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Cassoulet with Oyster Mushrooms Recipe


October 30, 2019 | Ivy Publications

The former Blackthorne Inn in Upperville, Virginia, is currently in the process of being reimagined by Easton Porter Group, who bought the property in 2016. Projected to open in 2021, the inn promises to become a place of relaxation, refreshment, and inspiration. Organic gardens are being developed in order to supply the property with the freshest produce, herbs, and flowers—a signature priority of Easton Porter Group. Additional goods and ingredients will be sourced from local vendors and purveyors. This farm-to-table and local sourcing initiative can be seen in practice at other properties under the group, including Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.

Ahead of the inn’s reopening, we asked the group to share a few dishes similar to those we can expect the inn’s restaurant and pub to be serving. In the coming months, we will be sharing a few of these delectable recipes that encapsulate Easton Porter Group’s commitment to gourmet and locally-sourced fare, as we eagerly await the inn’s official menu debut in 2021. Enjoy!

Cassoulet with Oyster Mushrooms

By Ian Rynecki  – Corporate Executive Chef – Easton Porter Group

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound                      Tarbais beans, dry (or cannellini)
  • 3 tablespoons             Salt
  • 6 ounces                     Slab bacon, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 pound                       Boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1 pound                       Fresh pork sausage, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 each                         Onion, large, finely diced 
  • .5 pound                      Oyster mushrooms, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 each                         Cloves
  • 2 each                         Bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs                       Thyme
  • 4 sprigs                       Parsley
  • As needed                   Butcher’s twine
  • 1 each                         Carrot, peeled, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 2 stalks                        Celery, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 1-2 each                      Cloves elephant garlic
  • 1  28 –ounce can        Peeled tomatoes
  • 1 quart                         Chicken stock, plus more as needed to rehydrate
  • 4 pieces                       Duck confit, cleaned into large chunks, bones reserved

Procedure:

To begin, cover beans with 3-quarts water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse the beans, set aside.

Using a wide stainless steel pot, sear the bacon over low heat, rendering out the bacon fat, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan. Sear the pork shoulder in the same pan, cook for 5 minutes until the pork begins to brown. Flip over and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Sear the sausage, cut side down, for about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove sausage from the pot and set aside with the remainder of the cooked meat.          

Add onions and mushrooms to pot and cook for 5 minutes. Tie the clove, bay leaf, thyme and parsley together using butcher’s twine. Add the bundle to a pot with drained beans, carrot, celery, garlic, tomato product and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce to low, cover pot and cook until beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove the aromatics (carrots, celery, bay leaf, clove, and parsley mixture). Add bacon, pork shoulder, duck confit, and sausage to pot, stir. Transfer to a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven and cook, uncovered, until a thin crust forms on top, about 2 hours, adding more chicken stock as needed. Continue to cook for an additional 2 hours, until a nice brown crust has formed on the top.


And what is any meal without its complementing wine? Corporate Executive Chef Ian Rynecki recommends pairing this dish with Easton Blue from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, noting “In this dish the earthy mushrooms demand a fruit-forward tannic wine like our Easton Blue.” 

Photos by Kate Greer, Courtesy of Easton Porter Group

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

10 Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Virginia


October 23, 2019 | Ivy Publications

We may be biased, but fall in Virginia is pretty magical. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, when the leaves start changing, it’s hard to stay indoors. Luckily, there are many activities that are best enjoyed in the crisp Virginia air.

Apple Picking: Apples always taste better when you pick them yourself. With local orchards like Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Dickie Brothers Orchard in Roseland and Drumheller’s Orchard in Lovingston, you can pick your own peck … and bake a delicious apple pie when you’re done.

Annual Festivals: Besides the impending holiday season, there is much to celebrate in the fall. Check out the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, attend one of the several Oyster Festivals across the state, or enjoy a beer at any Oktoberfest celebration.

The Charlottesville Downtown Mall: With its abundance of delicious dives and plenty of outdoor seating, the Downtown Mall, one of the longest pedestrian malls in the country, is the perfect place to spend an afternoon and enjoy the fresh fall air while you dine. Plus, you can enjoy shopping at unique boutiques, visiting art galleries or even catching a show at one of the venues or theaters.

Photo by Jennifer Jones

Excursions: In between summer vacations and holiday traveling, it can be nice to steal a quick weekend excursion with friends and family, and Virginia offers plenty of outdoor fun. Go for a trip on the James River or visit a vineyard for a horseback ride through the fields with a tour company like the Indian Summer Guide Service.

Photo by Aaron Watson Photography

Harvest Dinners & Seasonal Feasts: Why wait until Thanksgiving to share a delicious meal with loved ones? Harvest season means bountiful, savory meals featuring locally sourced food. One regional favorite is Barboursville Vineyard’s’ Truffle Feast!

Horse Races: Virginia’s horse races offer something exciting for all ages. You can place your bets and show off your Sunday best while cheering on the horses at The Foxfield Races, The International Gold Cup or the Montpelier Hunt Races.

Leaf Peeping: Capture the most beautiful part of the season as the leaves change colors. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry’s fall foliage reports, we are in peak leaf-peeping season. Go for a bike ride through the mountains, or coast down Skyline Drive to stop at an overlook and take in the scenery. The Shenandoah National Park offers plenty of local hikes and trails for all skill levels to soak in the rich colors.

Photo by Jennifer Jones

Local Markets: Score some fun fall finds at a local market. Enjoy the brisk morning air at markets like the Old Town Farmers Market in Alexandria (the oldest farmers market in the country) and Charlottesville City Market (voted the top farmers market in the Southeast in the American Farmland Trust’s 2019 Farmers Market Celebration), and pick up some seasonal produce, artisan jewelry or some warm freshly made food from local vendors.

UVA Football Games: Fall means tailgating season. Take your corn hole set to Grounds as you cheer on the Cavaliers. There are plenty of local restaurants, breweries and boutiques that offer all your tailgating essentials this season, such as the Wine & Country Shop. Just don’t forget your orange and blue!

Photography: Sera Petras Photography | Styling: Marisa Vrooman of Orpha Events | Venue: Alumni Hall, UVA | Catering: The Local | Desserts: Kilwins & Paradox Pastry | Beverages: The Bitty Bar, Valley Road Vineyards & Bold Rock Cider | Rentals: Orpha Events & Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop| Florals: Tourterelle Floral Design | Sunglasses: Primary Eyecare | Jewelry: Andrew Minton Jewelers | Makeup and Hair Styling: A More Beautiful You | Transportation: Mercedes-Benz of Charlottesville

Vineyard Outings & Picnics: With harvest season upon us, it’s a great time to visit local vineyards. The weather is nice and the wine is fresh! Make a day of it and pack a picnic for lunch. You can catch a stunning sunset at one of the picturesque locations in Virginia’s wine country.

Photos: Rachel May Photography | Venue: Barboursville Vineyards | Clothing: Verdigris & Brooks Brothers | Ring: Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry | Hair: Brianna B. Adams | Makeup: Gohar Makeup | Female Model: Noelle S., Modelogic | Male Model: Patrick K., Modelogic

No matter how you choose to celebrate, fall is the perfect season to explore our beautiful state. From apples to oysters and horses to ‘Hoos, autumn in Virginia has something for everyone.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Celebrating the Oyster: Virginias Historic Food Tradition


October 16, 2019 | Ivy Publications

By Brian Mellott

Across the nation, we are seeing a resurgence of oyster sales and of the local oyster bar. In Charlottesville alone, we find raw oyster bars, like Public Fish & Oyster. In addition, we can attend annual oyster roasts and festivals and we can go to dozens of other restaurants serving oysters that come from right here in Virginia. With the success of the farm-to-table movement in the state over the past decade, it’s no surprise that residents are also becoming more and more interested in where their shellfish come from. In the same way that we have started to turn to local farms for our land-based foods, more and more, the demand for oysters has been met, and not by large companies, but by small farms often with just a few employees and much more open to receiving visitors. That is how I came to find myself standing on a small dock in Topping, Virginia. This is the home of Rappahannock Oyster Company, a business that not only produces some of the best oysters I’ve ever tasted but also is on the forefront of saving the nearly endangered Bay oyster, reviving Virginia’s oyster industry, and helping to clean and revitalize the Chesapeake Bay.

With Virginia being a coastal state, oysters have been a part of Virginia’s food culture since its earliest days. Native Americans dined on them before European settlers arrived on the shores. Governor George Percy, in his days of exploration with John Smith, wrote in his 1607 journal that “oysters … lay on the ground as thick as stones.” The streets of Colonial Williamsburg are paved with crushed oyster shells and the mortar for the brick buildings of the day came from oyster shells as well. Even Thomas Jefferson couldn’t get enough of them. According to author James Gabler, Jefferson once polished off 50 oysters himself in a single sitting.

By the late 1800s, Virginia was supplying nearly half of the world demand for oysters, upwards of 20 million bushels of oysters each year. It was around this time that James Croxton laid claim to two acres of Rappahannock river bottom and founded the Rappahannock Oyster Company. By 2001, harvests of Bay oysters were down to less than 1 percent of their historic highs. Over-harvesting and dredging had destroyed not only the oyster population but also the oyster reefs, where spat attach and grow, and which protect shorelines and fish alike. Virginia’s native oyster, Crassotrea virginica, was on the brink of being added to the endangered species list. This seemed like the most unlikely time for cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton to take over their great-grandfather’s business, yet they saw it as a great opportunity to carry on the family legacy.

Over the past 10 years, Rappahannock Oysters has grown from harvesting 10,000 oysters a week to over 180,000 oysters each week, all while maintaining its commitment to help restore the wild oyster population and to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. They use practices from all over the world, information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a lot of Google searches to produce the best, most sustainable product available. The cousins now ship oysters to restaurants around the country, including the famous Le Bernardin in New York City. They help to plan events at wineries and other locations across Central Virginia and run restaurants of their own.

And what better way to enjoy such fresh cuisine than with amazing wine. The classic wine pairing for oysters is a French Muscadet. Its light, crisp acidity allows the oyster to shine. When eating Virginia oysters, though, pairing them with something from Virginia only seems fitting. In 2015, The Virginia Oyster Trail was established to celebrate not only the eight distinct regional flavors of Virginia’s oysters but also the wineries, breweries, farmers markets and, especially, the oyster farmers, themselves, who help visitors truly “experience” the simple oyster.

Just as I learned so much that morning on the Chesapeake Bay, I couldn’t help but be impressed by something so simple, yet so pure. And sitting at the Virginia shoreline eating a Virginia oyster (Angels on Horseback) topped with Virginia ham and drinking a Virginia wine, I couldn’t have been more proud to be a Virginian.

Mellot’s Oyster Pairing Recommendations:

  • Rappahannock’s Olde Salts
    • Taste: A bold brininess due to its closeness to the sea; One of the saltiest oysters.
    • Pair With: A dry Viognier
  • Rappahannock River oysters
    • Taste: Sweet and buttery with a mild saltiness
    • Pair With: Buttery Chardonnays
  • Mobjack Bay’s Stingrays
    • Taste: Sweet and mildly briny
    • Pair With: IPA Beer
  • York River’s Rochambeaus
    • Taste: Mildly sweet and mildly briny
    • Pair With: IPA Beer

Ready to enjoy some oysters yourself? Autumn in Virginia means the beginning of oyster festival season which generally begins in September and continues through December, following the oyster harvest on Virginia’s coast, which began on October 1 this year. Several Virginia vineyards celebrate harvest season with oyster-inspired festivals, like Early Mountain Vineyards’ Fall Oyster Festival this weekend. Also this weekend, Breaux Vineyards is partnering with King Street Oyster Bar for a Harvest Celebration. Later this fall, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery will host their 16th Annual Oyster Roast on November 9 and 10.

You can also learn more about the Rappahannock Oyster Company in Wine & Country Life, Book Five.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Palladio Restaurant Celebrates 20th with Food and Wine Gala


October 10, 2019 | Ivy Publications

On Saturday, October 5, Wine & Country was pleased to join Barboursville Vineyards in celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Palladio Restaurant at a spectacular gala held at the foot of the historic Barboursville Ruins. Established in 1999 under the leadership of native Italians Luca Paschina (winemaker) and Gianni Zonin (founder), Palladio has long been hailed as one of our region’s finest restaurants with a strong commitment to excellent cuisine paired with the beautiful wines of Barboursville Vineyards.

On the evening of the gala, guests were treated to delicious food and some of the best vintages Barboursville Vineyards has produced to date. Poured alongside appetizers was the 1994 Barboursville Anniversary Brut as well as the 2018 Allegrante Rose. Seen above at right, winemaker Luca Paschina welcomed viticulturist and winemaker Gabriele Rausse (on left) for an evening of fine wine and cuisine. Rausse, who is a childhood friend of founder Zonin from back in Italy and fellow viticulturist, helped Zonin establish the Barboursville Vineyards in the first five years of its existence from 1976 to 1981. Once established, Rausse went on to help establish well over 100 vineyards in Virginia, earning him the title “Father of Virginia’s Vineyards.”

Executive Chef Spencer Crawford (seen below on left) stepped out of the kitchen momentarily to welcome esteemed Chef Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington to the gala. Adding to many accolades throughout his career, Chef O’Connell was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the James Beard Foundation earlier this year, and he enjoys offering Barboursville’s Octagon at his much celebrated restaurant.

Just before sitting down to dine, Zonin joined his son Francesco Zonin (seen above) and Paschina. Francesco, alongside his two brothers, Domenico and Michele, accepted the executive duties of Barboursville Vineyards in 2017, leading the way into a new generation of Zonins.

When guests were seated, Paschina welcomed them with a short speech. “When we began developing Octagon in the late 1990s, we felt it should be paired with good food,” he said. “And so, we opened Palladio in 1999 to do just that. Now, here we are, 20 years later, and I can say that I am very proud to be a part of all we have accomplished.”

The first course began with Sommelier Alessandro Medici pouring a 2006 Viognier Reserve to pair with a beautiful North Carolina yellowfin tuna cured in Castello di Albola extra virgin olive oil and wrapped in roasted peppers. Next, guests enjoyed the Nebbiolo Reserve 2014 paired with a luscious parmigiano reggiano flan, West Virginia lagotto truffles and Barboursville farm-raised Berkshire coppa.

Medici then began decanting three prized reds from the winery’s library vaults: the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1998 from Double Magnums, the Octagon Fourth Edition 1999 (the year Palladio opened) and the Octagon 200th Anniversary Edition 2010. The sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon paired beautifully with the braised veal ravioli in thyme-scented oxtail broth mixed with Cabernet Franc.

The two Octagon wines were served with the main course of licorice-glazed Retreat Farm lamb chops, supernova sunchoke puree, roasted Bella di Napoli squash and fairy tail eggplants—a dish the guests raved about. Both Octagons were sublime and paired wonderfully with the dish.

Last, but never least, the dessert course included a traditional tiramisu, a chocolate and Piedmontese hazelnut bunet and a Feudo Principi di Butera extra virgin olive oil cake with candied orange and Elysium citrus honey whipped cream. The dessert course was paired exquisitely with the delicious Malvaxia Reserve 2003.

As the evening came to a close, Francesco Zonin gave a warm thanks to his mother Silvana and Luca’s wife, Patricia, who were credited for their unwavering devotion and support for the many endeavors of Gianni and Luca, which, of course, includes the creation of Palladio. He then recognized Chef Crawford and the devoted staff of Palladio, many of whom have been with the establishment for years and are like family to both the Zonins and the patrons who enjoyed being a part of the special celebration.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Why You Should Prioritize Natural Light in Your Home


August 13, 2019 | Ivy Publications

When it comes to designing or finding the perfect home, many factors should play into your decision. We asked the experts at Purple Cherry Architects what vital design elements should always be considered. They shared that natural lighting should definitely be assessed, as it can really shape one’s experience in a space. Check out this insight from Purple Cherry Architects Founder and Principal, Cathy Purple Cherry.

We can all relate to the emotional effect of natural light. On grey days, we might experience a funk or even serious depression. Natural light is a powerful influencer on our well-being, and when it comes through architecture, art is created. Stained-glass panels in ecclesiastical buildings represent the epitome of utilizing natural light as a tool to create a breath-taking display. On a residential scale, a simple orientation of a beautiful home can allow natural light the opportunity to create splendor within the volumes of interior spaces. Further, natural light can be transferred through a home with the application of interior windows.

Above, the power of natural light on the interior hall linking the family room to the library of this beautiful custom home.

In fact, there is a term to define the positive effects of natural light and other forms of nature on the human species. Introduced in 1984, the biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate desire to see connections with nature and other forms of life.

The concept of biophilic design has influenced significant change in architecture in the last 20 years. Take for example, the layout of large-scale professional offices. Those of us born in the 20th century should remember the corporate executive offices that used to line the exterior walls of large suites. This allowed senior staff to individually own the natural light and view in their buildings while the rest of the supporting employees were left on the inner part of those floors with no connection to nature. As biophilic design was introduced, we discovered that by reversing such functional spaces, we could transfer natural light from the area of the open bullpen to inner executive glass-fronted offices. And, this has had a significant influence on the work productivity of the employees. Similarly, this design has been shown to have just as positive of an effect on homeowners.

So, before you say yes to a residence or begin building your next home, be sure to take natural lighting into consideration. I truly can’t imagine life without food, water and the wonders of natural light!

Cathy Purple Cherry, Purple Cherry Architects Founder and Principal

Above, the morning sun streams throughout this eastern facing custom window seat to bring warmth to the homeowner.

Photos by David Burroughs Photography; Courtesy of Purple Cherry Architects

Lead Photo from Purple Cherry Architects’ award-winning Harness Creek Pool House

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Veritas Hosts Final Starry Nights of the Season This Saturday!


August 7, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Perhaps the only thing that could improve a delicious wine tasting with friends and a panoramic Blue Ridge view would be live music. One annual event we definitely recommend checking out is Veritas Vineyard & Winery’s Starry Nights series, which is held on the second Saturday of every month throughout the summer.

Photo by Wine & Country

This popular outdoor concert series allows guests to sip local wines, dine al fresco, and spend the evening dancing, and enjoying live music and good company under the stars. With the final night of the season coming up this Saturday, August 10, featuring music from The Legwarmers, there has never been a better time to attend this fun summer event yourself. Here is a quick breakdown of the three different ticketed experiences—SUNS, MOONS or STARS you can choose from:

  • SUNS: Includes admission and a Veritas wine glass. This is perfect for those who want to bring their own picnics and enjoy a laid back evening on the lawn.
  • MOONS: Includes admission to not only the event, but also a delicious buffet dinner, as well as access to seating at the tables on the lawn. This is a great option for those who do not want to worry about having to prep food or bring chairs and picnic items to the event.
  • STARS: Includes admission, a three-course meal and a seat at a table on the deck overlooking the lawn. For those who want a more polished experience, perhaps for a date night or celebratory outing, this is the best option.
Photos courtesy of Veritas Vineyard & Winery

For the upcoming Starry Nights this Saturday, the MOONS will be served a late summer cucumber and tomato salad with basil, feta and a balsamic reduction, pecan smoked chicken with maple BBQ sauce served with a summer pasta salad, and roasted sweet potatoes and strawberry peach shortcake with an orange rose reduction and cocoa whipped cream. The STARS’ three-course meal will start with a crunchy summer vegetable salad with ricotta crostini, followed by a seared chicken with broken balsamic served with basil zucchini noodles with pine nuts, ricotta salata and orzotto. The dinner will be completed with a graham cracker cake, toasted mallow and chocolate two ways.

Photo courtesy of Veritas Vineyard & Winery

Whether you prefer to pack a picnic and enjoy an evening on the lawn under the stars or to make the affair more of a foodie outing, this event is a great way to celebrate the season. And, don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes, as most attendees find they can’t help but move to the great bands that are booked for each event. You can find tickets on Veritas Vineyard & Winery’s website. Please note, any tickets for the dinner options must be purchased in advance, and the STARS tickets are already sold out.

You can also learn more about Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Book Four of our magazine.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

The Wine and Country Shop Creates a Commemorative Beer and Wine for the 150th Anniversary of Kappa Sigma


July 26, 2019 | Ivy Publications

In celebration of Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s 150th Anniversary and its 72nd Biennial Grand Conclave being held in Charlottesville this weekend, the Wine & Country Shop was honored to create a special commemorative wine and beer for the occasion. Drawing upon their knowledge of the local artisan drinks community, Wine & Country developed the concept and labels to highlight the history of the brotherhood, and worked with locals Barboursville Vineyards and Champion Brewing Company to produce the exclusive wine and beer as well as complementary t-shirts.

In honor of the fraternity’s founding year at University of Virginia (UVA) and it’s tradition that Kappa Sigma evolved from an ancient order founded during the middle ages at the University of Bologna in Italy, the wine, named 1869, was produced with the talents of local, Italian-owned and operated Barboursville Vineyards. Bred on the vine and in the winery for early approachability, the Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon contains a complex, ripened dark berry fruit with currant, cassis and chocolate notes.

Similarly, the 5 Brothers beer tells the story of the fraternity’s five founders—five friends and UVA students who became brothers in 1869 when founding the fraternity. For this special brew, Wine & Country enlisted local brewmaster Hunter Smith of Champion Brewing Company, who created an award-winning Bohemian Pilsner made with Czech Saaz hops, giving it a fresh, clean maltiness and spicy flavor.

For Kappa Sigma, it all began 150 years ago when those five friends gathered in the room at 46 East Lawn at UVA to found the first American chapter. This weekend, over 1400 members from across the country have come together to walk the same brick pathways as their founders did. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Kappa Sigma remains the largest social fraternity in the world, with more than 200,000 living members, 20,000 of those members being undergraduates at over 320 chapters. Through it’s focus on the Four Pillars of Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship and Service the organization has donated millions of dollars and thousands of hours in volunteer service to numerous charitable causes. Kappa Sigma said in a statement, “The 72nd Grand Conclave of Kappa Sigma Fraternity will represent a tribute to our history and a focus towards our future.”

To read more about the fraternity’s history and Charlottesville’s role in its origination, see Book 8 of Wine & Country Life.

Fraternity Images Courtesy of Kappa Sigma

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Shakespeare in the Ruins Returns to Barboursville Vineyards


July 13, 2019 | Ivy Publications

After a 13-year absence, Shakespeare fans returned to Barboursville Vineyards this weekend for a magical evening of wine and open-air theatre set at the foot of the striking Barboursville Ruins. The ruins were once the home of Gov. James Barbour who built the home with the help of friend and architect, Thomas Jefferson. The home was finished in 1822 but tragically burned on Christmas Day in 1884. It now stands as the centerpiece of the prestigious Barboursville Vineyards, whose award-winning wines are produced on the stunning estate.

Surrounded by an historic boxwood garden, the setting was the perfect backdrop for Four County Players to stage “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” in which nature is such an important aspect, almost a character unto itself. The bard’s most popular comedy, the play captivated the audience with music, energetic humor, jealous lovers and mischievous fairies.

Adding to the theatre festivities, guests enjoyed delectable picnics packed by Barboursville Vineyards’ award-winning Palladio Restaurant, as well as food truck fare and, of course, delicious Barboursville wines. With music performances before the curtain went up and mischievous Puck and the fairies gamboling about during intermission delighting guests with funny poses and pantomime, the show entranced all from start to finish.

As darkness fell, lanterns were lit, crickets gently joined in as a background chorus, and fireflies added to the romance and magic of the outdoor evening in the vineyard. There was plenty of laughter and smiles as love potions went wrong and the talented cast resolved their troubles with a little help from the fairies. As Quince so well sums it up for the troupe, “Our true intent is all for your delight.” With a standing ovation, the audience applauded a fabulous performance and the end to a beautiful evening.

Four County Players is Central Virginia’s longest-running community theatre group. The open-air staging of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” runs through July 27. Tickets may be purchased from the Theatre. If you are interested in a picnic from Palladio, reservations should be placed one week in advance. Chairs are provided.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Salsa Under the Stars at CrossKeys Vineyards


July 10, 2019 | Ivy Publications

As you enter the 124-acre estate winery that is CrossKeys Vineyards, you are sure to notice the unique gold crossed keys decorating the gate. In the spirit of the nearby old Cross Keys Tavern, a popular gathering place in the early to mid 19th century, the Bakhtiar family strives for the winery to be a welcoming hub in the community. And, this intention is clear through CrossKeys’ popular events.

While CrossKeys Vineyards is known for its award-winning wines, tasty food and beautiful venue in the Shenandoah Valley, its fabulous events also draw many from in and around the valley. The estate hosts an array of events throughout the year, including the increasingly popular monthly “Salsa Under the Stars.” This event, hosted by SalsaBurg Club, draws visitors from both near and far to experience a night of Latin music and dancing while sipping delicious wine. A $10 ticket grants you access to lessons and the dance floor, which is set under a sparkling summer night sky. You’ll also want to enjoy the wine and excellent food, too, since they are necessary fuel for a fun evening of dancing.

Salsaburg Club, a social Latin dance and music club in the Shenandoah Valley, infuses the event with sultry Latin rhythm. No matter your skill level or familiarity with Latin dance, you are sure to be swaying to the music in no time. Beginner classes are offered early in the evening by instructors from SalsaNoke to get your feet moving and warmed up. Later, participants can enjoy open dancing, as the DJ plays Latin dance genres such as Salsa, Bachata, Timba, Merengue, Mambo and ChaCha.

Ready to break out your dancing shoes? We asked Salsaburg Club if they could share some insight on learning the art of Salsa dancing. Here are some helpful tips from club member Pablo Cruz:

  1. Wear comfortable and fashionable clothing. Salsa is a social event, but come prepared to sweat. Your shoes should also be comfortable and have soft soles and low heels for easy movement on the dance floor. 
  2. Research the dance and listen to salsa music every day. It is important to become comfortable with dancing and performing the basic steps before learning more complex routines. A level one or foundation class will help ease you into the dance and familiarize you with the style of music. 
  3. Practice as much as you can. Practice alone at home or with a partner whenever possible to get the steps down. Listening to slow salsa tempo songs at home, such as “Yo no se mañana” by Luis Enrique, “Acid” by Ray Barretto and “Time to Spend” by Kevin Davis & Ban Caribe, and practicing with a mirror can help connect your dance movements with the music and rhythm.
  4. Smile. Have fun when you are practicing and don’t be afraid to infuse your own style and flare in the dance. Watching videos of different dance styles and performers can help you find a particular style that suits you as well as specific moves to copy.
  5. Communicate and connect with your dance partner. When dancing with a partner, you should focus on your dance partner’s center and maintain eye contact. Salsa dancing is about having a connection with the person you are dancing with, so it is helpful to dance with someone you are comfortable with.

The next Salsa night is scheduled for Saturday, July 20, at CrossKeys Vineyards. No matter your skill level, this event can offer a fun way to exercise and connect with others! We suggest trying CrossKeys’ popular Joy wine (available in both red and white varietals) while you are there!

If you want to learn more about CrossKeys Vineyards, be sure to also check out our recent feature on them in Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, Book Six.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Inspired Fathers Day Gift Ideas from the Wine and Country Shop


June 14, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Father’s Day is almost here! If you are still searching for that perfect gift for Dad, look no further! Check out some of our favorite gift ideas from the Wine & Country Shop.

For the Fashion-Forward Dad:

We all know those dads who love an accessory. If he is a tie lover, browse our unique collection of locally-made bow ties—perfect for work or special events. Is dad a UVA fan? Check out our Hoo-inspired accessories that he can sport at football games this fall. We carry everything from UVA-themed suspenders and belts to flasks and key tassels.

1. Blue Ridge Bow Ties (in various colors). $45

2. UVA Suede Tassel by Barrons-Hunter. $23.95

For the Wine Connoisseur:

Help dad step-up his wine game with these wine accessories. If he loves to try new wines, this journal is a stylish way for him to note his favorites when visiting new vineyards. The wine holder is a durable way for him to take his favorite bottle to a local event or outing!

3. Hunter Leather Journal by RSVP Handcrafted. $60

4. Chuck Pinnell Leather Wine Bottle Holder. $125

For the Foodie:

Does dad love to try new recipes? Consider this locally-crafted cookbook holder! For the BBQ lover, we suggest a bottle of delicious local Brazen Heat BBQ Sauce by the Bone Doctors’—perfect for summer entertaining.

5. Wine Barrell Cookbook Holder by Cork to Barrel. $275

6. Bone Doctors’ Brazen Heat. $5

For Spirit-Loving Dads:

Does dad prefer a certain spirit, or perhaps he enjoys cocktails? Check out the Mountain Leather Flask by RSVP Handcrafted that he can add to his event attire. Our tabletop bar assures that dad will always be able to whip up his favorite concoction at your next tailgate or picnic.

7. Mountain Leather Flask by RSVP Handcrafted. $38

8. The Madison Tabletop Bar. $285

No matter the interests/hobbies of the dad(s) in your life, you are sure to find something special at the Wine & Country Shop! The Shop is open Wednesday—Saturday from 10am–6pm each day. If you have any questions about one of the items above or something else we carry, feel free to call the Shop at 434-295-0306. Cheers to all the wonderful dads out there, and we wish you all a wonderful Father’s Day!

If you are looking for outing ideas for Father’s Day weekend, check out the Charlottesville Welcome Book’s online calendar of events.

We are proud to carry local artisans: Blue Ridge Bow Ties, Barrons-Hunter, RSVP Handcrafted, Pinnell Custom Leather, Cork to Barrel and Bone Doctors’ Barbeque Sauce.

Lead Image and Bow Tie Image by Jen Fariello

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.