Charlottesville Wine & Country Living spent a lovely day at Monticello’s Wine and Roses Open House held by the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants (CHP) at Jefferson’s Tufton Farm on Saturday, May 28. The open house was a wonderful way to discover the beautiful heritage of roses that the farm tends and to learn how to care for these precious rose varieties in your home garden (many plants and seeds are available for purchase at the garden shop). Guests were also able to taste the fresh wines of Gabriele Rausse, Monticello’s Director of Gardens and Grounds and a Virginia vintner working to restore Jefferson’s vineyard at Monticello.
A substantial crowd of gardening enthusiasts arrived and filled the garden and nursery admiring the abundance of aromatic roses, flowers and plantings. An informative tour was lead by Lily Fox-Bruguiere, the CHP’s Garden and Outreach Coordinator, who led enthusiasts through the roses to introduce the history and lore of the many fascinating varieties. The roses came from historic properties throughout Virginia, some brought over from America’s Colonists from Europe, and some are native to Virginia.
Guests also enjoyed two lectures. Kaye Moomaw of Lynchburg’s Irvington Spring Farm gave a lecture titled “Old Roses for Modern Gardeners,” where she introduced many old rose varieties, gave tips for managing pests and diseases, and made suggestions for companion plantings. Monticello’s Beekeeper, Paul Legrand, also did an informative lecture called “Maximizing Your Honey Harvest” that educated attendees on beekeeping, it’s importance and tips for home gardeners.
From 12-2pm, Gabriele Rausse hosted a wine tasting with the guests offering his lovely Dry Rose wine, his beautiful Rosso red blend and one of his favorite wines, a refreshing Vin Gris de Pinot white wine. Entertaining as always, guests enjoyed not only Gabriele’s wines but his charming stories told in his thick Italian accent. Rausse, a native of Northern Italy, has had a long and illustrious career in Virginia winemaking, where he has helped to establish over 50 wineries and vineyards in the state since arriving to the region in 1976.
Exploring the gardens further, we enjoyed the lovely design of the gardens and the amazing rose trellis.
Enthusiasts were exploring and purchasing from the hundreds of plants available for sale at the nursery. Many plants and trees of hard-to-find native varieties were available for sale, making the day even more of a treat by having the opportunity to take one home.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants (CHP) collects, preserves and distributes historic plant varieties, and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. Gardening enthusiasts can learn more about the CHP at Jefferson’s Tufton Farm by visiting Monticello.org.
With the opening day of Roseland Polo at King Family Vineyards this Memorial Day weekend, we celebrated with a Pop-Up wine and cheese mixer on Wednesday for our amazing clients. After weeks of rain, the weather was gorgeous, only adding to an already amazing evening!
Enjoy the first day of Roseland Polo this Sunday, May 29, at 1pm! See you there!
Virginia’s reputation as a wine state continues to rise, so now is the time to buy in before the boom really gets going. According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Virginia is currently the 6th largest producer. The region’s terroir—the French word for the combination of climate, soil quality and elevation—is more like Southern Italy’s than California’s. Specifically, Virginia’s terrior is suitable for the production of full-bodied, fruity wines higher in alcohol content, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Vermentino. In these general regional conditions of sloping uplands and a warm, robust climate, each farm and even each field offers its own unique terroir, “so it’s essential to examine every aspect when choosing your property.”
Fancy yourself as a vintner? As you can see, “it’s important to know exactly what you want your land to do before you start shopping. We can help with our extensive knowledge of farming and the Virginia farm market to find you the best piece of property. We’ll partner with you through all of the steps and considerations necessary to foster success, no matter what venture you have in mind.” For example, many of the same terroir conditions that can make or break a vineyard operation also apply to orchards. With both crops, you need a certain amount of elevation, good air circulation and excellent drainage. You would also have to think about road accessibility for incoming or outgoing deliveries and foot traffic as well.
With the growth of the industry, the natural growing conditions and beautiful views, it’s easy to choose Central Virginia for your winery or vineyard location. With our knowledge and expertise of the area, we can help make your dreams a reality. —Gayle Harvey Real Estate
Finally getting a break from all our spring rain showers, we enjoyed a beautiful sunny weekend at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. The Chardonnay was beginning to flower along with the sweet spring buttercups that filled the vineyard rows with their sunny yellow cheer. This adorable lamb was enjoying the buttercups, too!
We asked Chloe Watkins of Veritas Vineyard & Winery for an update on how our abundance of spring rain showers would effect this year’s vineyard crops. She notes that, “the rain is great for the newly planted vines, which are happily setting down their roots and are being very well nourished without being too stressed by heat or dryness.”
She went on to say that “the established vines are doing fine with rain except that we have a huge amount of disease pressure due to the high humidity and moderate temperatures. As long as we can keep disease at bay, we should be fine.”
And while the rain might be helpful at this point in the grape growing cycle of this vineyard block of Chardonnay alongside of the charming Farmhouse at Veritas, Chloe warned how different the story could be for all the Monticello Wine Trail if it continues to rain too much over the next two weeks. “Flowering will start to happen here shortly, and as soon as we have flowers, we need warm sunny weather so we can get a good fruit set. It’s a one shot deal, and if it’s cold and rainy and wet, it will be ‘Bad News Bears.'”
Even with the rain today, the sunny weekend behind us leave us optimistic that the spring rain is moving along and more sunshine is on the way! See more about how this year’s weather affected our local grape growing in our newest digital edition!
Have you visited the Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE) Design House 2016 in Keswick Estates yet? The Shelter is our area’s most important resource for providing services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence, most importantly operating a temporary emergency residential facility. Two tickets to visit the Design House provide a night’s shelter for someone in our community. Not only will you be supporting a fantastic cause but you will also see how a group of talented local designers transformed an empty house into a stunning home. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use these ideas in your own home.
The best way to understand the transformation is to look at before and after photos. My partner at Folly, Beth Ann Kallen, and I are the designers of the breakfast room. The Shelter also asked us to help stage the kitchen. Below are the before photos.The space had nice bones, beautiful hardwood floors, and high end appliances, but looked dated and lacked character.
Our first step was to paint – you can’t underestimate the power of paint. We selected a soft white for all of the trim and Sherwin Williams Snowy Owl for the walls. Luckily, the homeowners agreed to paint the cabinets as well, which made a huge and immediate impact on the space. We also removed the ornate carved details above the range and on the front of the island. Suddenly, it was fresh and light.
The next step was to change out the builder grade light fixtures. Over the kitchen island we hung black drum shade pendants to coordinate with the existing countertops. In the breakfast room, we initially selected an open iron and brass fixture. However, after discovering the ceiling would need reinforcement to hang the fixture, we changed tactics and specified a large custom made drum pendant in the green and white leopard linen that matched the cushion cover fabric we used on the kitchen stools. Green was our accent color, and helped to make the breakfast room feel open and connected to the outdoor patio designed by the Market at Grelen.
Next came the fun part– setting the table with an eclectic mix of placemats, china, linens and accessories, and hanging works of art. Our favorite piece is a map of London, framed in 18 sections, that measures about 10 ft. wide and 7 ft. high. I found the map in a shop in London– a city that both Beth Ann and I love. Beth Ann lived in London for a few years and I traveled there often when I worked for Christie’s auction house in NYC.
Gather your friends, have lunch at nearby Keswick Hall and definitely visit Design House 2016. Tours run daily May 7–22, 2016 from 10am–4pm with extended hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays to 7pm. During your visit, look for the before photos displayed in each room– you will be amazed and inspired!
The grounds of historic James Madison’s Montpelier in beautiful Orange County make a perfect venue for this fantastic spring event each year, providing plenty of picnic space for everyone. Not only an event for wine enthusiasts, this fun festival offers activities for the whole family ranging from live music to kite flying to horse-drawn wagon rides. Corn hole games were even added to that list this year!
We were able to sample refreshing wines from vineyards all over Virginia including CrossKeys Vineyards, Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery and the nearby Barboursville Vineyards. Celebrating 40 years as one of our regions most celebrated wineries, wine tasters had the opportunity to taste Barboursville Vineyards’ prestigious Octagon wine among the many other varietals they offered. A wine of highly distinctive character, achieved in blending estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, Octagon’s status rests further on its being created only in fine vintages, and with the most astute selection from the harvest, and this 16th edition of Octagon is winning accolades the world over.
Next door to Barboursville Vineyards we enjoyed the refreshing, fruity wines of CrossKeys Vineyards. This vineyard, located in the Shenandoah Valley, revealed it’s first wines in 2008. Their Fruit d’Vine series of Riesling-based wine blended with fruits like apple, strawberry and peach were sellouts. Tasters also enjoyed their most popular Joy wine and the Fiore that has crisp, off-dry rose has a slight sweetness, with hints of strawberry and grapefruit.
When we weren’t sipping on fresh, crisp wines, we had the pleasure of trying delectable treats from a wide variety of specialty food vendors such as The Pie Guy, Brrrain Freeze and South Fork Food Truck. We then wandered through the picture-perfect landscape and explored booths filled with unique arts and crafts from various local artisans.
Tours of the beautiful and historic Montpelier, home to President James Madision, were open as well. This festival was voted a “best in” category by readers of the Virginia Wine Lover magazine in the 2015 Best of Readers’ Choice Awards, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great option for this beautiful Mother’s Day!
Charlottesville Wine & Country Living attended the opening of Design House 2016 last night. Located this year in Keswick, we enjoyed the amazing party complete with food, wine and an all-star list of the area’s top interior designers and professionals. Walking into the foyer, we were immediately impressed by the stunning black and white design of Heidi Brooks & Penny Crandall. This striking horse sculpture was offset by the dramatic black walls beneath the staircase, setting the stage for the amazing decor to come.
From the foyer we entered the dining room designed by Sheilah Michaels who brilliantly infused the traditional home with a touch of the exotic. Using a settee at the table in lieu of chairs added a cozy element to this otherwise formal space. When visiting, you’ll find the same travel-savvy feel in the adjacent library designed by Stedman House, complete with wood-clad walls. Also inspiring a bit of wanderlust is the truly glamorous living room just beyond designed by Andrea Gibson. Both are a must-see when you tour.
Entering the back of the home, we were struck by the warmth and elegance of the gorgeous kitchen and breakfast room designed by Victoria Pouncey& Beth Ann Kallen of Folly (seen below). We absolutely loved how this sophisticated room was touched by the whimsy of the adorable green leopard print bar stool cushions which matched the table’s chandelier shade. When visiting for yourself, be sure to study the amazing map Victoria found in London and artfully arranged on the large wall.
Just outside the breakfast room windows, the patio and garden were beautifully designed by the husband and wife team of Leslie Carter Gregg of the Market at Grelen and Dan Gregg of Grelen Nurseries. Wait until you see what fabulous work Leslie has done with the screened porch!
On the left side wing of the first floor don’t miss the absolutely stunning master suite designed by Moyanne Harding. The bathroom and the closet are “must see to believe” features which will give you a true wow moment.
Upstairs, you’ll find another master bedroom with a balcony patio both gorgeously designed in a Chinoiserie style by Michelle Willis Adams. We absolutely loved this bedside lamp (seen below right). Across the hall, the girl’s adorably chic country-style bedroom was designed by Tatiana Yavorska-Antrobius. This beautiful mural sized artwork (seen below left) adorning the room was also painted by Yavorska-Antrobius herself . This truly stunning painting is a must-see in person! In the boy’s room you’ll enjoy the modern, playful decor of designer Jennifer Greenhalgh who brings a fresh perspective to this traditional home that really works.
Not to be missed on your tour of Design House 2016 is the downstairs gallery. New this year, tour guests can view and shop nearly a dozen local artists and photographers featured among the multiple rooms and stunning marble-tiled hallway.
Of course visitors will also want to shop the on-site boutique located in the garage to find amazing decor items to inspire and freshen up your own home. Some of our favorites were the pillows we found! The best part is that 30% of the sales goes to support Shelter for Help in Emergency(SHE).
Design House 2016 is absolutely worth seeing, not only for the design ideas and inspiration you will surely find, but because you will help to support SHE, whose mission is to end domestic violence in our community. For over thirty years, SHE has committed to providing a safe, confidential, and respectful environment for survivors of domestic violence. The Shelter aims to empower survivors by providing knowledge as well as personal and community resources. These tools help survivors make informed decisions for themselves and for their families. This major fundraising event greatly helps sustain the Shelter’s residential facilities operations and outreach programs and is a very worthy cause.
Gather your friends, have lunch at nearby Keswick Hall and definitely visit Design House 2016. Tours run daily May 7–22, 2016 from 10am–4pm with extended hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays to 7pm. Tickets are only $20. Events and talks are scheduled throughout the next two weeks. Watch next week for Charlottesville Wine & Country Living’s blog post from designer Victoria Pouncey who will give us an inside designer’s perspective. Bravo to everyone who contributed to the amazing Design House this year. Don’t miss seeing it!
We joined local food experts and taste appreciators at The Happy Cook, our favorite kitchen boutique, to celebrate the release and signing of the newest volume of Our Local Commons. We enjoyed the evening with Our Local Commons co-founders and photographers, Sarah Cramer Shields, who also did the lovely photography for the story on the Underground Kitchen in our new issue of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, Andrea Hubbell, who did an amazing job on our artisan spread on local Jam Maker, Daniel Perry, and of course the adorable food author, Jenny Paurys. The Happy Cook has been a long-time supporter of the Our Local Commons project, not only carrying the book but also supporting local food in Charlottesville with high-end cookware, classes, events and more! We love their shop with our foodie community, and you can see some of their beautiful products in our latest edition.
Featured chefs were also present serving some of their amazing appetizers for us to melt over. Chef Melissa Close-Hart, currently working with her husband, Chef Matthew Hart at The Local and soon to open her own highly-anticipated restaurant Junction, heated things up with her empanadas. Lu-Mei Chang, known by locals for her exemplary Thai cuisine also shared delicious nibbles. Christian Kelly, co-owner and chef of Maya, talked about his Southern-inspired cuisine and brought some smoked baby back ribs with Maya BBQ sauce, while Mahabuba Akhter, one of the talented resident cooking class instructors at The Happy Cook, served us up some savory potato and pea cakes topped with an incredible mango chutney. You can find recipes from all these talented chefs in the new Our Local Commons book!
To tempt our palates further, a nearly impossible feat when considering the delicious variety of samplings provided, Cardinal Point Winery was present at the event offering tastings. Pourings featured their Petit Verdot, a 100 percent estate-grown Petit Verdot, dark colored, jammy and big fruit flavors, and their 2015 Green, a 50 percent Petit Manseng co-fermented with 50 percent Chardonnay with no oak aging or fermentation. The process ensures the wine has no residual sugar, giving it the tart green apple flavor of its namesake. Gearharts Fine Chocolates rounded off our evening with a sinfully delectable pistachio toffee confection.
Yesterday marked the 39th spring steeplechase at the Foxfield Races, celebrating decades of time-honored traditions, Virginian hospitality and fashion. More than just a Charlottesville tradition, the Foxfield Races are the biggest party of the year! We had a terrific time as sponsors of the race again this year, which attracted more than 25,000 spectators, many of them UVA alumni and students, to cheer on the horses. The turf track consists of 17 furlongs, just over two miles, of hurdles, hills and obstacles for the jockeys to maneuver their steeds through. Despite the somewhat cool weather at this popular annual rite-of-spring, revelers were not deterred and we had a fabulous time.
In accordance with tradition, the guys were in ties and the girls in pearls. Visiting the infield paddock to take a look at the horses warming up for the next race, we caught sight of our favorite hat of the day, this fabulous Ascot-style chappeau shown above! Also seen above, vintage-camera photography isn’t the only trendy endeavor this fellow is engaged in. He revealed his plans to open a new brewery in the Woolen Mills area later this summer. Keep an eye on our blog for more on that in the future!
With plenty of time for visiting with friends between races, we caught up with Jamie Morton at the Brown Automotive tent, where she was hosting an elegant catered spread alongside gorgeous Mercedes Benz cars. Elated after her visit to the winner’s circle as a leading sponsor of the race, we sampled their melt-in your-mouth ham biscuits. Can we say delicious?! Awesome spread Jamie! Cheering on the horses nearby, we found another friend and W&C supporter, the amazing interior designer and founder of Leftover Luxuries Wendi Smith (at center), looking super chic in her favorite cowboy hat and enjoying the day with friends. Loved it!
If there’s one thing we know about spring’s Foxfield Races, it’s that it’s just as much of a social event as it is a sporting event. UVA students, alumni and the like, packed the field in a sea of natty bow-ties, adorable sundresses, hats and rain boots. With a favorite cocktail in hand, attendees rocked tailgating parties with cornhole toss games to dance floors. We loved all the Lilly Pulitzer fashion we spotted, especially from the Pink Palm tent! Love that shade of pink on the cute Cathy Shift dress from Lilly Pulitzer above! The girls unleashed their elegant inner Kate Middleton and the boys joined them in sporting their preppy best, including seersucker, bold pastels, and bright patterns, along with amazingly fun statement accessories.
While the Foxfield Races are a great time for all, they are more than simply a tailgating party and steeplechase. Every year, a portion of proceeds from the Spring and Fall races are donated to local charities. This year’s 2016 beneficiary were the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge. If you missed the revelry this weekend, never fear. You can join in the fun again this fall for Family Day on Sunday, September 25! If you made it out to the soirée yesterday, share your Foxfield fashion with us on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our feed. Follow us all this week as we show some love to our hometown musicians, the Dave Matthews Band, coming to town to kick off their 25th anniversary at the JPJ Arena next weekend!