about including stylish and affordable jewelry, cancer awareness books and other inspirational gift items. With private fitting rooms, a Certified mastectomy fitter can help women while giving them the privacy, respect and concern so needed during this time. It also features Ramona’s Room, offering free wigs, scarves and caps for those who are un- or under-insured.

The Liberty Bra and freedom form Cancer-Angus Arrington BHG Real Estate III

The Liberty Bra and Freedom from Cancer-Angus Arrington BHG Real Estate III

Come out and join in the merriment with our local Realtors (and affiliated real estate folks including mortgage brokers)  hoot and holler at the brave male models showing off their “themed bras”,  not making light of the disease but laughing together as we attack it! Many of our Realtors have or are going through this right now and can use the support. 

Please join us Friday, September 19, 2014 – 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Elk’s Lodge, 389 Elk Drive, Charlottesville, VA

Hors D’oeuvres, Cash Bar & Live Auction.
 Tickets now on sale at ‘Flourish’ UVA Emily Couric Cancer Center for $20.00 (or $25.00 at the door). 

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