Monday, April 24, 2006

At Annual “Unity Banquet”. . .Wine & Grape Foundation Says: “Thank You!”

Many people were honored, including the late Willy Frank and Millbrook Vineyards.

April 6th 2006 — GENEVA, NY, April 6, 2006 – The New York Wine & Grape Foundation said a big “Thank You” to several individuals and businesses at its annual “Unity Banquet” on Wednesday, April 5th at Ventosa Vineyards in Geneva.

The Foundation is a statewide, not-for-profit trade association representing grape growers, grape juice manufacturers, wineries and others in the Lake Erie/Chautauqua, Niagara Escarpment, Finger Lakes, Hudson River, Long Island and other regions. Part of its mandate is to stimulate coordination and cooperation among all segments of the industry in all regions.

The Unity Banquet was created 19 years ago as a way to recognize, encourage, and celebrate cooperation among the diverse grape and wine community as a way to enhance industry unity. “Diversity is our strength, and unity is our power,” said Foundation President Jim Trezise. In addition to the “Unity Award”, several others have been added in different categories over the years.

The 2006 “Unity Award” was presented to Nathan Rudgers and Ruth Moore, the former Commissioner and First Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. The Department has always been a vital partner for the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and the overall industry, with levels of cooperation and synergy reaching new heights during Nathan Rudgers’ tenure. While the Commissioner is by law an official member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Ruth Moore represented the Department on his behalf, serving as an active and engaged Board member for several years.

A special “Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to the family of the late Willy Frank, who passed away in March at the age of 80. His wife Margrit and son Fred, who has served as President of Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars since 1993, accepted the award. For decades right up to the end, Willy was a tireless missionary for New York wines whose impact was felt internationally, as evidenced by an email which Jim Trezise received from Paris praising Willy’s passion for wine and life.

The “Industry Award”—presented to an individual who has made a major contribution in advancing the interests of the New York grape and wine industry—was presented to the late Barbara Adams, former Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, who passed away unexpectedly last year. Barbara had been in the Finger Lakes wine industry for years, working at Knapp Vineyards and Glenora Wine Cellars; was largely responsible for organizing the first Finger Lakes Wine Festival; and helped propel the Seneca Lake Wine Trail to new prominence. Cal Adams, Barbara’s husband and Julie Adam’s, Barbara’s daughter, accepted the award in Barbara’s memory.

The “Grower Award” presented to Louis and Donna Gridley recognizes vineyardists who have made exceptional contributions to the New York grape and wine industry. The Gridley’s are long-time growers who have also been actively involved in different industry organizations like the New York State Wine Grape Growers, New York Farm Bureau, and Women for New York State Wines. Donna has served as President of WNYSW for several years, and travels the state promoting New York wines.

The “Winery Award”— which recognizes wineries that have advanced the widespread recognition and quality reputation of New York wines—was presented to Millbrook Vineyard & Winery in the Hudson River Region. Created over two decades ago by John Dyson, Millbrook has been a pioneer in many respects. Its all-vinifera vineyard on the east side of the Hudson River has yielded valuable information along award-winning wines. Mr. Dyson has also made major financial contributions to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s research program, and has long been a leader in the successful drive to allow direct interstate shipment of wine. Winemaker John Graziano and marketer Stacy Hudson accepted the award for Millbrook.

The “Research Award” for major contributions in research and education to benefit the New York grape and wine industry was presented to the Vineyard Laboratory at Fredonia, and accepted by Rick Dunst. The Lake Erie grape belt contains over two-thirds of all New York vineyard acreage, and the Vineyard Laboratory at Fredonia has been a vital source of research and information to the hundreds of grape growers in the area.

The “Restaurant Award”—for excellence in promoting New York wines as part of a fine dining experience—was presented to Ports CafĂ© in Geneva. While located in a modest building on Route 14 south of Geneva, Ports has an eclectic menu and a superb selection of New York wines among those of the world. The staff is also well-trained, helpful, and enthusiastic when it comes to recommending local wines to their customers.

The “Retailer Award” recognizes wine stores which do an exceptional job in educating consumers about the quality and variety of New York wines. The 2006 award was presented to Burton Notarius, President of Prime Wines Corporation. “This award is richly deserved and long overdue,” said Jim Trezise. Burt Notarius is one of the “superstar” wine retailers in the United States, has three large stores in the Buffalo area as well as an on-line service, and carries a huge selection of New York wines. The reason he didn’t receive this award until now is that for the past 15 years he served on the Board of Directors of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, which has a policy that neither active Board members or staff may receive these awards.

The “Distributor Award” recognizing extraordinary support of New York wines was presented to Sandy Waters of Eber Bros. Wine & Liquor Corp. Eber Bros. has the largest selection of New York wines of any wholesaler, and Sandy Waters is the New York Wine Manager responsible for marketing and sales. The wineries she represents at Eber have praised her energy, enthusiasm, and success in marketing their brands.

The “Consumer Award” recognizes individuals who enthusiastically support New York wines and enjoy wine in moderation as part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. The 2006 recipient was Phyllis Bauer, a former grape grower who has remained active in several organizations such as the New York State Wine Grape Growers, Women for New York State Wines, and New York Farm Bureau.

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is a private, not-for-profit, statewide organization which conducts promotion and research programs in support of the state's grape growers, wineries, and grape juice producers. The Foundation was created by state legislation in 1985 during an economic crisis in the grape and wine industry, which is now the fastest growing industry in New York's two largest sectors of agriculture (#1) and tourism (#2). Based on a comprehensive strategic plan, the Foundation's overall goal is "To have the New York grape and wine industry recognized as a world leader in quality, productivity and social responsibility." The Foundation is headquartered in the Finger Lakes region, which includes about half of the state's wineries and accounts for about 90% of total production.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Trezise, President, NYWGF, 315-536-7442, ext. 11, fax 315-536-0719,,

Additional Contact for this subject: Kim Kelsey, Marketing Events Director, 315-536-7442, ext. 15, fax 315-536-0719,,

Released April 6, 2006

Pindar's Pythagoras

Dominique and I recently opened up a bottle of Pindar Pythagoras. Pindar's red blend is an interesting proposition.

A very special red wine crafted geometrically by Pindar's master winemaker for the expressed use of their proprietor to celebrate Pindar's 15th anniversary. A non vintage -rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Dry, complex, a subtle fruity bouquet dominates the palate. Called Pindar's "Mini-Mythology."

Pindar, the name derived from the great Hellenic poet from Sparta , was founded in 1979 by the entrepreneurial Dr. Herodotus "Dan" Damianos. Starting off with just thirty acres of uncultivated land, Dr. Damianos envisioned the grand possibilities for his fledgling vineyard. His dream is being actualized for the ever expanding Pindar currently encompasses nearly 550 acres of prime viticultural property and is Long Island 's largest same family owned vineyard. Sixteen different vinifera varieties are grown at Pindar including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and lesser known varieties such as Viognier and Syrah. Pindar produces over 60,000 cases of fine varietal wines. Today, Dr. Dan and his three sons, Alex, Jason and Pindar Damianos, work together on all aspects of the business at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic.

All this goes to say, we opened a bottle of Pythagoras the other night as my wife, a Philadelphia Flyers fan, and I watched a hockey playoff game. We sipped this very nice table red, as she cheered. And we sipped some more. Nice, bright flavors, and a elegant finish. Being a Rangers fan, I was already let down by their play earlier in the day, but Pythagoras really helped bring a smile to my face before the night was out.

Try a bottle the next time you go to your favorite BYOB restaurant. You'll defintely be glad you did.

Naylor Chambourcin

I was looking for a nice pinot noir for a luncheon Dominique and I hosted Captain James McGinis and his lovely wife Diane. Dominique had made two wonderful quiches, one broccoli and cheddar, and one was ham, brie, and apple. Both were excellent.

So there I was, rummaging through some chateauneuf-du-pape or pinot noir, looking for a nice light red. And these, among my French wines, I found a bottle of Naylor Chambourcin 1996. I had forgotten I ever owned it. It was very dusty and dirty. I wiped off the bottle and pulled out the decanter. I figured, I'd open it up. If it hadn't gone bad, if I hadn't suffered any spoilage, then I'd serve it and roll the dice.

Nestled among the green valleys of southern York County in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania are 80 acres of sensual adventure just waiting to be discovered. This is Naylor wine country, where some of Pennsylvania's most rewarded and respected estate wines are grown, fermented, aged and bottled according to traditions dating as far back as the 1800's.

Naylor Wine Cellars is a member of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, which includes such fantastic wineries as, Adams County Winery, Ortanna, PA, Allegro Vineyards, Brogue, PA, Basignani Winery, Sparks, MD, Boordy Vineyards, Hydes, MD, Fiore Winery, Pylesville, MD, Seven Valleys Vineyard, Glen Rock, PA, Woodhall Vineyards & Wine Cellars, Parkton, MD. It is one of the unsung wine trails on he east coast. But that's another column.

We had some soft ripened cheese from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company (Chatham, New York) and washed it down with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot in the living room. We then adjourned to the diningroom.

We swirled the wine around the decantor again and again. It was wonderful! Bright cherry with nice acidity and a wonderful finish. It was quite the tremendous surprise. And every one was very happy. A tremnedous lunch was had by all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Le Breton" a Star for Schnieder Vineyards

So I went to dinner with a good friend of mine, Mike Morales, an insurance executive from AIG. We have been good friends for years. The other night, while our wives were home, tending children and making dinners, we had a night out on the town - two middle-aged bon vivnts.

We met at 11 Madison, the restaurant on 24th Street and Madison. I waited at the bar and had two Oatmeal Stouts. With dinner, we talked of old times, politics, religon, careers, etc. We don't always agree, but we always manage to have a great conversation and enjoy each other's comapny immensely.

We started off with foix gras, and a bottle Le Comtesse Pichon Longville-Leland. It was a fabulous, deep red. A classic deep French wine. Sophisticated. Complex.

Then we decided to order something a little differet. I ordered a Schneider Vineyards Cabernet Franc Le Breton Estate 2004. This 100% cabernet franc was fermented at cool temperatures and blended with 10% bone dry rose of cabernet franc. This medium bodied wine displays bright red cherry fruit up-front, minerality, and a crisp refreshing finish. 360 cases produced.

We had it decanted at the table, and it was marvelous. The longer I swirled it around in the decanter, the more miraculously it opened up.

I am late in reviewing this wine. My friend Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours reiewed it last November in 2005. He was able to attend the tasting. I however, due to my heavy work schedule from other areas, rarely attend such events. I envy Lenn immensely...and we agree on a great many wines. I often look to see what he is reviewing, because he's usually way ahead of me when it comes to New York state. So I have never really fallen into the fashion of reviewing when wines are released. Sometimes I am behind...sometimes I am on time. I review them when I enjoy them. This was a special occasion. I had not seen Mike in some time, and I was a little nervous, afraid my recommendation might not work out. Mr. Wine Expert turns up a dud? Would a Long Island Cabernet Franc hold up after a French classic? But I had nothing to fear. We enjoyed a meal of spiced, grilled pork, and swirled the wine around in the decanter and in our glasses, and told stories of the old days, told bad jokes, and stories out of school, and laughed. It was a wonderful dinner, and a tremendous red wine. We talked about our wives and our children, sports, and enjoyed a tremendous time. "Le Breton" is special bottle to be enjoyed with friends and family alike.

Schnieder Vineyards does it again.

Famed Critic Michael Broadbent Raves About Barboursville!

(above photo MIchael Broadbent and Luca Paschina)
- From Barboursville Vineyards
A historic evening for the winery, and for Virginia's wine recognition worldwide, began as so many do, with the most conventional expectations. On November 1st, the world's most trusted writer on the wines of Bordeaux came to Palladio to host a dinner to raise funds for Charlottesville's Discovery Museum, with signings of his just-published masterpiece, Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine: Fifty Years of Tasting Three Centuries of Wines. Having won an incomparable 3 Glenfiddich Awards for estimable writings of lesser scope, his "magnum opus" was clearly the star of this exuberant fund-raising dinner.

The dean of the international wine-writing establishment, Decanter editor, and Christie's director of wines, Michael Broadbent was "braced to be benevolently critical but not too condescending," when he learned that local wines would be served. His tastings from that visit, reported at length in his 308th column for Decanter (February, 2002), constitute more than a discovery, as he writes -- they were a "revelation."

Under the title, "To be perfectly franc," Broadbent describes his astonishment at the Cabernet Franc he discovered that night, grown in Virginia. Commenting on Octagon Third Edition, his tasting note found an "opaque core, impressive; despite a high Merlot content, the 15% Cabernet Franc, with an arboreal crisp fruit aroma shone through; ripe though leaner, full bodied and seriously good." (A tasting as enthusiastic as "seriously good," Broadbent readers will know, perilously approaches that "over the top" praise he humorously strives to avoid).

Westcoast Raves for Eastcoast Wines!!!!

Read this fascinating article about raves for eastcoast wines by a Napa Valley reporter!

Dan Berger
Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:12 AM PST

Virginia's vinous bounty

Gordon Murchie must believe in bringing flamingos to Florida or beer to Germany since he has, for the last 15 years, brought wine to California's wine country.

Virginian wine, to be specific, and his latest foray into the darkest reaches of Napa and Sonoma came earlier this month with wine tastings intending to raise the awareness of locals about the fact that the home state of Thomas Jefferson also makes darn good wine.

But where California boasts it is king with cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, Virginia is proud of cabernet franc and viognier. The state now has 122 bonded wineries and a growing list of fans.

I judged the 1989 Virginia Governor's Cup wine competition and saw a nascent industry at a stage when only a tiny number of the wines were even commercially sound. Far too many were undrinkable.

Today's tasting at the Sonoma County Welcome Center wasn't heavily attended. But those who showed up got a chance to try some remarkably fine wines, many from the personal cellar of Murchie, a lifelong Foreign Service officer and now the president of his state's Vinifera Wine Growers Association.

"A number of these wines are sold out," said Murchie, pointing to a handful of newly released cabernet francs. "Demand for them is pretty strong."

Murchie's quest to enlighten the Californian heathens to Virginia's vinous bounty is selfless. No one pays his way. He's sort of the Johnny Wineseed of the Old Dominion state.

What was evident in the tasting was that as good as the white wines of Virginia are, it was cabernet franc that stood out. I found many to recommend.

Cabernet franc is a potentially superb red wine grape for many states that cannot hope to compete with California's cabernet sauvignon in terms of weight, concentration, power and overall "impressiveness."

There is nothing "impressive" about Virginia's cabernet francs except the fact that they smell good, taste good and go great with food. In fact, where most of California's cabernet sauvignons today are 14.5 percent alcohol or higher, most of the cabernet francs from Virginia weighed in at a refreshing 12.5 percent, with a few of the "heavyweights" at 13.0 percent!

Another impressive thing about Virginia cabernet francs is that most hover under the $20 price barrier, and are francly (pun intended) terrific red wines to pour with dinner.

The best for me was the 2004 Barboursville Cabernet Franc ($20), with a deep earthy-cherry aroma and a faint black pepper note for complexity. I also liked the Wintergreen Cabernet Franc ($18), with its fresh and dried cherry complexity and great structure, and the 2003 Lake Anna Cabernet Franc ($18), with cherry and spice characteristics.

Cabernet franc is also a superb grape variety in New York's Finger Lakes district, and it has been made into an attractive wine by a number of California wine makers, from Cosentino and Clos du Val in the Napa Valley to Raymond Burr in Sonoma.

Murchie's two-person march through California wine country with the Virginia wines (his wife, Anita, was an integral part of his passionate trek) shows him to be extremely knowledgeable about wine in general, and he doesn't tout Virginia the way Sheldon Leonard touted horses to Jack Benny.

Despite his pleasure in how fast Virginia has leapt into the world of great wine, he doesn't overplay his hand and merely suggests that those with an interest in wine visit Virginia and try them on site.

To do that painlessly, he suggests calling (703) 373-6000 for a copy of the free, informative guide to Virginia wineries, just published.

Wine of the Week: 2005 Four Emus Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, Western Australia ($11) -- Very stylish white wine that has a trace of fresh fruit, new mown hay and melon from the former grape, and a bit of a stalky quality from the latter. Nice crisp finish. Should work well with a wide variety of seafood dishes finished with lemon rather than butter or cream.

Dan Berger resides in Sonoma County. Berger publishes a weekly newsletter on wine and can be reached at

Napa County Register:

Easter Surprise – Bartlett’s Oak Dry Blueberry

To say my family is filled with wine snobs is a slight understatement. Every holiday, I insist they try some new east coast wine. And they have been pleasantly surprised on many occasions. Yet, every time I announce yet some other new wine, they roll their eyes and groan. “Here we go again,” they utter.

Now, left to their won devices, they would drink deep, dark California, French, Italian and Chilean reds until their eyes fell out. Chiantis, Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Petite Syrahs, Zinfandels, and Bordeaux blends usually draw raves.

So, when I decided to decant a bottle of Bartlett’s Oak Dry Blueberry wine for an hour or two in a wide bottomed decanter…I decided to hide the bottle. Actually, I had decanted another wine…a California…and lied to my guests. I served them the Bartlett’s and told them it was the California wine. With the exception of one out of fifteen people, the wine drew raves…and utter amazement when I revealed the truth.

Amid the Jack Daniel's glazed ham, roasted spring peas, roasted baby potatoes, and surpirsingly fabulous pineapple stuffing, and frresh carrots, we drank.

The wine is a Syrah/Malbec-ish purple ringed in deep-red. The fruit that springs on you is dark berries and the finish is dry and smooth as silk. A fabulous wine. I know we’re about to enter the summer whites…but if you visit Maine this summer, make sure you try this exciting wine. You will be surprised, but I won’t have lied to you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cooler Heads Prevail in Maryland

Rob Deford, president of Boordy Vineyards (right) and Del. Virginia P. Clagett raise their glasses after a news conference announcing the compromise on legislation regulating the sale of wine. (Sun photo by Kim Hairston) Apr 6, 2006

Complete disaster was averted in early April as a sane compromise was proposed and accepted by both parties. Smaller wineries won big, and the state’s three largest wineries we’re relatively unaffected. I was a great, great day in Maryland.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief! Read the excerpt from the Baltimore Sun or go to the Sun’s webpage at the URL below for the full story.

Wine bill compromise struck
Proposal allows most vineyards to sell to retailers

By Andrew A. Green
Originally published April 7, 2006, Baltimore Sun

Almost all Maryland wineries will retain the ability to sell directly to retailers and restaurants under a compromise reached with liquor wholesalers, averting what winemakers feared could have been a death knell for their fledgling industry.

Under the new proposal, which has the support of leaders in the General Assembly and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., wineries that produce less than 27,500 gallons annually will be eligible for a limited wholesaler's license. That would enable them to avoid contracting with a third-party wholesaler, which winemakers said is cost prohibitive for small operations.

The legislation is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that said a state could not exempt its wineries from a three-tier system of regulation without extending the same privilege to out-of-state winemakers.

Owners of Maryland wineries gathered with legislators, Ehrlich, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele and others to offer a toast of thanks yesterday morning.

"Thank you all, from the governor to the legislature to everyone who supported us," Rob DeFord, owner of Boordy Vineyards in Baltimore County, said while raising a glass of Maryland wine. "Cheers!"

The 27,500 gallon cutoff allows 19 of Maryland's 22 wineries to continue selling as they were able to before the Supreme Court decision. The three larger wineries all use wholesalers already.

Read more at:,0,3534290.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Castello di Borghese For Sale

Lenndevours, one of my favorite blogs, hands down, reported today that Hargrave/Castello di Borghese is for sale. Lenn Thompson, wine blogger extraordinaire, reported the sale. He wrote:

"As of last weekend, my favorite Long Island pinot noir producer, in Cutchogue, went on the market for $9.2 million. The entire estate is included — 85 acres (25 planted with vines), winery, tasting room, warehouse and beautiful family farmhouse.

"Before current owners Marco and Ann Marie Borghese bought the property in 1999, the property was known as Hargrave Vineyard — Long Island's first commercial vineyard, founded in 1973 by Alex and Louisa Hargrave. The Borgheses bought the vineyard and winery for $4 million."

To read the interview with the owners, go to:

The 2006 Virginia Wine Guide

The 2006 Virginia Wine Guide is now available to download! Or you can order a hardcopy for you old fashioned types who like those laptops from the 1400s.

It is the single best source for information on Virginia Wine Country wineries and events.

To receive your FREE copy, please send them a request. Include your full name and address. And let them know how you heard about Virginia wines. You should receive the Guide in about 7 to 10 working days.

Email them at:

Or dowlaod at:


12 New Wineries Opening in Virginia in 2006!

As you can tell, I'm on a Virginia tear, here, and it's not going to end. Things are really happening down there. A friend from Alexandria recently asked me what I thought about Virginia wines...and I was effusive, to say the least. There are so many good things going on in Virginia wine right now, it's difficult to keep up. And I am very jealous, because I don't have the time to go down there right now, and start tasting. Very envious of those who do have the opportunity. If you live in Virginia, or if you are planning a little getaway, you better go to some of their wineries...or you are cheating yourself.

According to Cindy Cates, Director, Virginia Wine Marketing Office, "Virginia's own Thomas Jefferson would be proud. The father of American wine never dared to dream that in 2005 Virginia would be home to over 90 wineries, including 12 new ones, each with its own distinct character."

Three Fox Vineyards, opening on April 29 in Delaplane, brings a bit of Tuscany to Virginia. The vineyard, which sits on 50 acres of rolling countryside in the middle of Virginia's hunt country, is all about "La Dolce Vita," or the sweet life. Most of the plantings at Three Fox Vineyards are Italian varietals including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigot, and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard will have three of its 2004 vintage estate-produced wines available for tasting and purchase on opening day: Il Volpe ("fox" in Italian, a Sangiovese blend), "Alouette" (Cabernet Franc) and "La Boheme" (Viognier). (Contact: Holli or John Todhunter, Three Fox Vineyards, 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane, VA, (540) 364-6073,

Bloxom Vineyard, opening on Memorial Day, has the distinction of being the only vineyard on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The vineyard, which was once an old Victorian farm, is set on 35 acres just minutes south of Chincoteague Island. Bloxom Vineyard is owned by Robert Giardina and his wife, Francesca, who were born in Morocco and came to Virginia by way of New York City. Francesca, a pastry chef, makes cakes and candies that
are sold in the winery along with the vineyard's Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. The unique combination of fine wines and fine pastries makes an excursion to the vineyard a memorable one. (Contact: Robert Giardina, Bloxom Vineyard, 26130 Mason Road, Bloxom, VA, (757) 665-5670.)

Woodland Vineyard, which is open for business, is a peaceful haven for wine lovers located south of downtown Richmond. The intimate vineyard is situated on just four acres of land. "It's very small, very cozy," says owner Melissa Jeltema. Because the winery is small, Jeltema says she wanted to create traditional wines including Chardonnay, Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon and the winery's Woodsong, a Vidal Blanc. Woodland Vineyard offers tastings and tours, and has a scenic woodland patio for a picnic lunch and glass of wine. (Contact: Melissa Jeltema, Woodland Vineyard, 15501 Genito Road, Midlothian, VA, (804) 739-2774,

Belle Mount Vineyards, which is also open for business, is located on Virginia's historic Northern Neck. The vineyard occupies over 200 acres of land on what was once Belle Mount Plantation. The scenic setting features lush, rolling hills overlooking the Rappahannock River and Cat Point Creek. Belle Mount offers classic wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Catherine Petrie, owner, describes the winery as "multidimensional," with cottage rentals, a campground, a banquet facility, picnic areas and more. (Contact: Catherine or Ray Petrie, Belle Mount Vineyards, 2570 Newland Road, Warsaw, VA, (804) 333-4700 or (800) 335-5564,

Virginia's wineries are open to the public for tastings and tours, and many have special events planned around their fall harvest and the holidays. For more information including days and hours of operation, consult the 2005 Virginia Wineries Festival and Tour Guide, contact the Virginia Wine Marketing Office at (800) 828-4637 or visit

April 8, 2005
Cindy Cates
Director, Virginia Wine Marketing Office
(804) 371-7685,

24th Annual Vintage Virginia Wine Festival June 4 & 5

Drink in the beauty of the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival’s new location at the Historic Long Branch Farm. More than 45 Virginia wineries and 30 area restaurants will combine for a spectacular weekend of food, wine and fun. Sample a variety of wines while enjoying gourmet food from local restaurants. Explore fine arts and crafts from unique jewelry to custom-made furniture, and listen to some of the area’s most talented musicians playing a variety of music from acoustic, country, and pop rock, to funk, reggae, blues, and jazz. Be sure to visit our children’s area rides, petting zoo, and face painting. Adult admission includes a souvenir wineglass that enables holders to receive unlimited wine tastings as well as admission to wine seminars designed to enhance everyone’s appreciation and understanding of wine.

WHERE: Historic Long Branch Farm, Millwood, Virginia
(approximately 60 miles west of Washington D.C. and 10 miles east of Winchester, VA)

WHEN: Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5, 2005
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - rain or shine

TICKETS: Click and print tickets may now be purchased online at Individuals 21 and over - $20 in advance/$22 at the gate (Photo I.D. will be required at gate)
Designated Driver - $14 in advance/$16 at the gate
Individuals under 21 - $5
Bus Tickets - $11 (advance tickets only)
Children 2 and under - FREE
Group rates available (25 or more take $1 off advance adult ticket price)
Tickets are non-refundable and do not cover food and some activities.


NOTES: For more information, please visit or call 1.800.277.CORK (2675)

DIRECTIONS: Approximately 60 miles West of Washington, D.C. and 10 miles East of Interstate 81 Winchester. Long Branch is located off of Route 50 on Routes 624 & 626 in Millwood, VA.

From Washington, DC
Go West on Interstate 66 to exit 23, proceed on Route 17 North. Turn left on Route 50 West, cross the Shenandoah River, in approximately 2 miles turn left on Route 624 (Red Gate Road) proceed 1/2 mile. Follow signs to Long Branch

Scenic Route
Go West on Interstate 66 to Route 50 West (the Fair Oaks Exit) Proceed through Middleburg and Upperville across the Shenandoah River, in approximately 2 miles turn left on Route 624 for 1/2 mile and follow signs to Long Branch.

From Northern Virginia
Take the Capital Beltway Route 495 to Interstate 66 West. Then follow the directions From Washington DC.

From Interstate 81
Take exit 313 to Route 50 approximately 13 miles. Turn right on route 624 and proceed 1/2 mile. Follow signs to Long Branch.

The Virginia Wineries Association, established in 1983, and sponsor of Vintage Virginia, is a non-profit, member-supported trade organization, representing the wineries of Virginia and dedicated to promoting public wine education and appreciation, wine and health research, quality wine production, market development and growth of the wine industry.

April 21, 2005
Contact: Rick Franke
Shows, Inc.
(410) 267-6711

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rappahannock Cellar's Cabernet Franc and Viognier Are Wonderful!

As an aspiring vineyard owner, a dreamer just like you, I often wonder what it would be like to own an operating vineyard. To me, it seems like nirvana, though to hear about it from grapegrowers, it's more like a battle royale against mother nature.

The family that owns Rappahannock had it great. They owned a winery in California. But that wasn't enough. They pulled up stakes and started a new winery in Virginia.

"We are often asked, 'How does growing grapes and making wine in Virginia compare with California?'" says winery owner John Delmare. "My answer is simple, 'It doesn’t. It’s a lot harder!' You have to be an astute farmer to deal with the difficult conditions here, as well as a more flexible and intuitive wine maker. Mother Nature doles out something different every year, but you can usually count on plenty of moisture during the growing season. This keeps the farmer in us on our toes while we battle a myriad of grapevine diseases. California tends to be extremely consistent from year to year in any given vineyard – not so in Virginia."

Well, thank goodness for small favors. Dominique and I decided to treat ourselves and go out to dinner for the first time in months. She told me to go down stairs and find a nice bottle of wine. I looked...we have lots of California cabs, Chilean reds, Bordeaux blends, Italian reds...but I wanted to try something different. I kept searching when finally I saw something we hadn't had in some time...a Rappahannock Cellars Cabernet Franc. We haven't been down to Virginia in a little bit, so my Virginia supplies are running a little short. This was a great opportunity.

We arrived at the restuarant, Lorenzo's in Freehold, New Jersey. We shared a rich lobster bisque, and she had a wonderful seafood pasta with an aromatic red sauce and I had a double veal chop with grilled polenta and potato-hash with Italian sausage. The cork popped, and away went the cares of the week.

The color was a deep purple. And the nose was all cherry and vanilla. Bright red fruits, cherries and raspberries came through, with a soft vanilla tinge, and a nice smooth finish. Rappahannock smooths out their Cabernet Franc with a little Merlot (about 15%), which makes it wonderful.

In the past, the Cabernet Franc has won a Gold Medal from the 2003 Atlanta International Wine Summit, Silver Medals from the 2004 Governors Cup, Florida International, 2003 Virginia State Fair and 2003 Vinifera Wine Growers Competition and Bronze medal from the Indy International Wine Competition!!

However, their biggest coup recently was to be named "Best Wine of the East" for their 2004 Viognier, at the 2006 Atlanta International Wine Suummit. Considering some of the very nice viogniers being made, that's quite a claim to fame.

These are wines to look for. Go to this address and see where you can find some Rappahannock Cellars, and leave your cares behind!