Loading...

Blog


Ideas, trends and inspiration.

12 Movies for Wine Lovers


April 29, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

The perfect solution to another night at home when you’re longing for your favorite Virginia vineyard. Open a bottle of your preferred local vintage and enjoy a great film about wine. Ranging from documentaries to romantic comedies, if you’re looking for a movie to satisfy your wanderlust (and your desire for wine), try one of these 12 films that are perfect for any wine and/or film lover. 

Sideways (2004)

Toeing the line between comedy and drama, Sideways follows former college roommates Miles and Jack as they take a road trip to California’s wine country to celebrate Jack’s upcoming marriage. Based on Rec Pickett’s novel of the same name, the film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. 

Somm: Into the Bottle (2016)

A documentary about the rarely viewed world of famous and cult winemakers, Somm allows viewers to watch and learn as some of the rarest, most interesting bottles of wine in the world are opened. Through 10 widely varying bottles of wine, viewers learn the history, politics and pleasure of winemaking. 

Bottle Shock (2008)

This comedy-drama is based on the 1976 “Judgement of Paris,” a blind wine tasting competition in which a California wine beat a French wine for the first time. Focusing on California vintner Jim Barrett and Parisian sommelier Steven Spurrier, the film follows the events leading up to Chateau Montelena’s success at the Judgement of Paris, forever changing the world’s opinion of California winemaking. 

https://youtu.be/TiBWHHqK7W8

Wine for the Confused (2004)

Hosted by John Cleese, this documentary is an introduction to wine for novices, making the process of learning about wine lighthearted and fun. Covering basic wine types and grape varieties, winemaking, tasting, and buying and storing wine, Wine for the Confused is an excellent introduction to wine without the intimidation. 

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Crichton, this film is set in the winemaking hill town of Santa Vittoria, Italy, immediately following the fall of Benito Mussolini’s regime. The townspeople hear of Nazi intent to bring the city’s wine back to Germany and must hide over 1 million bottles of wine in Roman caves before the Germans leave Italy. A battle of wits for the wine between the Italian mayor and German commander ensues. 

Mondovino (2004)

This documentary details the impact of globalization on the world’s various winemaking regions. Emphasizing the differences between commercial, mass-producing wineries and small estates, the documentary focuses on the individual flavors of wines made on a smaller scale. 

A Good Year (2006)

A romantic comedy about a businessman who is the sole inheritor of his uncle’s vineyard in southern France and the local cafe owner near the vineyard, A Good Year tells a lovely story of focusing on the important things in life. Russell Crowe plays Max Skinner, the businessman who must decide to either return to his banking job in London or remain in France to run his uncle’s estate. 

A Year in Burgundy (2013)

Seven winemaking families in Burgundy, France, tell the story and history of their connection to the land and to the grapes in this award-winning documentary. This informative film follows a year of winemaking in one of the most famed, prestigious wine countries of the world. 

A Walk in the Clouds (1995)

When soldier Paul Sutton returns home from WWII, he finds himself having difficulty connecting with his wife Betty, whom he married the day before he left. Searching for a new career and meaning, he sets off for Sacramento, meeting graduate student Victoria on the train as she heads back to her family’s vineyard in Napa Valley. When it comes out that Victoria is pregnant, Paul offers to pose as her husband to protect her from her father’s anger, following her to Napa and falling in love despite his current marriage.  

A Year in Champagne (2014)

Wine importer Martine Saunier guides viewers through six houses, exploring the process of champagne-making with some of the world’s most renowned houses like Gosset and Bollinger. This behind-the-scenes look at champagne gives viewers a glimpse into a year of creating the delicious sparkling wine. 

Boom Varietal (2011)

This documentary follows the history of the Argentine Malbec and its recent boom in popularity. Showing the rich culture of Argentina and its dry climate perfect for Malbec, this film shows why Argentine Malbec is the fastest growing wine varietal in the United States. 

Langhe Doc (2011)

Telling three stories describing Langhe, a unique and beautiful region of Italy, this documentary details the possibility of the winemaking region to be overrun with economic expansion and become another “Italy of warehouses.” Three Italian winemakers describe their fight to maintain the region’s integrity.

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.

Pollak Vineyards Wins the 2020 Monticello Cup


April 16, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

On Wednesday evening, April 15, the Monticello Wine Trail (MWT) announced its 2020 Monticello Cup Winner over a Zoom event, this first of its kind for these awards. This year marks the 30th year for the annual competition held by the MWT, a subsidiary of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society made up of farm wineries surrounding Charlottesville in the counties of Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Nelson and Orange.

The evening event was kicked off with a few words from MWT President George Hodson of Veritas Vineyard & Winery, who said a few words on behalf of all the winemakers and growers in the region. “These are unprecedented times, and we are so grateful for the support of our entire community. The members of the MWT will continue to do what we do best and make great wine in order to prepare for the brighter days ahead when we reopen,” he said.

Wine blogger Frank Morgan, this year’s event MC and competition coordinator, went on to share that the 2020 competition welcomed a total of 71 wines from 26 MWT wineries. “I’m honored to be a part of the 2020 awards that recognizes local winemakers and their world-class wines. The history, viticultural diversity, wines and people make the Monticello region one of the most exciting wine regions in the U.S.”

Additionally, Winemaker Matthieu Finot of King Family Vineyards also thanked all participating vineyards and shared a little about the requirements for a wine to be submitted. “Each winery was limited to submitting three wines,” he added “and each must contain 85 percent of grapes from the AVA in order for it to qualify.”

After an extensive judging process that took place at Barboursville Vineyards in early March, Pollak Vineyards was selected as the overall winner of this year’s competition for their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Benoit Pineau accepted the Monticello Cup on the zoom event and spoke a few words on Pollak’s behalf. “The combination of a great team supported by focused ownership in an exceptional vintage should lead to outstanding wine.”

In addition to Pollak Vineyards’ 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Shaps‘ 2017 Cabernet Franc and Jefferson Vineyards’ 2017 Jefferson’s Own Estate Reserve were the other two reds recognized in the “Top 3 Reds” category this year. The “Top 3 Whites” included Keswick Vineyards’ 2019 V2, Michael Shaps’ 2017 Petit Manseng and Trump Winery’s 2012 Brut Reserve. Overall, there were 13 gold, 56 silver and 2 bronze winning wines in the 2020 competition.

Although the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival was unable to conduct any events this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it didn’t stop a 30-year-old tradition of celebrating the work of the Monticello AVA.

In alphabetical order by winery, here are the Gold Medal wines from
the 2020 Monticello Cup Wine Competition:

A small family-owned winery, Pollak was founded in 2003 when owners Margot and David Pollak purchased a 98-acre farm west of Charlottesville and Crozet. Today, the winery has 31 acres of French vinifera and offers around a dozen different wines. Again, congratulations to Pollak Vineyards for winning the 2020 Monticello Cup. We are looking forward to another year of enjoying local award-winning wine.

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.

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.

Virginia Governors Cup 2020 Awards


February 26, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Last night, the Annual Virginia Governor’s Cup 2020 Awards was held at Richmond’s Main Street Station. After 107 wineries submitted more than 530 wines, a prestigious panel of judges selected 64 Gold Medal-winning wines to be celebrated at the gala that was expertly organized by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.

A dazzling array of local wineries all made the distinguished list, demonstrating the talent and commitment to quality wine of our local wine region.

The evening’s festivities began with many of the gold medalists pouring their award-winning wines and sharing details about each vintage with attendees.

The highest-ranking twelve reds and whites of these Gold Medal-winning wines were selected for the 2020 Governor’s Case after outscoring the other entrants on appearance, aroma, flavor, overall quality and commercial suitability.

We were delighted to see so many of our friends in the industry, including Luca Paschina from Barboursville Vineyards, the Bakhtiar’s from CrossKeys Vineyards, Michael Shaps from Virginia Wineworks, the team from Pollak Vineyards and many more.

After sampling the delicious wines, the attendees moved from the impromptu tasting room into the awards hall where they were greeted by George Hodson of Veritas Vineyard & Winery, who was a warm and gracious host for the evening.

The accolades began with Justin Rose from Rosemont of Virginia receiving the President’s Appreciation Award for his service as past president, given by now President, George Hodson.

Justin was further celebrated as he was named Wine Person of the Year for his service to the industry.

Randy Phillips of Cave Ridge Vineyard graciously accepted the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award and reminded us of the importance that each person, from grower to consumer, has in advocating for the wine industry.

All in attendance were deeply touched when Carrington, James and Stuart King of King Family Vineyards took the stage to present the inaugural David King Advocate of the Year Award. This new award was inspired by their late father who was an ardent and constant advocate for Virginia’s wine industry.

The David King Advocate of the Year will be given to the individual that demonstrates significant involvement in advocacy efforts on behalf of the Virginia Wine industry.

As James prepared to give the award, he shared his father’s favorite quote from John F. Kennedy “A rising tide lifts all boats” and reminded us of the value and strength the Virginia wine community has as it continues to grow and add new vineyards and varietals.

George Hodson was surprised and extremely honored to be the winner of this award in honor of a man he deeply admired.

The culmination of the evening was when Governor Northam took the stage along with the winemakers of each wine in the Governor’s Case for the much anticipated announcement of the Governor’s Cup.

Virginia Governor’s Cup Case Winners

The wines to receive this coveted honor are 868 Estate Vineyards’ 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito, Afton Mountain Vineyards’ 2017 Tradition, Barboursville Vineyards’ 2014 Octagon AND their 2018 Vermentino Reserve, Delaplane Cellars’ 2017 Williams Gap, Lake Anna Winery’s 2017 Tannat, Michael Shaps’ 2016 Meritage, Pollak Vineyards’ 2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve AND their 2017 Smuggler, Rockbridge Vineyard’s 2017 Vd’or, Shenandoah Vineyards’ 2017 Shenandoah Reserve Red, Virginia Cellars Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards’ 2017 Petit Verdot. 

Governor Northam was very jovial and insisted that he be included in the judging next year.

Virginia Governor’s Cup Winner

Finally, the moment had arrived, and he ceremoniously opened the envelope to reveal the winner of the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup: 868 Estate Vineyards’ 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito. This is the first fully Loudon County-made and Loudon-grown Virginia Governor’s Cup Winner.

Carl DiManno accepted the award on behalf of the vineyard.

“The 2017 Passito was the culmination of a concerted winemaking effort,” says 868 Estate Vineyard’s Co-Founder and Winemaker, Carl DiManno. “I take a very hands-on approach in the winery, and a lot of love and hard work went into this wine, but it was well worth it. I am thrilled that Loudoun’s wines are getting the recognition that they deserve.”

This marks the first time in 15 years that a dessert wine has won the Governor’s Cup.

The 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito is the first wine made from 100 percent Loudoun County fruit to win Virginia’s top wine award.

The talented members of the Virginia wine industry proved once again how much our region has to offer wine enthusiasts and winemakers around the world. The innovative vision that drives our region continues to progress the industry and its product, creating quality wines that delight wine lovers and impress wine connoisseurs.

We would like to sincerely congratulate 868 Estate Vineyards on their Governor’s Cup win, as well as all of the other wineries who demonstrated our region’s talent with gold medals and for being chosen for the elite Governor’s Case. We cannot wait to try all of the award-winning wines and to see all that these talented winemakers have in store for Virginia’s wine country!

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.

An Engaging Winter Wine Weekend in the Shenandoah Valley


February 25, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Wine & Country Life attended the 2nd annual Winter Wine Weekend at the beautiful new Hotel Madison in Harrisonburg on February 21-23. The weekend started with a welcome reception Friday evening followed by a sumptuous sold-out wine paired dinner at Joshua Wilton House. Saturday morning, winemaker Lee Hartman knowledgeably led guests through the winemaking process from the field to the glass with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Bluestone Vineyard.

Hotel Madison’s Second Annual Winter Wine Weekend

Back at Hotel Madison, guests filled workshops learning from some of Virginia’s most respected winemakers like Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards (below) who talked about winemaking in both the “New World” of Virginia and the “Old World” of his native country, Italy.

Between workshops, guests browsed the crafts of local artisans and participated in the Grand Tasting in the Shenandoah Grand Ballroom where over a dozen wineries from around the region provided tastings.

Wineries included Barren Ridge Vineyards, Shenandoah Vineyards, Rockbridge Vineyard, Keswick Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, Cardinal Point Winery, Bluestone Vineyard, Muse Vineyards, CrossKeys Vineyards, Brix and Columns and Cave Ridge Vineyard.

Below (upper left) Saam Bakhtiar educates guests as they taste the award-winning wines of Crosskeys Vineyard. A family business of the Bakhtiars since 2001, Crosskeys Vineyard is often awarded for excellence for their estate-grown wines. Below (upper right), Stephanie Pence, the owner of Brix and Columns, shares her wines and expertise with guests. As current president of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, she was excited to see the event so well attended and the interest in her region’s wine growing in popularity. Below (bottom right) Micheal Shaps of Micheal Shaps Wineworks shares his exciting new wines from Shenandoah Vineyards, a property he has been involved in since 2010 and purchased in 2018.

Saturday evening, guests enjoyed the engaging “A Night in Tuscany” wine-paired dinner prepared by Brock Kappers of Winebow Group followed up on Sunday morning with a delightful brunch paired with sparkling wines from Veritas Vineyard and Winery and featuring their winemaker Elliott Watkins.

Curious to learn more about some of these featured vineyards? Click below for more articles:

Read more articles on CrossKeys Vineyards here.

Discover more about Veritas Vineyards & Winery here.

Explore the many delights of Barboursville Vineyards here.

More about Michael Shaps Wineworks can be found here.

Read more about Keswick Vineyards here.

Find out more about the happenings at Cardinal Point here.

We are delighted to see the wonderful wines of the Shenandoah Valley region continue to reach new audiences.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Virginia Wine Expo


January 14, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

The Annual Virginia Wine Expo is coming up on March 3-8 in Richmond, Virginia. This popular event highlights not only premier wines but also spirits, cider, craft beer and artisan cuisine with over 30 curated events, including master-class seminars, tasting events, wine-paired dinners, lunches and brunches, and cooking classes.

This year, the expo is kicking off with a special preview event on Thursday, February 6. This 15-course Virginia wine dinner will be prepared by award-winning Chinese Chef and Restaurateur Peter Chang. The feast will be paired with Barboursville Vineyards wines and will be held at Q by Peter Chang, Chang’s flagship restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland.

The rest of the expo’s scheduled events will begin on Tuesday, March 3, and will take place in and around Richmond. The week’s signature events will be held at the beautiful Main Street Station, while other foodie and pairing events will take place at local restaurants and venues, giving attendees a chance to explore the city. Each year, the expo’s events showcase the best of Virginia wine, as well as another guest region from the United States and abroad. Along with hundreds of Virginia wines, this year’s selections will include wines from the International Guest Region Bordeaux and Loire Valley, France and the 2020 National Guest Region Washington State.

Tuesday through Friday, guests can choose from wine-paired dinners (including a dinner at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), seminars, workshops and a sparkling wine-paired lunch. Friday evening, Main Street Station will host the popular SMOKED! event, which features over 30 artisan dishes, over 35 whiskeys from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Scotland, wines from Virginia, Bordeaux and Loire Valley, France and Washington State, craft beers and ciders.

Saturday, attendees will have the opportunity to attend a few additional specialty events before the Afternoon and Evening Walk-Around Grand Tastings and the Ultimate Brew Fest, all of which will be held at the Main Street Station. The heart of this expo, these tasting events offer guests the opportunity to try curated libations and meet and learn from winemakers, knowledgeable volunteers and distributor representatives.

The expo will conclude on Sunday, March 8, with a seminar on Rose, a farm-to-table brunch, a Sub Rosa Bakery wine dinner and the Grand Tasting event for locals.

With events featuring curated wines, brews, ciders and spirits, as well as artisan foods, the Virginia Wine Expo truly offers something for everyone and unique, educational experiences. We cannot wait to see all that the 2020 expo has in store for participants, and we hope to see you there!

You can learn more about the expo and find tickets/the full schedule of events here.

Photos Courtesy of the Virginia Wine Expo

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.

Holiday Port Pairing Ideas with Horton Vineyards


December 20, 2019 | Wine & Country Life

Port wines are known for pairing well with certain cheeses and treats, making them a wonderful addition to any holiday table no matter whether you are serving nibbles at a party or dessert after a holiday feast. Versatile in their pairing options, port’s sweet taste can complement an array of foods. So, we went to Virginia’s port expert, Horton Vineyards to get some pairing suggestions we can all try while entertaining this holiday season! Not only was Horton the first vineyard in Virginia to make commercially available port wine since the end of prohibition with their 1995 vintage, but Horton Vineyards’ Founder Dennis Horton also first brought Portugal’s Touriga Nacional grape (a grape commonly used for port wine blends) to the state. Today, Horton is the only vineyard in Virginia making true Port wine.

We sat in on one of Horton’s pairing classes earlier this month to learn about different port pairings, as well as how the age of a wine can help it pair better with certain foods.

Horton Vineyards’ Port Pairing Suggestions:

  • Gorgonzola mousse (Paired with Horton’s 1997 Vintage Port)
  • Mixed green salad with roasted beats, fennel and balsamic dressing (Paired with Horton’s 2005 Vintage Port)
  • Fila cup topped with sautéed mushrooms and brie (Paired with Horton’s 2009 Vintage Port)
  • Biscotti topped with Apple Cinnamon Boursin Cheese (Paired with Horton’s 2008 Vintage Port)

Ready to try your own port paring? You can enjoy one of Horton Vineyards‘ vintage bottles available at their vineyard and online. In addition, Horton started the next generation’s batch of port wine last year. So, port lovers can look forward to that release in 2024.

No matter how you plan to pair your holiday entertaining and dinners this year, we wish everyone a very happy holiday season, full of great Virginia wine!

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.

Cassoulet with Oyster Mushrooms Recipe


October 30, 2019 | Wine & Country Life

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 | Wine & Country Life

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.