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Ideas, trends and inspiration.

Give Your Home A Spring Makeover


March 27, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Getting tired of your decor? Need some inspiration? Step inside a local home that is brimming with style and flair that is perfect for spring. Go ahead, steal an idea or two to give your space a refresh today!

“Nestled within a woodland setting of poplars and oaks in Ivy lies this homeowner’s gracious colonial home. The front path, lined with herringbone brick, leads to a lovely portico framed with stately pillars. The red door, accented with evergreen planters, adds to its all-around welcoming appeal.

Originally from North Carolina, the owner first came to Charlottesville as an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, returning to the area with her husband and young family for graduate school to study landscape architecture.

Upon entering this home, one is instantly put at ease by its peaceful feeling, and its organic sensibilities. The neutral, blue and green-gray hues are noticeably the influence behind the color palette throughout the home. 

An open floor plan with a light-filled kitchen and family room serve as the central hub for this family of five and Coco, their beloved Springer spaniel. A stunning handcrafted gold and beaded Ro Sham Beaux chandelier creates a dramatic focal point in the family room.

The  homeowner notes that it was important that their home be welcoming, comfortable and accessible for their children and their active lifestyle. No room is ‘off limits’ for exploring one’s creative passions. All three of her children are budding artists. 

In order to display some of their artwork, she created a gallery wall in their breakfast room (seen above), where the children’s work is arranged alongside the works of other local artists. Each child’s personality also shines through in their artwork.

Two of Ellen Hathaway’s paintings, a local artist, are also displayed featuring sunflowers and daylilies. ‘I love the color and abstracted notion of flowers,’ she says. ‘You can feel the painting captures mid- to late-summer blooms, and the messiness of meadows and heat around that time where we live.’

Gold accents throughout add an elegant unifying touch to the décor. A stunning wallpaper weaves its way from the cocktail room along the hallway and stairwell, influencing the selection for several furnishings. The gray-green tone in the leaves is repeated in the color of the chest behind the loveseat as well as in the pillows. The loveseat was reupholstered in a soft pink-colored velvet, complementing the pink tones in the wallpaper and further unifying the space. Adding a sophisticated touch, a French bench with gold and pink accents, above, graces the front hall. Other decorative details such as the ginger jar and tasseled pillow create a warm, relaxing atmosphere that even Coco loves to enjoy while lounging on a chair.

The family’s first-floor powder room is highlighted by a lovely chinoiserie mirror and wallpaper, a gorgeous mosaic floor all perfectly accented with an inlaid tile wall and marble sink. Its peaceful aesthetic further reflects the unique beauty of this elegant and welcoming home.  

Elegant accents, works of art and an organic ambiance perfectly showcase this homeowner’s creativity and passion for beauty in nature.”

Original Article in Book 3 by Beth Whitehead Rawling

Photography by Andrea Hubbell

Virginia Vineyards Bring Wine to You


March 26, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Your grape-to-glass experience may look different when you are sipping at home, but it can still be deliciously local. Here is a list of some area wineries in the Monticello Wine Trail, Loudon County Wine Trail, Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail and nearby that are shipping bottles (often with free delivery!), or doing delivery or take-out.

Whether you’re looking for a buttery Chardonnay to pair with a seafood dish, a light-bodied Pinot Noir to pair with grilled steak or a Rosé to pair with a light summer salad, our exceptional Virginia vineyards have something amazing for you.

You can also enjoy virtual shopping and curbside pick-up at our Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop, where we offer wines from many of these Virginia wineries along with local artisan foods, spa items, Dubarry, garden kits, art, gifts and more.

Please let us know if there is someone to add. We want to help support as many amazing makers in our community as we can and help keep local businesses strong! Offers are determined by each individual winery and are subject to change.

Virginia Wineries Easing the Process During COVID-19

868 Estate Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Afton Mountain Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Barboursville Vineyards
SHOP HERE

The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Blenheim Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Bluemont Vineyard
SHOP HERE

Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery
SHOP HERE

Castle Hill Cider
SHOP HERE

Chestnut Oak Vineyard
SHOP HERE  

Chisholm Vineyards at Adventure Farm
SHOP HERE

CrossKeys Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Cunningham Creek Winery
SHOP HERE

DelFosse Vineyards & Winery
SHOP HERE

DuCard Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Early Mountain Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Fabbioli Cellars
SHOP HERE

Flying Fox Vineyard
SHOP HERE

Gabriele Rausse Winery
SHOP HERE

Grace Estate Winery
SHOP HERE

Horton Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Jefferson Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Keswick Vineyards
SHOP HERE

King Family Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Knight’s Gambit Vineyard
SHOP HERE

Loving Cup Vineyard & Winery
SHOP HERE

Lovingston Winery
SHOP HERE

Michael Shaps WineWorks
SHOP HERE

Mount Ida Reserve
SHOP HERE

Pollak Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery
SHOP HERE

Septenary Winery
SHOP HERE

Stinson Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Veritas Vineyard & Winery
SHOP HERE

Wisdom Oak Winery
SHOP HERE

Bluemont Vineyard
SHOP HERE

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery
SHOP HERE

Stone Mountain Vineyards
SHOP HERE

Stone Tower Winery
SHOP HERE

Tarara Winery
SHOP HERE

The Winery at Bull Run
SHOP HERE

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.

How to Pair Wine and Chocolate


March 25, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Turn your kitchen into a culinary classroom with our Farm-to-Table inspiration! Today, let’s brush up on our pairing skills with Tim Gearhart of Gearharts Fine Chocolates and savor some of life’s most loved pleasures as we learn How to Pair Wine and Chocolate.

“Walking into Gearharts Fine Chocolates, you don’t have to be a chocolate lover to stop and appreciate the heavenly scents drifting from the kitchen or the countless racks filled with over 20 varieties of free-standing chocolates. It’s what you would identify as a true mingling of your senses. You can hear the enjoyment of others biting into their treat nearby while smelling the bittersweet scents as different flavors of ganache are cooked and coated. The anticipation of tasting any one of the mouth-watering selections would lift anyone’s mood.

What chocolate flavors pair best with wine?

Gearharts uses the cream in each chocolate as the base for flavor, adding an array of ingredients before molding into the ganache. The ganache is made a day or two ahead of time, so as to set before it is coated and rolled in extra bittersweet. There are many different ingredients, from macadamia nuts, candied ginger, dried apricots soaked in French cognac, earl grey tea and natural cacao nibs to vanilla bean, dried Michigan cherries, cinnamon, Ancho chili, orange, pistachios, toasted coconut, dark rum, whiskey, wine, and so many others. 

‘I don’t think I could choose one chocolate as my favorite,’ the artisan admits, ‘but the Malted Hazelnut is always a go-to.’ A local staple, the Taj incorporates candied ginger, cardamom and rose into its bittersweet chocolate ganache. ‘Another of my personal favorites is the Mint Julep. The creamy milk chocolate infused with fresh mint and Kentucky bourbon before again being dipped in milk chocolate is one to reckon with he says. One of the different chocolates, the Maya, is started with rich, bittersweet chocolate ganache flavored with cinnamon, Ancho chili, and orange before being dusted with cocoa.

Which Virginia wines pair best with chocolate?

A popular collaboration of Gearharts is the pairing of chocolates with wine. The Pod & Vine assortment includes wine-infused chocolates created with three Charlottesville vineyards. Barboursville Vineyards was the first to partner with this line, pairing their Cabernet Franc with the dark chocolate morsels and plum preserves. Jefferson Vineyards’ Petit Verdot fills another dark chocolate morsel along with raspberry jam and currants. The final local wine is King Family Vineyards’ ‘Seven’ (Port Style) paired with hazelnuts and natural vanilla in delicious dark chocolate. When balancing the sugars in both wines and chocolate, two strong catalysts, it is not always easy. They are alike in aromatics and create a ‘battle on the palate,’ also known as a ‘palate power-play,’ Tim explains. Thus, when integrating a chocolate with wine, it is key to pair robust wines with robust chocolates and sweeter wines with the sweeter chocolate, such as white chocolate.

Pro Tips for How to Pair Wine and Chocolate

When enjoying chocolate, your first tasting should have the lowest percentage of cocoa, allowing you to work your way up from white chocolate to milk chocolate to dark chocolate. In line with his advice, Gearhart recommends three local pairings sure to tempt any wine and chocolate connoisseur. 

The Vanilla Bean Brulee, a white chocolate ganache infused with vanilla bean and ‘torched’ sugar caramel before being dipped in more white chocolate, pairs well with the Reynard Florence Vineyard’s Petit Manseng Monticello. This white wine has an upfront richness with toasted pear and honey—balanced by bright acidity. Gearharts’ Dark Chocolate Caramel—soft caramel infused with rich cocoa, a touch of balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper, coated in dark chocolate and finished with smoked sea salt—is another delicious match with Michael Shaps Wineworks’ Cabernet Franc, whose aromatics of red/black fruits are framed by spice and pepper. Gearharts’ Michigan Cherry, semi-sweet chocolate ganache with Kirsch and dried Michigan cherries dipped in dark chocolate, pairs perfectly with King Family Vineyards’ Meritage and its layered flavors of cherry and raspberry alongside oak spice and tar.

The most intense experience with chocolate undeniably is taste. Chocolate’s flavor components are initially trapped in the cocoa butter. However, as the chocolate melts, similarly to what it does in your mouth, the aromas are released and thus…heaven.

Falling in love with chocolate isn’t hard to do, and eating the cocoa-infused treats will give anyone a new appreciation for the science and the craft that go into making these delicious morsels.”

Text Excerpts from Book 3 of Wine & Country Life by Sarah Pastorek

Photography 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.

Meet Your Neighbor: Artist Meg West


March 24, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Together with local plein-air Painter Meg West, we encourage you to embrace the gorgeous spring season as plants and landscapes begin to bloom all around us. Featured in Book 2 of Wine & Country Life, Meg West is captures all that a landscape exudes. We encourage to read on for some of the original article from the print issue.

“Although there’s a spacious studio in the charming, art-filled and wood-stove-heated house where Meg West and her husband, David, have lived for over 30 years, West’s artistic interest lies outdoors. A plein-air painter, she is part of an important tradition, in both Europe and America, of artists who engage with the landscape outside the studio, marking the flow of the day and of the seasons. ‘To me, plein-air painting is such a difference. You are breathing, you are in the senses … you have to deal with the elements. But the difference as the art goes is enormous. To me, they’re better paintings.’

So, West’s studio at the end of the hall serves mostly for preparing canvasses and working on smaller elements of their creation. Normally, she loads up her specially rigged minivan and sets herself up outdoors, painting with the custom easel her husband made for her. And when the weather’s very cold … she can be seen painting in her grown son’s old snow pants—not wanting to miss an opportunity for a perfect setting. Her home is ideally situated, so she doesn’t often have to roam far for an auspicious view; and, West can always find a place to go on her five-acre property. If she does begin a painting in her studio, she takes it outside to finish in natural light.  

West is familiar with too many local spots to choose a favorite, but Chiles Peach Orchard is right across the street from her house. She paints there in every season—so often that the orchard workers know her and recognize her van. She also tries to paint at Monticello at least once a year, where her preferred views include the vegetable garden. West does like vast views, which are a logical match for her larger canvasses. ‘I am a sucker for the long distant views that are available from any of the mountaintop areas … the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, but even up on the hillside of Chiles Peach Orchard or Buck’s Elbow behind my house off the top of Jarmans Gap. Painting the distant views down a river also gives that same feel that speaks of peacefulness and nature. The interesting thing about plein-air painting is, even if you have painted at the same location before, a different season and time of day can produce an entirely different feel and emotion on the landscape.’

West’s path to professional painting is an empowering tale. At what many would consider to be a busy stage of life, with a part-time career as a graphic designer, and raising two teenage boys, West took stock on her 45th birthday. ‘I asked myself what it was I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and the answer was like a lightning bolt.’ She took classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College and the University of Virginia and decided to give herself a year to get back into painting, which had been her minor at Philadelphia College of Art. Almost immediately, her work began to sell, and West has made a living as a painter ever since.   

While she loves the local landscape and has made a name for herself as a localist painter, West and her husband travel extensively. They do one big trip a year; 2016 took them to Colorado and Wyoming. The year prior, they went to the San Juan Islands and took the kind of camping trips that most people only fantasize about. They load up the van with materials to hold and protect Meg’s oil paintings and, literally, head off to the hills. They often travel close to home but have ventured to Mohegan Island and Acadia National Park in Maine, the Smoky Mountains and Florida.

Going forward, West is looking at other opportunities to immerse herself even more in her work. ‘I love the idea of concentrated time and energy—to do and think of nothing else but painting.'”

Text Excerpts from Book 2 of Wine & Country Life by Catherine Malone

Photography by R. L. Johnson

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.

Remembering Chuck Kraft


March 11, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Remembering Chuck Kraft

We at Ivy Life & Style Media and Wine & Country Life would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Kraft family upon the passing of Chuck Kraft.

Throughout the country, and in certain angling circles worldwide, Chuck Kraft’s name was synonymous with highly effective fly patterns. When asked why and how he designed these works of art, he responded, unfailingly, “I did it out of necessity.”

Kraft began his life’s journey in fly fishing at the age of 5, cutting his teeth on Virginia’s famed Jackson River, a short bike’s pedal from his native Clifton Forge. It was there that he developed his first success—the CK Nymph—in 1961.

Shortly after moving to Charlottesville in 1985, Kraft went into business as a fishing guide and quickly established a presence on waters throughout the Commonwealth. It wasn’t long after that he recognized a barrier to his envisioned success. “Everyone was using the same flies as I was, and that’s all the fish were seeing,” he says. “I had to come up with new flies to keep my clients catching fish.”

Kraft’s answer was a lineup of easy-to-fish flies with a distinguished reputation for fooling large fish, many of which are now staples in the fly boxes of guides throughout the mid-Atlantic.

Kraft’s almost-exclusive use of synthetic materials was a signature reflective of his design philosophy: A “perfect” fly is durable and has a profile and movement that mimics the prey species that predatory fish key in on.

After experimenting with countless different materials on the quest for “perfect,” Kraft was introduced to ultra-suede, a material used in upholstery. The workable material allowed him to create the consistent, rigid profiles he was after and served as the main material in most of his patterns.

It could be argued, however, that Kraft’s foremost fly-tying material was his own punctiliousness. Only after years of observation, trial, error, testing and manipulation did he feel comfortable releasing his patterns publicly and declaring them “done.”

“There’s a certain pride in doing something well and right,” he said. And that attitude has shone through in his success as a fly tyer.

There is no denying that this master artisan will be missed. But, we are so thankful that Chuck shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with others, and are certain that his artistry will carry on for future generations.

Photos by Aaron Watson Photography

Text Excerpts from Wine & Country Life by Matthew Riley

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.