Fun Summer Events at DuCard Vineyards

DuCard_logo_VaWine_reverse2%20(3)Recently a small group of friends have started a book club and our selections are leaning towards a wine mystery genre. Reading Ellen Crosby’s series has  been fun, especially because the setting is right here in Virginia. The series begins with The Merlot Murders and has historical facts about Virginia interjected into the story line. References to Charlottesville and the scenic landscape of Loudoun County tempt you toward weekend excursions in both locales. For oenophiles, the detailed process of growing grapes and winemaking add to the romance and authenticity of the novels. It also can de-romanticize the process explaining the critical timing of each step to yield an excellent wine. This would be a fun event for Ellen Crosby and DuCard fans combining the elements of wine, scenery and intrigue.  Saturday, July 7, 6:30:  Murder in the Vineyards!  It’s a Murder Mystery Dinner and Show at DuCard Vineyards! Can you solve the who-done-it mystery in the vineyard? Come enjoy dinner and the show by the Mystery Dinner Playhouse and see if you can sleuth your way to the answer better than Sherlock or your dinnermates.  $69 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Limited seating, advance reservations required.  This will be a truly unique experience that should not be missed!  Call or email now (540-923-4206           540-923-4206  marty@ducardvineyardscom) to make your reservations today!

Two other events worth attending are the annual art show  presented by the Firnew Farm Artists Circle on Sunday, June 10, 12-6: Also, the Tucker Hill Art Scholarship Award will be presented to a budding young local artist. Live music and nibbles will be on hand so come and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, local artisans, and DuCard wines.

Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17, 11-6:  Father’s Day Weekend – cigar pairings and wine specials.  This Father’s Day Weekend come enjoy cigar and wine pairings by Panacea Cigars on Saturday and live music on Sunday. Wine specials offered all weekend. Show Dad how to really enjoy the weekend!

Planning something entertaining for family in town this coming weekend? Check out some of the featured events at Virginia wineries. Whether you have friends or family visiting for weddings, graduations or considering moving to our lovely Central Virginia; here are some excellent wineries to consider:

King Family Vineyards & Roseland Polo

Current Match Status: The 2012 season will begin on Sunday, May 27th.

Polo Player

This Sunday! Polo Season kicks off at King Family. This is an extremely well-attended event so you may want to arrive early. Check out King Family’s website for tips to enjoy the afternoon. Best Tip: Bring some form of umbrellas for shade! Polo matches are held every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October, weather and field conditions permitting. Matches begin at 1:30 pm and typically last about 1 1/2 hours. Matches may be cancelled depending on field conditions, rain, excessive heat or any number of reasons.

May I recommend the lovely venue listed below- Afton Mountain Vineyard boasts beautiful views and soft breezes due to their location just below the mountain pass. With the large pavilion complete with ceiling fans and now with a bar to purchase wine, bring your picnic basket and head towards the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Nelson County. Weather forecast says we’re going to be HOT this weekend.Afton_Mountain_Vineyards_Pavillion

Afton After Hours at Afton Mountain Vineyards

Live music from 6:30pm to 8:30pm featuring Eli Cook.
Glass and bottle sales only – no tastings.
Bring a chair, bring a picnic and blanket, and enjoy a beautiful evening in our beautiful vineyard setting! Light picnic fare available in the tasting house. (Inclement weather: music will be held under cover in our Pavilion!)

Glass House Memorial Day Weekend Tailgate Also, if you love tailgates, creativity and a fun crowd, head to Glass House and sharpen up your culinary and artistic flair for a winning wine weekend. YES! There are prizes and everyone wins just by virtue of a great time in the “Tropics of Free Union” This Sunday afternoon starting at 12 p.m. Reservations highly suggested.Glass_House_Winery _Conservatory

  • Prizes Awarded For:
    Best Display of ‘GHW Team Spirit’ (strong focus on GHW & GHW WINES)
    Best Single Pairing Food With a Glass House Winery Wine
    Best Indoor/Deck Spread (table set-up)
    Best Outdoor Spread (car-tailgating set-up – B.Y.O.-grill)
    Judging based on decoration/theme, food, entertainment, and overall spirit.
    Winery tour for four with barrel tasting, 1 Bottle of GHW Wine,
    1 GHW T-shirt, and 4 GHW etched logo glasses.
    Two tickets to the June 12th “Taste This!” at the Boar’s Head Inn,
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW T-shirt, and 4 GHW etched logo glasses.
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW t-shirt, and 4 GHW can koozies.
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW t-shirt, and 4 GHW can koozies.
    Contact Linda Hahn, Events Director at events@glasshousewinery.comRESERVATIONS SUGGESTED:Email to Events@glasshousewinery.comInclude name, phone number, table size for indoor tailgate (4’x4’ or 4’x8’) or number of cars for outdoor (tent space available behind cars, byo-tent)

2012 Festival of Wines in Wintergreen, VA on May 26 and 27

On Saturday, May 26, Virginia wines will be featured, and on Sunday, May 27, international wines will take center stage. Celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend at Wintergreen Resort on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Proceeds support the extensive performance and educational activities of Wintergreen Performing Arts.

Location: The Evans Center at Wintergreen Resort

Dates: Saturday, May 26, 2012 – Virginia Wines and Sunday, May 27, 2012 – International Wines

Time: Noon-5:30 pm both days

Ticket Price: $20 per day includes souvenir glass; Two-day pass: $35; food will be available for purchase

Phone: (434) 325-8292 or visit:


Saturday, May 26 only

Price: $20.00

The 1st Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival

Oh, no! A conflict (unless it rains of course!) between spending time in beautiful Nelson County at the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival or heading to our own Charlottesville nTelos Pavillion for the first ever Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival. Two totally different experiences and I guess one could attend both but the idea of relaxing and being in the moment as compared to rushing to make both events leads me back to selecting only one. Sunday is the rain-date for the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival in case you want to gamble on rain.

On Saturday April 21st, the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Wine Festival – Presented by Brown Mercedes-Benz, will take place at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall from 2-6 p.m. Special early VIP entry from 1pm – 2pm.
Attendees will be able to sample from over 90 wines from 24 Trail members.

For $75 Special VIP packages include parking, early access, exclusive catered lunch provided by C&O Restaurant, opportunity to sample select wines not available to general public and a chance to mingle with wine-makers. For $25 VIP Designated Driver tickets are available.

The wine education classes offered in 30 minute segments by Wine Made Simple look very interesting! Wine Made Simple specializes in unique wines less than $20, wine education classes and special events.  The shop opened last year and is located at the Townside Center on Ivy Road in Charlottesville.  

Reading a Wine Label  – 2:30 

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no better place to start. The graphic designs, photography and illustrations on a wine label are the first thing to catch your eye, but they are the least important. The important stuff is all there on the label and you’ll learn how to discern the information that you will need to make an informed decision and find a wine that suits your palette.

Tasting and Describing Wine – 3:15

You don’t have to be a wine expert in order to taste and evaluate wine properly. We all have out personal tastes, but objective standards for determining the quality and character of wine are helpful. Learn the seven key characteristics of wine, and improve your tasting skills and descriptive vocabulary.

Old World vs. New World Winemaking – 4:00

The “Wine World” can be divided in two important poles: Old World Wines and New World Wines. Tradition and terroir in each style produces very different wines. For instance, New World vineyards are generally in hotter climates and the grapes tend to be riper, more alcoholic and full-bodied.

Pairing Wine with Food – 4:45

 You need not always heed traditional advice, i.e., white wine goes with white meat and vice versa. Wine and food from the same region are meant to be enjoyed together, remember….what grows together, goes together. Discover the general rules that will help you make the best pairings and impress your guests.

The Relevance of Price When Selecting Wine – 5:30

The selling price of a bottle of wine is not necessarily an indication of its quality or of its potential to be enjoyed. Understand the economic and marketing issues that underscore the prices we pay for the wine we drink, and the many sensibly priced and affordable wine options available.

Author Richard Leahy

I think this is really cool! Richard Leahy will be selling and autographing newly published copies of Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, a hardback book with over 200 pages detailing the history of Virginia wine since 1619 but focuses on the last decade, with visits to wineries statewide. I met Richard at the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference just prior to the book going to print. Hmmm, Mother’s Day Gift idea? Wink!

Proceeds will benefit Jeffersonian Wine Grape Grower’s Society.  Event sponsors: Brown Mercedes-Benz – NewsRadio 1070 WINA – C&O Restaurant – redstar Merchandise – Monticello Wine Trail.


$29 – Advance  $35 – Day of Event

$75 – VIP $25 – VIP Designated Driver ticket

$10 – Designated Driver ticket

$10 – Ages 13-20 Kids 12 and under FREE

Participating Wineries/Vineyards:

Wings Over Wine Country

Screech_Owl_Pignoli_Wildlife_Center_VirginiaThe Wildlife Center of Virginia had literally flown under my radar until recently. Via social media, my attention was called to the fundraiser “Wings Over Wine Country”.  Combining a love of wine and the beauty of the powerful raptors, Bill Sykes, Outreach Ambassador, brings the birds out to the wineries to promote interest and encourage contributions to the wildlife center. Prince Michel Winery and DuCard Vineyards have already played host to the charity this year.

As a child in Germany, we lived near a falconry and observed the Peregrine Falcons in action, hunting for food. The image has been imprinted in my brain for ages  and seeing these remarkable birds brought the whole experience back to life. Through friends, we were able to tour  one of the world’s leading teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. Bill (Sykes) guided us through the 5,700-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. It is fully equipped with gas anesthesia, critical care equipment, surgery, radiographic and fluoroscopic equipment, laboratory facilities, inside and outside holding areas, and flight cages. At any time there may be from 80 to 250 animals on the premises.

Treatment and Triage

Later we headed  outdoors to meet some of these amazing bird. The rehabilitation center cares for thousands of injured native wildlife. Animals unable to be released back into the wild can become educational animals or “Ambassadors” for the center.  starting with the diminutive Pignoli, the Eastern Screech Owl. She is pictured at the top of the page, showing us her one good eye and her striking russet colors.

Junior Golden Eagle Junior, the Golden Eagle, was very engaging and hopped over to a perch to greet us.  Junior will join Wildlife Center President and Co-Founder Ed Clark at Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood, Virginia for a very special event to benefit the Wildlife Center of Virginia on April 7th from 5-7 p.m. Tickets to this event are available through Pollak Vineyards for $25 per person.  Pollak Vineyards will donate $15 of every admission to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Grayson Broad Winged HawkGrayson is a fiercely beautiful Broad Winged Hawk  and regularly accompanies Bill on outings to the wineries and breweries.  She is one of the patients that was unable to be released back into the wild.  These rehabilitated  birds can become educational animals or “Ambassadors” for the center.

The program “Caring fo Critters” is a great way to educate children not only about the center, but how we as human beings impact wildlife in even small ways. Through this program, you can sponsor an animal and as part of the adoption packet you will receive:

  • The sponsored animal’s biography
  • A photo of the animal
  • Detailed information about the characteristic of the animal’s species, and
  • A personalized certificate of sponsorship

Several events have been scheduled this year so there will be many opportunities to learn about the animals and birds that have been rehabilitated at the center.

Wings Over Wine Country & Kickoff of National Parks Week Sunday, April 22, 2012, 2-6 PM Bill Sykes from the Virginia Wildlife Center will be here with live raptors –  hawks, owls and other ‘ambassadors’ and talk about their efforts to rehabilitate injured wildlife in Virginia.  There’s no charge for visiting the Shenandoah National Park during this Week, so it’ll be a great day to take a hike too.  Contributions welcome, with matching by DuCard.

Special thanks to Paulette Musselman for introducing me to Bill and of course, to Bill Sykes for the time he shared with us and his passion for these amazing birds.

Bill and Pignoli

An Evening at Pollak: Meet Ed Clark with Junior the Golden Eagle

Golden_Eagle_JuniorWednesday afternoon I had the special opportunity to meet Junior, the Golden Eagle, at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Courtesy of spokesperson, Bill Sykes, we had a wonderful tour of the facility and were able to see rescuers in action. I’ll post a separate entry about our visit, but wanted to get the word out about this upcoming event. If you’re a wildlife lover and wine lover, this is just the event to mark on your calendar. On Saturday, April 7th, from 5 to 7 PM, Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood, Virginia will host an evening event to benefit the Wildlife Center of Virginia, you must contact Pollak Winery to reserve tickets!
Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood, Virginia will host a very special event to benefit the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
The guests of honor will be Wildlife Center President and Co-Founder Ed Clark, and Junior the Golden Eagle. Tickets to this event are available through …Pollak Vineyards for $25 per person. Pollak Vineyards will donate $15 of every admission to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Admission will be limited to the first 200 people who purchase tickets, so please act fast if you would like to attend.
Call Pollak Vineyards at 540.456.8844 during normal business hours (11 AM to 5 PM Wednesday through Sunday) to reserve your spot and purchase tickets to this truly memorable event!

Early Bird Gets the DuCard

2012 VA Wine Expo Pre-Sale Special!
Planning on attending the Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond on Feb. 24-26? We have a deal for you! We will be offering ALL of our wines (including wines not being tasted at the Expo!) for a special 15% off discount if you order between now and noon on Thursday Feb. 23rd! Minimum purchase is two bottles. You can pick them up at our booth at the Expo and save on any shipping! Wines currently in stock include (see website for details:

–2010 Signature Viognier
–2010 Gibson Hollow White
–2009 Sweet Virginia Vidal Blanc
–2009 Cabernet Franc Vintner’s Reserve
–2009 Popham Run Red (Bordeaux blend)
–2009 Petit Verdot
–2010 Norton

To pre-order, simply email us at with your desired order, name, email address, and phone number and we’ll back with you to confirm your order and get your credit card info. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Looking forward to seeing you at the Expo! (

By the way, on display (and for sale) in the Tasting Room this month is the beautiful photography of local artisan, Carl Zitzmann ( Check it out!

Congrats to DuCard Vineyards for being a co-winner of the Virginia Green Travel Leader Award! Read about DuCard’s green efforts here (!

Thank you for your interest and support!


Co-Winner: Virginia Green Travel Leader Award

Open Friday – Sunday, plus holiday Mondays, 11 AM – 6 PM. And by appointment. Follow us on

Blue Ridge Oyster Festival Pairing with Blenheim Vineyards

 Last weekend my husband Bob and I met at Dave MatthewsBlenheim Vineyards with Nick Attaway, VP of Artist Development for Vagrant Records, formerly employed by RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT/ATO RECORDS, ARISTA.  Nick and his partner, Justin Billcheck are coordinating the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival, along with Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company and Cerberus Productions , benefitting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The event will be held in Nelson County, VA on the 21st of April, 2012. Looking forward to this since I missed it last year.

Our mission was to select a wine to be released in conjunction with the festival that pairs well with oysters.  Accompanying Nick was his wife, Dominique Attaway, a professional photographer and oenophile.  Nick arranged for us to do a barrel tasting with Blenheims’ winemaker, Kirsty Harmon.

I had visited Blenheim several times without prior notice, but never had the opportunity to meet Kirsty personally. Gracious and serious about her wines, it was apparent that she was determined to bottle wines with a clean crisp quality and not intended to win competitions just because they appealed to the judges. The three that we sampled were a 2011 Table White: 2/3 Viognier and 1/3 Chardonnay, a Rose: a blend of Cabernet, Mourvedre and Merlot all in stainless steel  and a Chardonnay with 25% aged in French, Hungarian and American oak barrels.

The Table White was crisp, vibrant and would pair well with oysters and seafood. The Chardonnay was creamier- nice with a minerality and not overly oaky, and the Rose ideal, chilled for sipping on a warm Spring day. I think it was pretty obvious which wine would be chosen and after some deliberation, it was the Table White.

If you want to see some excellent photography, check out Dominique’s website and some of the shots she captured. We had a similar vision but her pictures were certainly better than mine.

I think Kirsty’s personality came across as sweet, serious and humble, committed to quality and I look forward to her future wines.

I  noticed something that had eluded me on past visits to Blenheim, the diamond reflection from the ceiling of the tasting room floor to the barrel room.

I thought it was kind of cool! Thanks for the invitation to Blenheim!

Siips Wine Bar Closing Its Doors

FYI, they will still be open for Valentine’s Day but this is sad news for  at least some local wine lovers.


Siips Wine Bar Closing Its Doors
Siips Wine and Champagne Bar is closing its doors. The Downtown Mall restaurant has been purchased by a local restaurant owner who has plans to re-open it as a upscale supper club.
Posted: 9:25 PM Feb 8, 2012
Email Address:

February 8, 2012

Siips Wine and Champagne Bar is closing its doors after Sunday, Feb. 19, according to an email sent by owner George Benford’s wife, Patty.

The Downtown Mall restaurant has been purchased by an unnamed local restaurant owner who has plans to re-open it as a upscale supper club in the spring.

Since Siips’ wine inventory was not part of the sale, Benford says they will be selling wine by the glass at deep discounts starting this weekend.

“We want to thank you for all your support and friendship over the last four years. We also want to thank all our employees for all their hard work and the family atmos­phere they helped us create,” the email stated.

The restaurant’s schedule for weekend entertainment and Valentine’s Day Dinner will remain the same until it closes.

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Autumn Halloween Fun at Virginia Wineries

Haunt the Wineries this Halloween

October 22-23 — Pick of the Piedmont Fall Wine Festival: Twelve wineries will present their best at this new Orange County event. Beautiful autumn weather and the lure of music and fun will make this an unforgettable experience. Booster Park, 19046 Constitution Hwy, Orange VA
Fee: $12 Advance/$20 At the Gate Time: Sat 11 am-6pm/Sun 11am-5pm Phone Number: 540-672-1653

▪                                        October 22 – 23 — Fall Foliage Open House at Hill Top Berry Farm 
Celebration: Taste ‘True to the Fruit’ wines and authentic Honey Meads at our Fall Foliage Open House. We will be pairing them with samples of food. We will also have samples of our gourmet Irish and Scottish gift shop items available to taste. Come enjoy a fall day while sipping on hot mulled wine in your rocking chair by the fire. 2800 Berry Hill Road, Nellysford VA
Fee: Free Time: 11am – 5pm Phone Number: 434-361-1266

▪                                        October 22 — Fall Treats with Foggy Ridge Cider 
Fall in an apple orchard couldn’t be better. Sample cider and mead paired with tasty seasonal treat at Foggy Ridge and nearby neighbor Blacksnake Meadery. Fee fee covers tastings and food pairings at both locations. 1328 Pineview Road, Dugspur VA 24325
Fee: $5 Time: 11am to 5pm Phone Number: 276-398-2337

▪                                        October 22 — Ingleside Vineyards Harvest Celebration 
Celebration: See winemaking demonstrations, tour the vineyards and winery and enjoy artwork, crafts, exhibits and delicious food. Sit in the courtyard and relax (or dance) while listening to live music and sipping wine. Includes tour, tasting, Ingleside wine glass and live music. Food available or bring a picnic. 5872 Leedstown Road, Oak Grove VA
Fee: $10 Advance/$15 At the Gate Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Phone Number: 804-224-8687

▪                                        October 22 — Powhatan’s Festival of the Grape
 Festival: Experience the excellence of Virginia wineries at Powhatan’s historic Courthouse square. A festival for family fun, tastings of Virginia’s finest wines, delicious food, continuous live music and entertainment and arts and crafts. Powhatan Courthouse, 3880 Old Buckingham Road, Powhatan VA
Fee: Call for information Time: Call for information Phone Number: 804-598-2636

▪                                        October 22 – 23 — Taste of the Alpines Weekend 
Celebration: Taste of German, Austrian and Swiss wines and light food fares. Please email or call for reservations. We are taking reservations every 1/2 hour starting at noon and ending at 3:30pm, both days. 38906 Mt. Gilead Road, Leesburg VA
Fee: $15 Time: 12pm-4pm Phone Number: 703-777-8161

▪                                        October 22 — Wine & Cheese Fondue Alfresco at Veramar Vineyard 
Wine & Food Education: Fondue parties are back in style. What better way to spend an afternoon, then with friends, wine and cheese? This event will be outside under the gazebo. Ooh – all that warm, oozy cheese, served in a fondue pot. Fee per person, includes glass of wine and cheese fondue plate. Reservations are required. 905 Quarry Road, Berryville VA 22611
Fee: $15 Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Phone Number: 540-955-5510

▪                                        October 22 – 23 — Barrel Tasting at Autumn Hill Vineyard
 Wine Education: Barrel samples and tasting of newly fermented 2011 wines. Vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon vintages in addition to a cellar tour. Savor our full range of wines and enjoy the spectacular fall foliage. Fee includes glass and delicious homemade soup and wine tasting. No sweet wines here! No reservations required. Rain or Shine. Picnics welcome. Cellar tours at 1:15, 2:30 and 3:45. 301 River Drive, Stanardsville VA
Fee: $7 Time: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Phone Number: 434-985-6100

▪                                        October 25 — Barrel Tasting with the Winemaker
 Wine Education: Join the winemaker at 1pm in the Barrel Room for a tasting, tour and appetizers. $30/person. Must call for reservations by October 18th. 6011 E Timber Ridge Road, Harrisonburg, VA
Fee: $30/person Time: 1pm Phone Number: 540-234-0505

▪                                        October 28 — Mad Hatters Halloween Party 
 Celebration: Dress for the occasion and enter to win the best costume, best group and best carved pumpkin contests. Includes heavy appetizers and dancing with DJ Rick Rowe. Get dressed, grab your carved pumpkin and celebrate Halloween with CrossKeys Vineyards. 6011 East 11pm Timber Ridge Road, Mt. Crawford VA
Fee: $40 Time: 7pm-Phone Number: 540-234-0505

▪                                        October 28 — Haunting Halloween Madness at Lake Anna Winery 
Celebration: Costumes, music, and food outline this scary Friday night in the vineyard. Dance into the night to the tunes of “String Kings.” Pumpkin carving, Roast marshmallows and Wieners by the bon fire, wine tasting, and tours. 5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania VA 22551
Fee: $10 Time: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Phone Number: 540-895-5085

▪                                        October 29-30 — Autumn Barrel Tasting at Barboursville 
Wine Education: Welcome to a much-enhanced tasting, focusing on valuable older vintages, along with our traditional sampling of new Octagon from barrel. Caromont Farm will present award-winning artisan cheeses and fresh breads from Palladio Restaurant will refresh the palate. No reservations required. 17655 Winery Road, Barboursville, VA 22923
Fee: $25 Time: 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Phone Number: 540-832-3824

▪                                        October 29 — Chesapeake Virginia Wine Festival 
Festival: Fabulous wines from around the world and produced by Virginia wineries will be available for tasting, as well as foods from the regions finest restaurants. Entertainment will be provided by Lewis McGehee. Sponsored by the Chesapeake Rotary and this is their largest fund raising event. Chesapeake City Park, 900 Greenbrier Pkwy, Chesapeake VA
Fee: $30 Advance/$35 At the Gate Time: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Phone Number: (757) 573.8940

▪                                        October 29 — Halloween at Tomahawk Mill Winery 
Celebration: Our Halloween in the haunted Grist Mill includes readings from Edgar Allen Poe. Wine and gourmet food will be served for this adults-only event. Reservations required. 9221 Anderson Mill Road, Chatham VA
Fee: $20 Time: 7 p.m. Phone Number: 434-432-1063

▪                                        October 29 — Harvest Festival at Hartwood Winery 
Celebration: Join Hartwood Winery and guest Rogers Ford Winery to sample the harvested fruits of the vine and usher in the winter air. Enjoy hayrides, scarecrow-making, games, pony rides, live music, food and more! Kids will love this outdoor event. And the best part is, children get in free! Fee includes a special event glass. 345 Hartwood Road, Fredericksburg VA
Fee: $15 Adults Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Phone Number: 540-752-4893

▪                                        October 29 — A Fright Night Wine Dinner 
Wine & Food Education: Join us for a Fright Night Wine Dinner. Reservations are required. Ages 21 and over only. Winery at La Grange, 4970 Antioch Road, Haymarket VA
Fee: $99 per person, all inclusive Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm Phone Number: 703-753-9360

▪                                        October 29-30 — Oyster Roast at Cardinal Point
 Celebration: Live music and plenty of oysters from our friends at Rappahannock River Oyster Company! Live music on Saturday from The Cashmere Jungle Lords (surfability rock at its best) and Sunday The Atkisons (roots rock from Richmond VA). Cover charge includes wine glass and free wine tasting; it does NOT include wine to fill your glass or oysters. 9423 Batesville Road, Afton VA
Fee: $8 Advance/$10 At the Door/$5 Case Club Members Time: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Phone Number: 540-456-8400

▪                                      ♥ My Favorite Pick for a Boootiful Halloween Celebration: Glass House Winery South American melodies in our “terrifyingly tropical paradise.” Costumed guests are highly encouraged – creativity will be rewarded! Extra points if you don tropical/jungle themed threads. And if you are stumped for ideas or come unprepared, not to worry, Madeline and Humberto (of Beleza) will be supplying a box of extra costumes at the door. Light fare will be provided for a suggested donation.

Wining the Potomac

It’s Harvest time in Virginia and there are loads of fun things to do, see and taste!  I loved the idea in the following article combining a unique venue, education and excellent wines!  A win-win for wine lovers!  Check it out if  you would like to enjoy a unique Happy Hour on the Potomac!  It looks like it would be fun and a beautiful time of year to be on the river in D.C.  Somebody please go and let me know how it was!

By the way, this photo has nothing to do with the cruise below, but my friend Paulette Musselman shot this during harvest at Glass House Winery in Free Union and I loved it!  Thanks, Paulette for sharing!

Set Sail for Virginia Wine Month With Washington Wine Academy Cruises

http://w w w ine-month-w ith-w ashington-w ine-academy-cruises-2/ October 9, 2011

The Washington Wine Academy is celebrating Virginia Wine Month by bringing vino from ten vineyards a little closer to DC.

The Academy is hosting a series of cruises featuring 25 wines — about a dozen will be served during each cruise — from Rappahannock Cellars, Boxwood Winery, Breaux Vineyards, Pearmund Cellars, Linden Vineyards, Winery at La Grange, Barboursville Vineyard, Ingleside, Vint Hill Craft Winery and Whitehall Vineyard. Cheese from Cabot Creamery, as well as artisan Virginia snacks such as ham and peanuts, will also be served.

The Friday cruises will leave from Gangplank Marina in Washington DC on 700 Water St. SW, and spend 90 minutes on the Potomac River. Each trip will be capped at about 140 guests, and organizers expect a number of sell-outs.

“We really enjoy the wine from the vineyards we invited. Education is key. Virginia wine isn’t the same now as it was even a few years ago, and we’re happy to be able to demonstrate that to the attendees,” Washington Wine Academy’s Kellie Shevlin said.

The opportunity is a welcome one for wineries looking to forge a stronger presence inside the Beltway. John Delmare, owner of Rappahannock Cellars, located more than an hour outside of DC in Huntly, VA said the biggest draw was being able to showcase his wine to consumers in the core of his target region: DC.

“We don’t have that opportunity often,” Delmare said.

“We are seeing amazing growth in the recognition of Virginia wines as a real “player” in the national wine landscape,” said Chris Pearmund, Executive Winemaker at three of the featured wineries — Vint Hill, The Winery at La Grange and Pearmund Cellars.

“The cruises are a great way to bring Virginia wine to DC, so those that might not venture out to the wine country can get a taste of the amazing wine our industry is producing,” he added.

Vint Hill co-owner Lance Heflin said his craft winery plans to feature products made by its amateur vintners as well as bottles from its professional portfolio including Enigma, a red blend whose name reflects the roots of Vint Hill’s Warrenton location. The barn where its wine is made was once home to the original NSA.

Back-to-back warm summers precipitated bumper crops for many Virginia vineyards, although the heavy rains of early September may knock those numbers down in some locations. Delamare said the sunny summer boosted Rappahannock’s Merlot yield, which will be released as a single varietal next year alongside a “fizzy” rosé made from a blend of red grape varieties.

For other winemakers, the draw is the cruises’ unique venue.

“I sincerely think that when wine is enjoyed in the right surrounding, atmosphere, landscape and with friends, it is elevated to a much higher purpose and is greatly appreciated,” said Barboursvillewinemaker Luca Paschina. “I believe that is going to happen on these cruises. That is why I chose to participate.”

Boxwood‘s Rachel Martin said that her vineyard jumped at the opportunity to get in front of more local wine consumers.

“Our wines are not cheap, but the vineyard has a rich history,” she said. Boxwood, whose winemaking operation is a National Historic Landmark in Middleburg, VA will be featuring its dry rosé and Topiary Red, which is a Cabernet Franc-heavy blend.

“It’s important to get people on board with regional products, and that includes wine. As long as the quality is there, you should enjoy it.”

The cruises will be held October 7, 14, 21 and 28 departing at at 6:30 and 8:30 pm from the Gangplank Marina in DC. Tickets are $55.00 per person. Register online at

Inaugural DC Wine Week

In September, wine blog the Daily Sip reported that DC led the nation in wine consumption in 2009 at 6.6 gallons per capita. This month, local oenophiles will gather to show why DC is number one in vino.

DCeventjunkie & Pivot Point Communications are planning a celebration of all things wine — from restaurant and bar specials, wine-pairing menus to wine-themed events — to be held October 15 to 22. Education seminars and events around the DMV region will also feature selections from local wineries. Updates can be found on Facebook at and the DC Wine Week website.

DC Wine Week: Oct. 15 -22;; Twitter @DCWineWeek.