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Taste of Monticello


March 22, 2017 | Ivy Publications

On April 13, the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival, a highly-anticipated spring tradition in Charlottesville, will begin. The Festival involves three days of celebrating the Monticello American Viticultural Area’s best wines.

Along with featuring the coveted Monticello Cup Awards at the Jefferson Theater on Thursday, April 13, the Festival will host delicious food and wine pairing events on Friday, April 14. Friday’s pairing events will showcase the phenomenal food and wine culture in the area with a Sparkling Brunch, Rosé Lunch, barrel tasting, winemaker dinner, and an evening of chocolate, music and wine.

On the final day of the festival, Saturday, April 15, more than 25 regional wineries and vineyards will be featured for the tasting event at the Sprint Pavilion on the Historic Downtown Mall, and there will be plenty of catered food and live entertainment.

Wine-lovers and foodies alike will love this opportunity to experience Charlottesville’s incredibly rich food and wine culture. You can visit monticellowinetrailfestival.com for more information and tickets.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

An Inside Look at Purple Cherry Architects’ Gorgeous Waterfront Home


March 6, 2017 | Ivy Publications

Purple Cherry Architects is an award-winning high-end residential architecture firm that recently opened an office in Charlottesville this past fall. With Best of Houzz awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well as winning the Designer’s Choice Award for Local Traditional Architect/Home & Design this year, Purple Cherry Architects is pleased and excited to be able to share an inside look at one of its private waterfront residential projects—the Duvall Creek Home.

The owners of the Annapolis home desired a traditional, turn of the century, Georgian home with symmetrical, flanking wings. Leading up to the house is a tree-lined, meandering driveway and a parking court at the front. The symmetry of this 10,000 SF home lends to its classic appeal.

The formal entry was designed to ensure that upon opening the door, the waterfront view would be seen. The traditional look and feel of the home is emphasized throughout the interior with raised paneling, heavy mill-work, traditional railings and wide-wood strip flooring. The backside of the house explodes with the connecting rooms, opening up to reveal a 180-degree full view of the waterfront. The spacious, open floor plan communicates between all three floors without going back through the formal area.

The design of the home provides a first floor casual entertainment area with a connected kitchen, dining and living room spaces.

This inside, large entertainment area connects to a large, screened-in, green-blue slate porch which leads to a waterside entertainment area featuring an outdoor cooking kitchen and in-ground pool.

The kitchen connects to a wine cellar and a large mudroom, supporting a family of five. Two staircases lead to the second floor which provides five bedrooms and a large laundry area. An extensive infusion of organizational strategies was incorporated to support a household with three children who are heavily involved in sporting activities. These organizational strategies can be seen throughout the home.

The house and surrounding hardscaping levels were designed to accommodate large family and social gatherings. Additionally, the house includes a four-car garage—two-car garages in each flanking wing. To maximize space, a workshop / home office is located above one of the garages while the top of the other garages houses an independent in-law suite with a separate entry for privacy.

Purple Cherry Architects’, an architect firm in Charlottesville, is responsible for this beautiful Duvall Creek Home among other projects.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Monticello Wine Trail Wins Multiple Golds


February 23, 2017 | Ivy Publications

Tuesday night, the Governor’s Cup Gala was held at the Hotel John Marshall in Richmond to celebrate the best of Virginia’s wines. The competition is now in its 35th year, and after being revamped in 2012, it continues to grow as one of the most stringent competitions in the country.

Of the 23 Gold medals awarded, 60 percent were given to our local wineries of the Monticello Wine Trail. Nine of those wines were included in the prestigious Governor’s Case, which represents the 12 highest scoring wines of the 494 that were submitted for the Governor’s Cup competition. The local vineyards honored with Gold medals were Barboursville Vineyards, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery, CrossKeys Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Wineworks, Pollak Vineyards, Valley Road Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery.

Honored for her work with the Winemakers Research Exchange (WRE) was Winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery. She received the Wine Person of the Year award. Emily (seen above at left with David King) has lead the effort to promote research and experimentation in the wine industry as a founder of the WRE. Also honored with the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless legislative work on behalf of the vineyard industry was David King, winery and vineyard owner of King Family Vineyards and Virginia Wine Board Chairman.

Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke to the great accomplishments of Virginia’s ever-growing vineyard industry and it’s impact on the state’s robust economy, job growth and tourism. He then awarded the state’s highest wine award to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, located in Hamilton, Virginia, for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon produced by winemaker Michael Shaps of Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville. The winning Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity, aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. It is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and is complemented by a soft tannic structure integrated with the fruit along with notes of clove and tobacco for a complexity and extended finish.

Shaps (seen above at the podium) creates wines for many vineyards throughout Virginia. “Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. It is perfectly balanced and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity,” says Shaps. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain [Orchard] with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet Vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.”

The evening’s celebration was a true testament to Virginia’s wine industry and it’s extraordinary talent and accomplishments. A big Charlottesville Wine & Country congrats to all!

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Advice on Choosing Your Investment Advisor for 2017


February 15, 2017 | Ivy Publications

When we asked Sean Miller, Investment Advisor of Miller Asset Solutions, for advice on choosing an investment advisor for 2017, here is what he said.

“I do not have any faith in economic or investment outlooks. None – zero. No one knows the future; it is as simple as that. What I do know is that investors can gain an advantage by choosing an investment advisor who has the following objective attributes:

  • LOWER FEES AND PERFORMANCE-BASED FEES: Fixed Fees below 1%, or fees below 1% including a performance-based fee, are the fee structures that absolutely align the mutual interests of the client and manager. Many folks too often forget that a dollar saved in costs or fees is actually worth more than a dollar earned from investment returns (thanks to taxes). In addition, investing in cost and fee reduction can provide far greater returns per unit of risk than anything else an investment organization can do. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that cost and fee savings represent risk-free returns to investors.
  • SMALLER IS BETTER: Larger firms have unnecessary administrative layers. Each layer has a cost, and the presence of each layer is disproportional to clear communication. Administrative layers are much like a placebo – present but offering no efficacy or value. There are fewer layers, if any, at smaller investment firms. Greater, direct access and seamless communication will be yours at a smaller firm, versus a larger firm.
  • ALIGNED INCENTIVES: Typically 100% of an investment manager’s personal capital is invested in the same positions as his clients. In this way, they act as a true fiduciary steward of shared capital. Often referred to as having “skin in the game,” advisors with skin in the game perform better and are more accountable. What is good for the advisor or manager is good for the client. This eliminates conflicts of interest. Aligned incentives are a very good thing, not just in investing but in life. The more aligned interests are the more you can base a relationship on trust. The optimal outcome is a more seamless web of deserved trust.
  • ABSOLUTE LIQUIDITY: Choose an investment manager who invests simply, preferably one with no proprietary products with hidden fees. Investment complexity is usually costly, unnecessary and results in your investments being illiquid [not easily converted into cash]. Liquidity is essential during times of severe market stress.
  • SAME INSURANCE PROTECTIONS AS ANY MANAGER: Many folks do not know that their investment account insurance protections are similar – regardless of the manager. For example, all investors have $500,000 for each account provided by SIPC (Securities Investors Protection Corporation) and then their investment custodian usually provides coverage for amounts exceeding the SIPC limits. This means all investment managers generally have the same insurance protections against fraud and malfeasance.”

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Virginia Wine Expo Celebrates 10 Years


January 31, 2017 | Ivy Publications

The 10th Anniversary Virginia Wine Expo is scheduled for March 8-12 in Richmond, Virginia. This four-day event will showcase wines from Virginia and California to Portugal and Spain, and will include delicious artisanal foods as well as other craft beverages, including whiskey and beer.

Leading up to Saturday, attendees can enjoy local and international artisan food, including a six-course wine-paired dinner at Richmond’s new restaurant Shagbark, noodle and dumplings, California tapas, and the Burger Blast™, a presentation of some of Richmond’s best craft burgers.

Saturday, March 11, after a four-course brunch at Belle & James, the much-anticipated Walk-Around Grand Tasting, presented by Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, will begin. Guests will be able to sample and buy cheese, chocolates, nuts, smoked meats and more while they taste some of the over 250 wines available.

Sunday, attendees can attend the second day of the Walk-Around Grand Tasting, an opportunity to experience vendors missed the first day. Throughout the weekend, guests can also choose to attend the various seminars offered about the expo’s wines and the wine industry.

The 10th Anniversary Virginia Wine Expo is sure to be a fabulous time for all wine-enthusiasts and a superb showcasing of regional, national and international wines. It is advised to book your tickets or ticket packages now, as events tend to sell out.

Photos Courtesy of The Virginia Wine Expo

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

CrossKeys’ Vertical Wine Dinner


January 27, 2017 | Ivy Publications

Saturday, CrossKeys Vineyards hosted a Vertical Wine Dinner to showcase the vineyards’ estate grown Merlot. Event and Catering Manager Hannah Cooper designed the affair, preparing the long romantic banquet table and setting each place for the many courses and parings to come. Executive Chef Dexter Burgess and Assistant Winemaker Steve Monson created a five-course plated dinner perfectly paired with Merlots from 2010-2015. The result was an exquisite winter CrossKeys Vineyards dinner.

For the first course, guests enjoyed smoked duck breast with Chinese pancakes and hoisin jicama slaw while savoring the 2010 Merlot.

The second course, paired with 2011 Merlot, incorporated another red meat—flank steak roulade. This delicious steak was served with oven roasted tomatoes and spinach with a mustard chipotle vinaigrette.

Guests were treated to a sweeter third course as blue cheese cheesecake was served with rosemary scented demi. This delicious treat was paired with the 2013 Merlot.

Following an intermezzo of sorbet, with which guests were able to cleanse their palates, beef short rib, roasted root vegetables and pickled asparagus was paired with the 2012 Merlot for the fourth course.

The five-course dinner concluded with a Merlot-poached pear scented with vanilla and cardamon. Served with vanilla bean ice cream and paired with the 2015 Merlot, this final course was the perfect ending to a lovely showcase of CrossKeys Vineyards’ wines.

If you would like to experience CrossKeys Vineyards’ wine pairings yourself, they are hosting a five-course Valentine’s Day Dinner on Saturday, February 11.

Lead image by Ceravalo Images

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Wine & Country’s 17 Must-Dos in 2017


January 19, 2017 | Ivy Publications

As a new year begins, there are countless ways to take advantage of all the Charlottesville area has to offer. We have 17 Must-Dos that are sure to make the new year an unforgettable one.

1. Attend a Winemaker’s Dinner. This year, treat you and your partner to a winemaker’s dinner, where you will enjoy the best of local cuisine paired with the area’s wines. Consider a dinner at Early Mountain Vineyards, like the Winemaker’s Field Supper featured in the most recent book of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. Or perhaps an upcoming event like the Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. (Left photo by Paula Bartosiewicz)

2. Experience Barboursville Vineyards’ Octagon Wine. This age-worthy, award-winning wine, highly distinct in character, is a can’t miss for wine lovers. Join the list of those who have been served Octagon, including Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama.

3. Taste Orange Wine. King Family Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard and Winery have adopted this international trend to create orange wines. Known as the wine world’s fourth color, they are making a major comeback and are a must try in 2017.

4. See Nancy Bass’s Art. Countryside enthusiasts are charmed by her color palette and own livestock farm, purchased with painting in mind. You can see her exhibit, Life Size: Pieces of the Herd at Piedmont Virginia Community College starting February 10. (Photos by Rachel May Photography)

5. Throw an Outdoor Party. Take advantage of the beautiful mountain views Charlottesville has to offer and throw an outdoor party fitting to the season. Match your décor, refreshments and activities to a theme just as this hostess did with her hunting party in the latest book of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. (Photos by Rachel May Photography)

6. Indulge in Executive Chef Gary Glaser’s Crab Cakes. You’ll leave raving about these scrumptious crab cakes at The Downtown Grille. Try them at the restaurant or make them yourself! Customers who dine at The Downtown Grille will receive a complementary copy of the latest Charlottesville Wine & Country Living featuring Chef Glaser’s crab cake recipe.

7. Try Gearhart’s Beer or Wine Infused Chocolates. Try a unique delicious twist on your palate with some of Gearhart’s infused chocolates. (Photos on the right by Jen Fariello Photography)

8. Travel Locally with the Inn at Willow Grove. This boutique hotel combines history, charm and luxury for the perfect intimate getaway.

9. Attend the Virginia Wine Expo. This March event is perfect for the wine lover. You’ll spend a weekend exploring an event filled with food, wine and great company. (Photos courtesy of the Virginia Wine Expo)

10. Shop Local Artisans. Among many of Charlottesville’s talented artisans are jewelry maker Elaine B., leathersmith Chuck Pinnell and violin maker Oded Kishony. Their one-of-a-kind handcrafted creations make perfect gifts or treats for yourself. (Top left photo by Rachel May Photography; Bottom left photo by Jen Fariello Photography)

11. Try a New Local Craft Beverage. Visit Nelson County for the new farm brewery, Wood Ridge Farm Brewery, taste the Virginia Distillery Company‘s whiskey, a mix of old world with new world traditions, or try the Scotch Ale that Starr Hill Brewery debuted this month. (Bottom left and right photos by Aaron Watson Photography)

12. Attend the Montpelier Hunt Races. Gather a group of great friends for a beautiful fall day of tailgating and horse races. Dress in style and participate in the hat contest, or put your focus on your tablescape for the tailgate competition. (Photos by Susan M. Carter Photography)

13. See Chamomile and Whiskey Perform. Take in the alt-country sounds of this Charlottesville-based band. Read about their journey from The Jefferson Theater to getting a record deal in the newest Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. You can see them Friday, January 27 at Starr Hill Brewery. (Photo by Jen Fariello Photography)

14. Visit the Blue Ridge Trails. Complete with 500 miles of hiking trails, 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail and 80,000 acres of designated, back-country wilderness, the Shenandoah National Park is a natural treasure. (Photo by Kelly J. Mihalcoe, LLC, courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation)

15. Visit the Design House. This spring, see the amazing work of the area’s top interior designers and professionals while experiencing the year’s décor trends in the Design House 2017. You’ll also be supporting a great cause—the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Below is the 2016 Design House‘s stunning library designed by Foxchase Design. (Photos by Robert Radifera Photography)

16. Travel Abroad. Take your adventures to France this year and explore Burgundy’s wine region. Indulge in the rich history of the area and learn about the connections that Jefferson had in the town of Beaune, France, also featured in the latest issue of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living.

17. See a Performance by Victory Hall Opera. This new addition to the Charlottesville arts scene brings multi-talented singers to the modern stage. Check out their upcoming performance, Schumann Ghost House, in March. (Photos courtesy of Victory Hall Opera)

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Chroma Hosts and Embodies “Green Mind”


January 11, 2017 | Ivy Publications

“Green Mind” is a nature-inspired exhibit showcasing pieces inspired by the forces of nature transformed into abstract art. The exhibit was first debuted in Washington D.C. and was designed around the work of artists Sharon Fishel and Beverly Ryan by art critic and curator, J.W. Mahoney. A portion of that exhibition is now being featured in Charlottesville with the incorporation of new drawings, sculptures and book art from various local artists in the “Green Mind” exhibition at Chroma Projects Art Laboratory.

Fishel and Ryan, the two artists in the original “Green Mind” exhibition, are abstract artists in D.C., and they both focus on capturing nature in their work. Ryan’s painting, Elixir (below at left), demonstrates the geometric influence in her paintings, while Fishel’s Drishti (below at right) shows a more organic approach to her abstract paintings.

Beverly Ryan, Elixir and Sharon FishelDrishti

Lotta Helleberg, a local edition to the original show, is known for her leaf print textiles. Recently, Helleberg has started using the natural dye transfers to make personal artist books, like Quercus Alba (below). Featured alongside the dye transfers are poems and observations about each leaf’s origin.

Lotta HellebergQuercus Alba

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Alan Box Levine, another local edition to the original “Green Mind” exhibition, is a local craftsman and artist dedicated to making pieces that show the grains and natural characteristics found in varieties of wood. His paintings, like Correlation and Integrity (below), present a birds-eye view of wind and water interacting with trees.

Alan Box LevineCorrelation and Integrity

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Sonja Weber Gilkey’s sculptures are made of woven rope and pieces from the Maine shoreline, where she spends her summers. For her local editions to “Green Mind,” such as Kundalini Rising (below), she only traveled as far as her backyard to gather materials to create these natural wall sculptures.

Sonja Weber GilkeyKundalini Rising 

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Chroma’s “Green Mind” also includes the local work of Linda Wachtmeister, who captures the nature of seed pods, and visual and performance artist James Yates, who has created an interactive work that encourages visitors to write their experiences with nature. You can see all these amazing works and more at Chroma Projects Art Laboratory‘s “Green Mind” until January 28.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Cozy Up to Christmas


December 19, 2016 | Ivy Publications

You’ve done it! The presents are wrapped, the cards are in the mail and your cookies are made. Now, relax and pour yourself some hot chocolate; turn down the lights and enjoy the lit tree with your reward…

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Christmas Eve is almost here, and it is time to prepare for dinner with your loved ones. A relaxing stroll through the woods collecting greenery, berries and pine cones is all you need to create a farm-to-table affair instantly. For that extra flare and for an easy way to add your personal touch, hand-make a beautiful menu to set beside each plate. Placesettings can be creative, too, when using pinecones you have found—natural or painted white.

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After dinner, get out the hot chocolate, share gifts and play games by the fire. It’s about enjoying the time with loved ones and basking in the real meaning of Christmas.

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Happy Holidays from Charlottesville Wine & Country!


Concept & Execution: Ayvazyan & de Beauvoir

Photography: 3 Cats Photo

Wedding Gown: Ayvazyan & de Beauvoir

Hair: Top Knot Studio

Makeup: Gohar Makeup

Flowers: A New Leaf Florist

Croquembouche Wedding Cake: Granatus Desserts

Robe: Zatik Studio

Jewelry: Fink’s Jewelers

Model: Jennifer Linke

Calligrapher: Simply Handwritten by Anna

Venue: Keswick Hall

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

Horton Vineyards’ New Cooking With Wine Series


December 12, 2016 | Ivy Publications

Established in 1988, Horton Vineyards is one the regions most established wineries, producing thousands of cases of wines per year and dozens of award-winning varietals from Viognier to native grape Norton. Last week Charlottesville Wine & Country Living was there to join in the first of their new Cooking with Wine series of classes.

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Held around the Holidays, guests were cheerfully greeted by Shannon Horton, daughter of founder and winemaker, Dennis Horton. Welcoming everyone into the festive tasting room where the dinner table was beautifully set in front of the magnificent stone fireplace, Shannon introduced Chef Terre Sisson, owner of Charlottesville Wine & Culinary.

Chef Sisson’s menu

Spinach Apple Salad with Cinnamon Eden Vinaigrette
Nebbiolo Wine Bolognese Sauce with Fresh Local Pasta
Pear Cranberry Wine Pie

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Chef Sisson began the class with preparing the crust for the Pear Cranberry Wine Pie, giving guests useful tips and inspiring cooking stories along the way. Guests were invited to Sous Chef and participate. Her easy-going, friendly style of teaching put everyone at ease right away, and soon laughter was a key component of the recipes.

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The Pear Cranberry Pie filling was made from beautiful fresh ingredients with the addition of Horton’s Cranberry Wine. One of eight fruit wines created by Dennis Horton, the Cranberry Wine is a lovely blend of the highest quality of Cranberry with Cabernet Franc. The Horton fruit wines are a result of, “my hobby gone wild and the long lost dream of Chateau Le Cabin,” writes Winemaker Dennis Horton. “In the early 1980s the great Horton experiment began in my log cabin in Aroda, Virginia.  The cabin’s cellar was full of home wine-making gear and very small barrels full of the first tastes of Horton wine. That little cabin was the start of this endeavor, and these fruit wines celebrate that home wine-making spirit.”

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As the pie baked, Chef Sisson started the ingredients for the Spinach Apple Salad with Cinnamon Eden Vinaigrette. The salad was paired with the award-winning 2015 Albarino Private Reserve. This lovely white wine paired beautifully with the sweet and tangy salad.

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The main course was a hearty Nebbiolo Wine Bolognese pasta sauce that included blanched tomatoes from Chef Sisson’s own vegetable garden with ingredients prepared by the guests on top of fresh locally made pasta from Mona Lisa Pasta. The dish was paired beautifully with Horton’s 2013 Nebbiolo, which has rich wild herb and cherry aromas with sweet plum and smokey flavors and really enhanced the dish’s terrific flavor.

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As guests dined together with Chef Sisson, friendships were made around the bond of sharing good food and wine. The dinner ended on a sweet note with the wonderful Pear Cranberry Wine Pie that was served with one of three dessert wines that guests could choose from: the Chateau Le Cabin Cranberry Wine, the fortified Pear Wine, or the Eden Apple Dessert Wine. It was the perfect ending note to an enjoyable evening.

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Seen above with Shannon Horton (at left), Chef Terre Sisson was trained at L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, and specializes in achieving gourmet results in a home kitchen. She believes that anyone can become a fine home chef, serving spectacular meals to family and friends and teaches several cooking classes at various locales throughout the area. Horton Vineyards is looking forward to hosting more classes in their new Cooking with Wine series.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.