The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

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Recipients of Third Annual Tucker Hill Memorial Scholarship Named

As a former high school English and journalism teacher and an artist, I’m always happy to see young people recognized for their artistic accomplishments and interests.

To recognize such talent in youth, the Firnew Farm Artists’ Circle has given the this year’s Tucker Hill Memorial Scholarship to Rebekah Libertore, a graduate from William Monroe High School in Greene County, and Shawn Sudduth, a senior from Madison County High School. Held by the Blue Ridge Consevancy, the scholarship awarded Libertore and Sudduth $500 each.

–– Greg Huddleston

Wine by the Glass: A Virginia Celebration

Following on the success of last year’s promotion, the Virginia Wine Industry is set to dazzle with the 2nd Annual Wine by the Glass event, Love by the Glass, March 18-27. This week coincides with Virginia Wine Week. Sounds like a good match!

Just to make certain you totally understand the breadth of possibilities of the Virginia wine industry, they just launched Virginia Wine TV. When you’re scrolling through wine regions and individual wineries, the site promises to fulfill your need with interviews and information to tempt your palate before you ever leave your computer.

Then you can hit the road and sample a range of wines from participants in the wine by the glass event. Several hotels and inns have created special packages and a number of retailers and restaurants are happy to be onboard.

What’s not to love?

The Red Wine Winner….

After weeks of speculation about which of Virginia’s gold medal finalists would win the coveted 2011 Virginia Governor’s Cup highest honor, the honoree was announced on Friday at the Virginia Wineries Association event in Richmond. The finalists were Afton Mountain’s 2009 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Barboursville Winery‘s 2008 Petit Verdot, Cooper Vineyards‘ 2008 Norton, Fox Meadow Vineyards‘ 2008 Le Renard Rouge Meritage, Hiddencroft Vineyards‘ 2008 Cabernet Franc, and Keswick Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc.

First Lady Maureen McDonnell, who has extensively traveled the state supporting the Virginia wine industry, presented the top  honor to Fox Meadow Winery for its Le Renard Rouge Meritage of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot. This is their fourth vintage of Le Renard Rouge, and their 2006 and 2007 vintages earned previous gold medals in this same competition. Overall, Cabernet Franc had a very good showing in wine competitions! Here are the members of the Mortland family with the First Lady.

In other news from the award ceremony, Dennis Horton won the Gordon W. Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering work in developing and promoting Virginia wine. Remember that it was not that many years ago when the Virginia wine industry was a fledgling business with just a few wineries. Now there are over 190 wineries in the state making it one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors.

No Virginia wine article would be complete without mentioning the continually circulating rumor that Kluge Estates will join Donald Trump’s empire. This is a story we will continue to follow!

Congratulations to all the wineries. Virginia has a right to be proud!

Impressive Recognition

It’s been a big month for chef Melissa Close Hart of Palladio. She prepared her 4th dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. Remember a chef does not just plan such an event, but is invited by the Foundation; that, in itself, is an honor. Then at the end of last week she was selected by the Foundation as one of the top 20 chefs in the Mid-Atlantic region. Multiple congratulations to Melissa. If you want to see info about the NYC event, you’re in luck.

The Winery had a big week, too, as Barboursville was honored in the most recent wine competition, the Winemaker Challenge, International Competition in San Diego. They earned a Gold for the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve and a Silver for the 2007 Octagon. Impressive.

Stay tuned, it’s a big wine week as First Lady Maureen McDonnell selects the top red Virginia wine on Friday during the Virginia Wine VIP Governor’s Cup Grand Tasting in Richmond.

A Wine Wonderful Virginia Valentine

A few weeks ago we gave you a heads up about a special Wine and Food Showcase. Now it’s time to start planning this coming weekend’s outing to take advantage of all the events at the Fifth Annual Wine and Food Showcase (discount price link valid until 2/10!). Chantilly’s Westfields Marriott will be the site of the two-day event, Saturday and Sunday February 12 and 13.

There’ll be chef-driven demonstrations, free seminars, and an opportunity to taste a record number of impressive wines. Instead of visiting a single winery in a weekend, you can form a better palate-producing taste at the Showcase. Maybe this is a good event to bring along a non-drinking friend who’ll be more food focused while you do the important sampling! You have a few days to plan your outing so you can maximize all the great events.

Food, wine, and chocolate: A perfect formula for a one-stop trip.

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