Saturday, April 02, 2011

Grapes of Taste in Ladysmith, VA

On our way down to Richmond, we pulled of the road for a rest stop, and found out we were in Ladysmith, VA, in Caroline County, birthplace of Triple Crown winner Secretariat. When we asked if there wasa vineyard near, we weretold no, but there is a place called Grapes of Taste. It was a shop that specialized in Virinia wine. Ben, my friend and co-conspirator, agreed to investigate.

Grapes of Taste is owned by Kay and Wayne Brooks are both life-long residents of Virginia. Kay is from Ashland and Wayne is from Fredericksburg and they have made Caroline County their home for over thirty years. They have three children – Heather, Hunter and Ashby. Heather married Troy Smith and we now have one grandson – Jett. Kay is the Director of the Caroline Library system which she volunteered to help start and ended up getting the job as Director. Wayne has worked for local and state governments for 25 years and currently works with the Spotsylvania County Utilities Department as their construction Manager.

Both are active in the community and belong to many civic organizations. Kay has always been interested in wines and thought it might be an interesting “retirement” career. Wayne saw her having so much fun developing the business and making contacts with the vineyards, “my” wine shop became “our” wine shop.

Because of her 25+ years working with the library, Kay already knows a lot of the people in the Caroline community but since opening the shop on July 4, 2007, she and Wayne have made many new friends. All are happy to have a wine shop in their community. Kay plans to develop the wine shop like she did the library system – learning the likes and dislikes of the clientele and then stocking it with popular requests. She encourages everyone to “let us know if you do not see something you like.” We have a running request list that she reviews each week.

Kay and Wayne do not claim to be experts on wines and are learning something new every day. They plan to share this new knowledge with their customers. They carry the following: Afton Mountain, Barboursville Vineyards, Blenheim Vineyards, Breaux, Burnley Vineyards, Chateau Morrisette, Cooper Vineyards, Delfosse Vineyard and Winery, First Colony, Horton Vineyards, Ingleside Plantation Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, Lake Anna Winery, Naked Mountain Vinyard, North Mountain, Oakencroft Vineyard, Pearmund Cellars, Rappahannock Cellars, Rockbridge Vineyards, Valhalla, White Hall Vineyards, Williamsburg Winery and more. I found may wines I have not been able to find for some time. I walked out with a full mixed case.