Stinson Vineyards: A Family Favorite

StinsonVineyards_Tailgate_ThursdaysWeather forecast on 4th of July: good chance of rain and upper 80’s, almost didn’t leave the house, who needs another muggy day…change of plans and headed to Western Albemarle county…best decision ever!

I hadn’t been back to Stinson Vineyards in quite a while, actually since they were completing their “new” tasting room ( in 2011!) for a wine blending class with Matthieu Finot. Way too long!StinsonVineyards_View

Since we’re real estate agents and sometimes find carving out personal time difficult, we tend towards spontaneity. This spontaneous choice found us on the patio at Stinson, overlooking ripening vineyards and the bucolic valley below the Blue Ridge Mountain skyline. Listening to Charlottesville’s own homegrown New Orleans style jazz band of Chickenhead Blues completed the experience. Recently the musicians have been discovered in New Orleans and a majority of their scheduled gigs are now in Cajun country.

As far as selecting wine, we chose the 2012 Meritage, which would have been perfect on a cooler day or in the evening with a steak, but in accordance with the warmish weather we moved on to the Sauvignon Blanc. I now have a new favorite Virginia wine and since have encountered other wine lovers who feel the same. Father and daughter winemakers, Scott and Rachel Stinson have invested in, not one, but two concrete eggs to ferment wine in and this wine is done in a combination of stainless steel and the concrete egg, achieving  a delicious grapefruity, white peach flavor followed by a mineral finish for a refreshing result. The concrete egg is a whole other storyStinson Vineyards Concrete Egg Fermentation

It’s been on my calendar to make it for their  Tailgate Thursday nights event held weekly until September 3rd, and we’re running out of time to take advantage of the TWO Big Green Eggs and Weber grill. Bring your own meat for grilling, grab a blanket or chairs and picnic in a family, dog friendly venue and kick off the weekend early. No time for grocery shopping? Local meat from The Rock Barn and Free Union Grass Farm can be purchased and thawed by calling ahead.IMG_5413 Now, pick your favorite wine to pair and it’s a cookout. Can’t get too much easier than that.

” 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). 

Virginia Winery Music Events Fall 2014

IMG_3735Cool weather is around the corner and Autumn is  always a busy time around the grapevines. Harvest speaks to our soul and smells of burning leaves and pumpkin patches;  cinnamon and juicy fallen apples perfume the air. It draws us out of air-conditioned homes and cars to reconnect with the earth.  I thought it might be nice to share some of the upcoming events ( certainly not all) that might piqué your interest.

Grace_Estate_Winery_Entrance_Crozet_Virginia
Grace Estate

Music at the Vineyards

Grace Estate Winery is one of our newer wineries with older vineyards and widespread views across western Albemarle County. Located nearer  the White Hall area in Crozet on the Mount Juliet Farm, music this Friday begins at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with Hot Twang and catered by Kitchen Catering

September 5th (Friday): 6-9 pm
Abbey Road “Unplugged” The Beatles Tribute Band

Abbey Road “Unplugged” will be performing in our Friday night sunset series, with their acoustic 395348_328889153823381_157852272_nBeatles melodies, Check them out here! Bring a chair, a picnic blanket, or come early and grab a table and enjoy some classic southern style soul food, award-winning wines, and awesome Beatles tunes while the sun sets over the vineyard.

Foodtruck service by: Black Jack’s Mobile Soul Food

Beleza_Brasil_Glass_House_WinerySinger Songwriter Event Benefitting The Wildlife Center of Virginia at  Glass House Winery  is coming soon, meet some of the winged raptor ambassadors from the Wildlife Center and listen to the music of  ‘2 Wishes’ – Joy Kuhar and Mike D’Antoni and musicians
Genna Mathew,  John Kelly  and Justin Storer. Event begins at 6 p.m. and donations of $10 is suggested but any amount is appreciated.

With so many wonderful wineries in the Charlottesville area, you may want to plan ahead so you don’t miss some of your favorite musicians this Fall.  Sippin into Sunset at Early Mountain Vineyards has managed to secure Beleza Brasil, my favorite duo for Samba style soulful music, for two different dates in September.

Sunsets at Carter Mountain have been playing music every Thursday evening 6-9 p.m. since May 15th and will continue until the end of September. Look for Lockjaw, a band of local dentists who perform together, and The Local Vocals, an acoustic trio, each member with a long history in the Charlottesville area.

starrynightsseptember14On Saturday, September 13th, 2014, 7-11 pm come on out to Veritas for the last of the Starry Nights for 2014 with The Hackensaw Boys – Raucous Bluegrass
Opening: Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees 
Click Here to Make Reservations

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Helpful tip: Bring warm blankets, temps can drop quickly, and seating is harder to come by so bring those camp chairs. Picnics are encouraged but not inside the wineries. I did this once, not cool, they were quite nice about it 🙂

EMV Movie Night

A new way of going to the movies, kind of like going to camp or the drive-in, pack up your lawn chair and Early Mountain Vineyards provides a bag of popcorn and it’s cheaper than the theater. Tickets are $6 and you can reserve on-line. The feature will be The Sandlot and    September 25th is usually exquisite weather for kicking back outdoors with a glass of your favorite cool season robust red, perhaps the 2012 Eluvium Cabernet Sauvignon?

 

This should be a good start to fill up your September calendars, look for more venues next week in my Weekend Picks off the Vine post.

 

Another Vineyard in Charlottesville: Vineyard Vines!

Charlottesville_is_for_Whale_LoversEvery day should feel this good.”  The well known slogan of Vineyard Vines was apparent at the grand opening of one their newest nautically themed locations in Charlottesville and it felt really good!  The VV concept is to have their  clothing and accessories conjure an image of “enjoying the finer things in life,  the things people love to do and dream about doing”. Founded in 1998 on Martha’s Vineyard by Shep and Ian Murray, the Connecticut raised brothers left the Manhattan corporate world to make “ties for others so [they] didn’t have to wear them”. Starting their business on an accrued debt of $40,000 , Shep and Ian have managed to turn the small business into a thriving American company with over 28 stores and affiliations with the NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball not to mention colleges and universities. Nautically appointed,  their stores display Vineyard Vines memorabilia, sailing gear and an “all hands on deck” sales counter set below a teak sailing yacht ceiling and the backdrop of a ship’s cabin.

Vineyard_Vines_CharlottesvilleThe two brothers have become icons in the world of “haute-prep” and customers have a tradition of  bringing in their old Vineyard Vines ties to be autographed.  I like to think that Nolan Ross, the fashionably-preppy attired Hamptonite  on the ABC TV series Revenge , shops at one of the original VV stores in New England.  The same signature “fun” atmosphere Ian & Shep have injected into their retail stores  permeated last Thursday evening’s event as popped-collared customers socialized, shopped and in keeping with the “vineyard flair” sipped glasses of Pippin Hill Chardonnay and Merlot while sampling carried trays of hors de oeuvres.  Side note: I’m sure there has been more than one bridal party at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard (a premier destination wedding venue near Charlottesville) to don Vineyard Vines accessories.

Pippin_Hill_Vineyard_Vines One could almost smell the salty air of the Vineyard as corn hole toss games played at the entrance, photo ops flashed with Ian & Shep, and a duo performed live summer themed music at the door.

Vineyard_Vines_Cornhole_GameThe successful evening ended as smiling shoppers left with whale embroidered ball caps and  bags of whimsically colored clothing while Shep was noticed generously giving away merchandise to future young customers!  I spoke later with  Deborah Kahn and Hannah Nolan, both who love being a part of the new Vineyard Vines team, plus modeling the latest outfits for the Fall/Winter season.  Their enthusiasm for the management style of the company as well as the quality products made me want to join the team as well.  I’d have the best Christmas gifts to give, like the new ties with holly berries or candy canes or even lobsters with antlers….are you smiling yet?  If not, pop into the store, you will be =)

                        I recommend checking out the Vineyard Vines blog too!

Vineyard_Vines_BrothersVirginia_is_for_Whale_Lovers

Lessons Learned at a Wine Bloggers Conference

Sip often!

Spit just as often!

Listen, listen, listen!

Sit next to knowledgeable people and listen more!

Remember where you leave your shoes! Yes, I lost a pair of my favorite heels when I switched to my black Reefs!

Wear comfortable shoes, no one can see your shoes below the tablecloth!  Works for a formal dinner where everyone has been drinking all day!

Walking barefoot on the West Lawn at Monticello made me wonder if  Thomas Jefferson had done the same on a hot summer evening!  Definitely cooler barefoot in the grass!

When it’s super hot, a glass of  icy cold water is preferable to any Gold medal winning wine!  MAYBE a very nicely chilled Virginia Viognier…

Don’t stand behind someone at the tasting bar when sampling a Cab Franc or Petit Verdot!

Wine Away works well except when used with a cute colorful napkin from Greenwood Grocery!  My camisole went from a deep burgundy stain to an olive green smudge (was white!).

I’m very proud of Charlottesville, our local wineries, the downtown mall, and Virginia Wine!  Job well done!

Where Should I Take My Guests over Thanksgiving Weekend?

Grape Friday instead of Black Friday!

Well, now that you asked, may I make some recommendations?   North, South, East or West , Central Virginia is the best…for vineyard views and wine tasting with friends and family, that is!   Plus, you can get some early Christmas shopping done.  Send me a description of the personality of your guests and how much time you have to devote to sight-seeing and I can customize an itinerary for you this holiday season!

Visiting three wineries around Charlottesville is a reasonable number to visit in one day.  More can be seen but you really lose in quality time and experiencing the charm of each winery. The vineyards are spread just a little too far apart  and you need to make allowances  for driving time. 

If you have time for only one winery I would suggest Barboursville Winery. Located  on the north side of Charlottesville,  Barboursville Vineyards  is a must do  for several reasons.  Notable for their award-winning Octagon wine and Palladio, their 5 Star restaurant;  Barboursville rates very high on my list as a first class wine tasting and dining  experience. They are wonderful at handling a large number of visitors and have an expansive tasting room for groups to spread out.  

The price of wine tasting can’t be beat!  For 5 dollars you can taste 15 -20 wines and keep the inscribed glass as a souvenir. If you return, bring your glass and the fee is only 3 dollars!  Step inside and go to the register on your right to get started.  The fireplace separates the tasting area from the gift shop so you can browse while waiting for a spot to slip into at the bar . Take a walk down to the ruins of the estate house, one of only three homes designed for his friends by Thomas Jefferson. It burned Christmas of 1884 and until recently was used as a backdrop for Shakespearian plays! 

Barboursville is closed for Thanksgiving Day.   From Charlottesville and South: Go East from Charlottesville on Route 250 (bypass), to Route 20 North, “The Constitution Highway,” proceeding 16 miles northeast. Barboursville Vineyards will be visible on your right, turn as directed by the signs into Route 678 to the estate.