In This Issue
Virginia Wineries Welcome Close to a Million Visitors
Virginia Wine Board Elects New Officers
Corks: Natural or Artificial?
Jefferson's Wine Cellar at Monticello
Virginia Vineyard Focus: Cave Ridge Vineyard
Wine Review
Eat, Drink & Be Merry...Wine & Food Pairings
Product Closeup: MetroKane Corkscrews
Wine Trail of the Month: The Blue Ridge Wine Way
Wine of the Month Club: Doukenie Vineyards
September Festivals & Events
Coming Next Month
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Dear Friend of Virginia Wine: Cheers!

The grapes are ripening on the vine, there is preparation under way for the annual harvest and there is no better time to visit Virginia's vineyards and wineries.  This September there are wine festivals and harvest events planned throughout the Commonwealth from Virginia Beach to the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Leesburg to Wintergreen and everywhere in between.  A number of these events are listed in this issue of WINE LOVER, and you'll find a complete listing at the Virginia wineries website:

It's obvious that Virginia's wine industry is growing by leaps and bounds from the record number of visitors to the wineries - almost one million last year!  The wine trails are well traveled (read about the Blue Ridge Wine Way) and there are new wines to taste (see the Wine Review and Wine of the Month Club Selection).  It's sure to be a great September to "fall for Virginia wines!"

E-mail us your comments at  And, feel free to forward this WINE LOVER Newsletter to anyone who may be interested.


According to the Virginia Travel Corporation, Virginia wineries played host to almost a million -- some 950,000 -- visitors in 2006!  The numbers are based on visitors who traveled 50+ miles from home or stayed in paid accommodations.  Add to that the numbers of locals visiting a nearby winery and the total number of visitors soars far above the million mark.

Andrew Hodson of Veritas Winery Serving Wine

The statistics resulted from a TNS research study called Travels America.  As this was the first time that VTC had subscribed to the study, it is not possible to calculate a percentage increase over previous visitation estimates.  However, it seems safe to say that Virginia wineries are seeing the number of visitors increase by leaps and bounds.


The Virginia Wine Board met in Charlottesville on Wednesday, August 29.  Bill Moses of Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard and current board chair welcomed new board members, Ruth Saunders of Silver Creek Orchards and Mills Wehner of Chatham Vineyards and Winery. 

David King of King Family Vineyards was elected to succeed Bill Moses as board chair.  Re-elected as vice chair was Rock Stephens, president of the Virginia Vineyards Association.                                                                            
                                                                                David King and Bill Moses

By Robert Harllee, Market Street Wineshops in Charlottesville

Natural corks have been the ideal closure for wine bottles for over three centuries. Since they are highly compressible they form an excellent seal, but the problem with natural corks is that they are made from tree bark and thus suffer from the faults of natural, organic materials. In recent years, cork trees have been infected with a fungus that, after the corks are sterilized, forms a chemical called TCA when it contacts wine. The chemical gives off an off-putting, stinky rubber tire aroma that makes a wine unpleasant to drink. All wineries see a spoilage rate of "corked" bottles in the two to four percent range; many have seen this rate spike in streaks of eight to 10% percent. An Italian winery in Tuscany won a lawsuit against a cork producer for ruining some 60% of its 1998 Brunello di Montalcino, a shock turbo that charged the rise of alternate closures for wine bottles, including synthetic corks, screw caps and "glass corks."
Synthetic corks were the industry's first alternative to natural corks. They were corks with which consumers were familiar; they were inert; and they were not screw caps. But they had two problems. First, the initial materials used often bonded to Teflon coated corkscrews and thus were difficult to remove from the corkscrew. Second, they were not as compressible as natural corks and often formed an imperfect seal that allowed oxygen to enter the bottle and spoil the wine. Newer materials have made these problems less prevalent.
Screw caps are a mature technology that has been used for decades in the soda industry as well as the wine industry. In the past, wine consumers thought a screw cap to be a sign of low quality, but that has now changed and many wineries are switching to screw caps. Consumers have found through buying and trying screw capped wines that they are not inferior. In fact, savvy consumers now prefer screw capped wines because the wine will always be fresh and uncorked. New Zealand led the way in screw caps when its wineries banded together in the "Screw Cap Initiative" to bottle all their wines with screw caps. If you wanted a New Zealand wine, you had to buy a wine with a screw cap.
Glass corks, resembling the natural cork "T-Tops" used in Port and Sherry bottles, are the newest and hottest closure. Consumers think they are "cool" and easy to use.  Glass corks are the way of the future and coming to a store near you.
As an advocate for consumers, I want them to get a fresh, uncorked bottle of wine, tasting the way the winemaker intended. Thus I support whatever closure accomplishes that goal.
Market Street Wine Shop
Charlottesville, Virginia
Two locations:
311 East Market Street (Downtown)
230 Shoppers World Court (Uptown)

By Justin Sarafin, Monticello Dependencies Project Coordinator

Because of his attempts to grow Vitis vinifera at Monticello and his eager support for the establishment of an American wine industry, Thomas Jefferson has been described as America's "first distinguished viticulturist" and "the greatest patron of wine and winegrowing that this country has yet had."

Jefferson believed that "we could, in the United States, make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good." Though this vision never came to fruition during his lifetime, Jefferson's reputation as a wine expert is undisputed, stemming from his visits to vineyards in Europe; his continuing pursuit of high quality wines for importation; his role as wine adviser to Presidents Washington, Madison, and Monroe; and his Wine Cellar at Monticello.

Jefferson's cellar contained bottles from France, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Germany and Italy, and he served wine after dinner daily in the belief that it was good for the health. Orders for casks and bottles of wine were made on at least an annual basis. For example, in January 1820 Jefferson recorded receiving 382 bottles of various wines and one cask of "Muscat of Rivesalte." The next January, he noted that the Muscat "is out, to wit 62 gallons in 11 months." The cellar also featured bottle-holding dumbwaiters that went through its ceiling and into both sides of the mantelpiece in the Dining Room above, which allowed wine bottles to be discarded and replenished with minimal intrusion.

The Wine Cellar has recently undergone archaeological study and is being further investigated to determine the location or configuration of period wine bottle binning or shelving arrangements. After the shelves and bottles that had been installed in the 1960s were removed, Monticello archaeologists began their work. Findings from their test square confirmed that the room's brick floor is original, but their work did not yield any evidence of wooden or brick binning structures. As expected, many shards of green wine bottle glass were discovered.  Removal of the mid-20th century plaster ceiling revealed the original beams above.  These will be studied along with the four interior brick wall surfaces for clues that might indicate what type of wine storage method was used in the space. Photographs taken in the late 1960s that show the interior walls before sandblasting will be compared against evidence that may still be visible today.

The Wine Cellar project is part of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's ongoing effort to restore and reinterpret all of Monticello's dependencies - the living quarters, work areas, and storage spaces located beneath the house. The physical and interpretive revisions planned for the Wine Cellar will represent a more accurate view of how the space looked and functioned during Jefferson's retirement years (1809-26).  Plans include conservation of the original dumbwaiter, which will be more easily viewed by visitors after the installation of a platform with interpretive reader rails similar to those in the restored Beer Cellar nearby. The reader rails will tell the stories of those who were responsible for maintaining the cellar and what types of activities and tasks such responsibility entailed. The importance of the Wine Cellar to the functioning of the Dining Room above will be highlighted.

Since the Wine Cellar was last furnished in the 1960s, much new research and scholarship has been done with regard to Jefferson and wine, including information about how imported wine was shipped and how it was processed and consumed at Monticello. Jefferson's detailed Farm Book wine inventories reveal his preferences and illustrate general patterns of wine provisioning and consumption. Ongoing research will help determine the most appropriate method of bottle storage, and new furnishings such as reproduction glass bottles, casks, and wine testing and tasting implements will illustrate the processing of wine into vessels suitable for transportation in the dumbwaiter and for table use.

The restoration and reinterpretation of Monticello's Wine Cellar has been made possible by the support of Howard P. Milstein, a member of the TJF Board of Trustees, and The Roller-Bottimore Foundation.

VIRGINIA VINEYARD FOCUS (Second in the Series)

Shenandoah Valley Region
by Randall Phillips, Cave Ridge Vineyard

When Randy Phillips decided to develop a vineyard and winery in Virginia, he took several years to do his research.  "I have always been involved in some form of agriculture going back to when I was a child, but I knew very little about growing grapes," said Phillips.  "I had about 15 years of winemaking under my belt but wanted to establish a winery that only used estate grown grapes." 

Phillips attended seminars, talked to growers in different regions of the state and poured over climate charts and soil maps.  Although there are many great areas to grow grapes in Virginia, he was drawn to the Shenandoah Valley for two reasons.  The rainfall is some of the lowest in the eastern United States, and it is one of the cooler growing zones in the state.  While that might seem counterintuitive, it proved to be beneficial this year.  The freezing temperatures in April that killed back many grape vine shoots from Charlottesville into North Carolina and Georgia had no effect on many of the vineyards in the Northern Shenandoah Valley because the buds had not yet opened.

Cave Ridge Vineyard is one of many vineyards and wineries that have been developed in recent years based on extensive research of growing conditions and potential markets.  Phillips says that the rapid growth in the number of wineries being developed in Virginia is creating competition, which will ultimately result in significant improvement of wines available to consumers.  The growing site and the selection of the right varieties are becoming more important. 

Cave Ridge grows viognier, traminette, riesling, syrah, cabernet franc, chambourcin, and petit verdot.  Although some growers have abandoned riesling, according to Phillips, in the right location and with intensive management practices, it performs well, and produces a nice wine. 

All wine events at Cave Ridge involve some level of education about growing grapes.  "It all begins in the vineyard, and I want people to understand what it takes to produce a quality bottle of wine," says Phillips.  "So any event we have on the farm always involves a guided tour (usually with a glass of wine) to talk about all of the things we do in the vineyard.  We have about 10,000 vines and each one gets touched at least seven times during the year.  That makes quite an impression on people."

In addition to managing and operating Cave Ridge Vineyard, Randy Phillips serves on the Board of the Virginia Vineyards Association, and he was recently appointed to the board of the newly formed State Corporation for Wine Distribution that will allow Virginia wineries to once again distribute their wines to stores and restaurants.  

Cave Ridge Vineyard is located about 80 miles west of Washington, D.C., near Woodstock and Mt. Jackson.  To learn more about the vineyard and their wines go to or call 540-477-2585.

By Antoinette Landragin of Cork & Fork in Gainesville

Cork & Fork stocks select Virginia wines, as well as some of the finest wines from around the world.  According to Antoinette, it is the first store of its kind in the fast developing western part of Prince William County where Gainesville is known as the "Gateway to Virginia Wine Country" because of its proximity to a number of Northern Virginia wineries.  As our guest reviewer for September, Antoinette recommends:
Barboursville Vineyards Octagon,                                                 Seventh Edition 2004 ($39.99)
Winning award after award, the Octagon continues to "Wow!" wine appreciators across the nation by presenting an extraordinary propriety blend from one of the finest vineyards in Virginia.  This Bordeaux style wine commands the attention of the New World with its Merlot, Reserve Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot blend.  There is great complexity in this wine; the lush color gives hint of the fantastic concentration and muscular tannins; the beautiful dark fruit and cassis are voluptuous and enticing.  The Octagon has great cellaring potential, and is showing bravely now.
Rappahannock Cellars, Viognier 2006 ($19.99)
This fresh Viognier from Rappahannock Cellars has already started to make a name for itself by blazing through the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, winning Double Gold earlier this year.  This wine is one of the finest examples of a Virginian Viognier, presenting a very crisp and clean demeanor.  Elements of orange zest, lemongrass and juicy peach make it a scrumptious wine.  Divine.
Cork & Fork
7333 Atlas Walk Way
Gainesville, VA. 20155



Guests Share a Drink at the Boar's Head Inn Bistro
We asked Pat Fleshman Burnett, Marketing & Communications Manager at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, to do some matchmaking . . . to give us some of her favorite recipes along with suggestions for Virginia wines that pair well with them.  Here are two perfect combinations, courtesy of the Boar's Head Executive Chef, Mark Gallaudet..

Trout Fillets & Potato Cakes 
Pair with Barboursville Reserve Chardonnay, 2004
or Rappahannock Reserve Viognier, 2004

8 trout filets
6 oz. cashew nuts (lightly ground)
10 oz. unsalted butter
1 oz. chopped chives
6 oz. mixed greens
1 chopped parsley
4 lbs. Idaho potatoes
Dash Salt & Pepper
Season fillets with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with ground cashew nuts, covering the fish.  Sauté in clarified butter or vegetable oil for two minutes on each side.  Peel and grate potatoes; cook and form into cakes.  Sauté in butter 3 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and hot through.  Place 4 oz. butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté mixed greens for 30 seconds and remove.  Place chopped parsley in the pan and set aside.  Arrange plate by placing two fillets on either side of potato cake with mixed greens on top.  Serves 4.

Boar's Head Inn Bread Pudding
Pair with Barboursville Phileo, 2004

1½ c. milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ c. sugar
¼ lb. butter
1 tbl. vanilla
6 cups day-old bread cut into 1" squares
1 c. fruit/nuts (Blueberries, Pecans, Bananas, Coconut, Choc. Chips, etc.)
Bring milk and sugar to a simmer.  Slowly add to the eggs.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Add vanilla and cool slightly.  While still warm, put a layer of bread into bottom of a 9"x9" baking dish.  Pour some of the custard mixture over the bread and sprinkle with the fruit/nuts.  Continue to make layers until baking dish is almost full.  The bread should absorb most of the liquid and be firm to the touch.  Cover pan with foil and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees F for approximately 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve warm with Crème Anglaise.  Yields 12 1-oz. servings.

Crème Anglaise
1 c. half and half
1 c. heavy cream
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. egg yolks (5 yolks broken)
½ tsp. vanilla (or ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped)

Bring the sugar, vanilla, half and half, and heavy cream to a boil in a saucepot.  Slowly add ½ the hot mixture to the egg yolks, then the yolk mixture back into the pot.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.  Strain the mixture through a small-holed strainer and cool in an ice bath, stirring occasionally.  Yields 12 1-oz. servings.

Boar's Head Inn
Barboursville Vineyards
Rappahannock Cellars


  Zippity Rabbit from Metrokane
The Zippity Rabbit has a new hutch!  Newly packaged in either a red or black EVA storage case, this sterling Rabbit Corkscrew from Metrokane opens wine bottles with practiced ease.  Finished in brilliant chrome, the Zippity Rabbit comes equipped with a foil cutter and extra spiral - and a 10 year guarantee!  MSRP $80.  There is also a VIP version, perfect for business gifts, that comes in a leather case.


September is one of the best times of the year to travel Virginia's Blue Ridge Wine Way (BRWW), a truly exciting trail of wineries where you can experience first hand how the grapes are harvested and the wines are produced.  Conveniently located within an hour of Washington DC, the Blue Ridge Wine Way is home to nine of the Commonwealth's premier wineries, each with its own unique personality. 
As one meanders the Blue Ridge Wine Way, you will travel through some of Virginia's most scenic countryside, past farms, orchards and roadside markets bustling with late summer and early fall produce; inns, B&Bs and superb restaurants; historic towns with antique shops and recreational attractions.  But most of all, you will experience internationally acclaimed and award winning wines, luscious styles of whites including Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Seyval Blanc; and an equal number of reds such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin and Bordeaux blends (Ameritage). The BRWW wineries also feature several dessert wines of national prominence.
After traveling the Blue Ridge Wine Way, Gourmet Magazine wine consultant, Michael Green declared Virginia "one of the greatest wine regions in the country" and praised the BRWW wineries for the "wonderfully Burgundian hands-on experience" they offer.  The wineries are situated in Northern Virginia's Piedmont area of Fauquier, Prince William, and Rappahannock Counties and are easily reached from the Route 66 corridor between Haymarket and Front Royal and along the Interstate 29 corridor via Gainesville, Warrenton or Culpeper. 
GADINO CELLARS.  Off Route 211, between Little Washington and Sperryville. Old World family atmosphere.  Italian inspired tasting room and spacious sun splashed deck overlooking the vineyard and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Focus is on small lots from select vineyard blocks reflecting diverse growing conditions and microclimates of Virginia's best viticulture areas, as well as their own Rappahannock vineyard featuring an Old Vines Cabernet Franc.
GRAY GHOST VINEYARDS.  In Amissville, 11 miles west from Warrenton on Route 211.  Grapes are hand-picked and the wine is aged in premium oak barrels. Full bodied reds are unfiltered and lighter-styled wines are fermented at lower temperatures to enhance fruit character. Emphasis on quality resulted in being named "Best of the East" by Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine!  Knowledgeable staff, southern hospitality, beautiful picnic grounds and spacious indoor facilities.
MEDITERRANEAN CELLARS.  Near Warrenton, just off US 17N. Rich in family wine making tradition and warm hospitality - Mediterranean style!   Small scale winery in a picturesque setting offers intimate wine tasting experience.  If Papa Louie is not out tending his vines, you will personally experience his charm during a barrel room visit to taste the wines and savor "Romance," a very special blend reminiscent of the Greek Isles.  Mrs. Papadopoulos serves a gourmet selection of Mediterranean finger foods on weekends. 
Telephone 540-428-1984
OASIS WINERY.  In Hume on the western edge of Fauquier County, off I-66 (take Marshall or Front Royal exits).  One of Virginia's oldest wineries and voted one of the best by Washingtonian Magazine readers.  Featuring, romance, award winning wines, simple escapes and catered picnics.  Visitors are most welcome guests sure to experience an "OASIS" that is not a mirage, right here in Virginia! Available for special events, weddings, corporate retreats and VIP wine tours.
PEARMUND CELLARS.  Off Georgetown Road in Broad Run in eastern Fauquier County (take 1-66 from Gainesville to Exit 43S).  Family owned and operated and featuring a unique 7500 square foot geothermal winery. Explore and linger in the Italian-tiled barrel room with its first-of-its-kind in the US barrel stacking system. Warm, friendly ambiance in the tasting room and picnic areas surrounded by row upon row of vines and picturesque views of the 1743 vintage farm. Light fare, gifts, local artwork and special children's corner.
UNICORN WINERY.  In Amissville seven miles west of Warrenton on Route 622.  One of the friendliest wineries in Virginia.  Picnic in the vineyard or relax on the banks of the Rappahannock River.  Enjoy a glass of award winning Viognier or Meritage Bordeaux blend as you sit on the deck overlooking a scenic koi-stocked pond. Wine shop features unique and hard-to-find wine accessories.  Available for weddings, corporate events and family re-unions.
RAPPAHANNOCK CELLARS.  Corner of Route 522 and Hume Road, seven miles south of Front Royal (one mile west of Oasis Winery).  John Delmare moved his family's winery from California to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. With careful tending of the vineyard and exacting knowledge of the cellar, they have created award winning, rich, supple and elegant wines dedicated to the winegrower's art.  A truly family-run winery and vineyard. Home of the 2006 Governor's Cup.
STILLHOUSE VINEYARDS.  In Hume, take I-66 to exit 18 at Markham to Route 688.  Also family owned and operated.  Twenty seven acres of gentle rolling hills support nine acres of vines and two ponds. Hand crafted wines in a beautiful setting with views that are second to none. Indoor and outdoor seating.  Gourmet cheeses, crackers and truffled fudges.  
WINERY AT LA GRANGE.  In Haymarket just off I-66.  Picturesque setting with circa 1790 manor house tasting hall featuring artifacts and southern hospitality reminiscent of bygone era. Winery's stately elegance and graciousness are mirrored in the expert craftsmanship of the winemaker, Chris Pearmund. Monthly winemakers' dinners catered by some of the area's most talented chefs. Available for social events.  Close proximity to some of Northern Virginia's best golf courses.
For complete details about the wineries of the Blue Ridge Wine Way, see the 2007 Virginia Wine Guide or go to  In addition, each of the winery web sites lists the many special events happening during the month of September.
New Winemaker at Doukenie Winery, Sebastien Marquet Samples this Month's Selection
The Virginia Wine of the Month comes from Doukénie Winery (formerly Windham Winery).  The selection includes NV Mandolin and 2005 Cabernet Franc. 
One of Doukénie's more popular wines, the MV Mandolin is a blend of Traminette, Vidal Blanc and  Chardonnay.  The first two varietals were grown by nearby vineyards and the Chardonnay is from the 2006 harvest of Doukénie's own estate vineyard.   The aroma is of rose petals, a floral nose with fruit and spice.  It is off dry with 1.5% residual sweetness and balanced with good acidity for structure.  Intended to be consumed as a young, fruity wine, it should be served chilled.
Just awarded a gold medal in the 2007 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Doukénie's 2005 Cabernet Franc has a taste described as similar to a Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, with deep fruit, dark flavors and elegance.   One can detect a delicious smoky raspberry-chocolate flavor and a great finish.  It is a winning blend of Cabernet Franc, Tannat and Petite Verdot.  It can age and improve for a minimum of five years, but it is very approachable now.  Serve at cool cellar temperature, around 55 to 60 degrees.


Greene County.  Showcases the finest wines, foods and products Virginia has to offer.
Lime Kiln Theatre in Lexington.  A day of wine samplings, live music, food and local vendors.
Morven Park Equestrian Center in Leesburg
The granddaddy of all wine festivals!  Includes 60 wineries, gourmet cuisine, seminars, music, arts and crafts.  Rain or shine.
Neptune Park at 31st Street on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  Sample the finest wines Virginia has to offer.
Lakeside at Bernards Landing in Moneta.  Features 26 wineries and 85 craft and food vendors, plus live entertainment.
September 1:  LAKE ANNA WINERY
HARVESTFEST,  "I Love Lucy" grape stomping.
September 8-9:  VERAMAR VINEYARD
Dress like Elvis, get 10% off.  Sing like Elvis, get 20% off.  IF YOU ARE ELVIS, THE WINE IS FREE.
September 16:  DELFOSSE WINERY
ONE OF A KIND "VIVE LA FRANCE" CELEBRATION.  Stomp the grapes.  Enjoy fantastique bistro fare.  Wear a beret and receive free glass of wine.
September 16-17:  BREAUX VINEYARDS
HARVEST FESTIVAL & LOBSTER FEAST.  By reservation only:  call 540-668-6299
September 22:  DOUKENIE WINERY
Stomp the grapes to the music of Italy.
September 22-23:  TARARA WINERY
For a complete list of winery festivals and events, as well as directions to the wineries, go to
Beginning next month, we will begin a new series featuring Bed and Breakfasts around the state of Virginia!  
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