The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Wineries (page 1 of 43)

Our spring issue is out-and it’s a good one!

Subscribers should have theirs already, and I am in the process of delivering to newsstands.

pea soup for webThis issue features a section of beautiful Piedmont home profiles, an article with about veterans who return from service and take up farming by Marian Burros, and a photo essay by Doug Graham, photographer from Capitol Hill who found joy in photography again in photographing the local area around his home in Bluemont.

Also featured are the Poetry of Perry Epes about restoring a historical house in Loudoun County by our new writer, Morgan Hensley. Adopting ducklings and homesteading, native flowers, and helpful gardening gadgets by Carla Hogue are also explored. For wildlife, we have an article by Glenda Booth about the Snakehead fish which is spreading through Piedmont rivers, and our food section covers local spring foods, with recipes from Brian Lichorowic and Laurie Beth Gills. Our vineyard this issue is Glen Manor Vineyards by Kit Johnston. And for art, we have delicate handmade lace by the Piedmont Lace Guild.

And two articles from Walter Nicklin, founder of the Piedmont Virginian, round out the issue: “Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?” previously published online, and his regular Letter from Amissville, a reflection on our love for the Piedmont, especially in the springtime!

Oh….and our photo contest is coming up again…details coming soon on

We are now hard at work on the summer issue, which I am very excited about. We will have a large section on Farm to Table in the Piedmont, a photo essay on rivers in the Piedmont (perfect for summer!), some history about Suffragists and a memorial going up in Prince William to honor them, a profile of Larry Keel, Piedmont bluegrass musician, by Eric Wallace, and, of course, all our regular writers featuring poetry, art, the environment, recipes….covering everything that is special in our Piedmont.

You can pick up a copy at one of our local newsstands (see or subscribe online for either our print or digital editions at

Of course, as always, we thank all our advertisers, readers, subscribers, newsstands, writers and everyone else who supports our magazine!

Photo: Purple Podded Heirloom Pea Soup by Laurie Beth Gills


National Sporting Library & Museum Announces Summer Concert Series ‘Open Late’

MuseumThe National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) in Middleburg is pleased to announce Open Late, a free summer concert series that will take place every fourth Friday from April through September. The event series features regional performers, craft beers, and local wineries; guests are invited to stroll through the Art Museum to enjoy changing exhibitions and permanent collections or to spread out picnic blankets and lawn chairs for the open-air concert. During the Open Late events, the Museum will be open until 8:00 p.m.
Melanie Mathewes, Executive Director of the National Sporting Library & Museum explained, “We’re very excited to announce that this year, on the first Friday of April, May, June, July, August and September, our facilities and our campus will be open late to allow the public to visit and enjoy our treasures. All are invited to picnic and relax on our campus lawn, enjoy music concerts, and try regional wines and Virginia craft beers. We’ve planned these events with young families in mind and with the hope that those passing through Middleburg heading east or west after work will join us.
“Knowing how difficult it is to take time out of busy schedules during the day, we thought staying open late would give people more opportunities to explore the exhibitions and collections on view in the art Museum,” continued Mathewes. “When I discussed it with our board and staff and members of the Middleburg community, I was delighted that everyone was excited to make the idea a reality. We decided to encourage the community to spend a couple of hours here each month this summer.”
Open Late is free and open to the public; picnics are welcome and a cash bar will be available. The event will be held rain or shine, and no outside alcohol will be permitted on premises.

Open Late Calendar

April 24 : Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Night featuring Difficult Run Jazz Band, South Street Brewing and Three Fox Vineyards
May 22: featuring Tara Mills Band, 3 Brothers Brewing and Naked Mountain Winery
June 26: Virginia Tech Alumni Night featuring Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, Forge Brew Works and Cana Winery
July 24: George Mason Alumni Night featuring George Mason University Jazz Ensemble, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Otium Winery
August 28: featuring Reckless Island, Mad Fox Brewing Company and Boxwood Winery
September 25: Friends and Family Night Foxcroft School, The Hill School, Middleburg Academy, Middleburg Community Charter School, and Wakefield School, featuring Lisa Lim Band Legend Brewing and Market Salamander

The National Sporting Library & Museum is dedicated to preserving, promoting and sharing the literature, art and culture of equestrian, angling and field sports. Founded in 1954, NSLM holds thousands of books on sporting topics including hunting, angling, equestrianism and horseracing, among others. The Library collection dates from the 16th-21st centuries. The Museum houses exhibits of American and European animal and sporting fine art. Information is shared through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications and special events. The NSLM is open to researchers and the general public. Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m

post via NSLM press release

The Piedmont: Not just for wineries anymore!

castle hill 2There is a new trend in distilled beverages, or spirits, afoot today, well represented in the Piedmont: Hard Cider. Having grown up in New England, I am very fond of cider, but had never had hard cider, except perhaps for an occasional try back in college of the sweet, soda-like alcoholic drink, found next to Mike’s Hard Lemonade in grocery stores and 7-Elevens. In my travels delivering magazines around Charlottesville, I drove by a sign for  Castle Hill Cider somewhere around Keswick, and decided to turn around and see all about it.

Now, cider, of course, is not a new thing. It is many centuries old, probably only about one season younger than the first apple crop! Given the lack of clean water in ages past, it was a regular beverage for all ages. I’m actually not even sure when “soft” cider came about….it wouldn’t surprise me if they had to invent it for prohibition!

But cider has gone the way of wine, beers, and whiskies; a portion of it developed into a sophisticated, artistic process to bring out certain flavors of various types of apples. Since it is sparkling, I imagine there is also a champagne type process to the fermentation.

Castle Hill Cider has a range of 7 ciders, ranging from dry to sweet. Since I was driving and far from home, and also technically still working, I didn’t do a full tasting. So I tasted both ends….the driest and the sweetest. Now, I am in no way qualified to give an opinion on any wine, beer, spirits, or cider (although I like them all), but I did have a preference for the sweeter-probably due to my upbringing and preconceptions about cider. However, it really was not very sweet at all…no resemblance whatsoever to the cider sitting by the Mike’s Hard Lemonade! The drier one was a bit like a dry champagne with a distinct apple tinge to it. I cannot do a real review; apart from being totally unqualified, this was my first taste of real hard cider and this is the only Cidery I have ever been to. But I hope to experience it more. Research, of course.

Castle Hill Cidery ( is also a gorgeous place to visit, a distillery and tasting room to rival any winery, gorgeous views, rural setting, and, of course, apple orchards. They do have their own orchards, but also use apples from external sources, but all from Virginia.

There are quite a few Cideries in the Piedmont to try. I was assured that cider is a year-round thing. The apples are harvested in the fall, of course, but the process (and consumption!), is an ongoing endeavor.

Virginia Cideries fit right into what is important to us and our readers at the Piedmont Virginian: local produce, check. Land conservation for farming, check. Sustainable agriculture, check. Locally made artisan products, check. Spirits, check. And a little history thrown in, check. The Piedmont Virginian will be featuring a cider story by Glenda Booth in the fall, to coincide with Cider Week Virginia in November. But there’s really no reason to wait until fall to do some sampling!

The Francis Fauquier Tournante hosted by Philip Carter Winery this year

Francis Fauquier Tournante 2013On the 252th anniversary year of Francis Fauquier’s validation of the successful cultivation of a vineyard of European vines in Virginia in 1763, the winegrowers of Fauquier County join together for an annual tradition to celebrate the Francis Fauquier Tournante.  An event inspired by Saint Vincent Tournante, the Burgundian tradition, the Francis Fauquier Tournante is an event of great symbolic importance in recognition of the winegrowing community of the northern Piedmont region of Virginia.

The celebration date falls between the vine’s dormant winter state and the first appearance of new growth, the time when pruning begins, and it signifies the beginning of the new winegrowing season.  A procession of flags bearing the arms of each Fauquier winery process in ceremony lead by the Knights of the Vine, proceedings rooted deep in the history of wine.  The procession is followed by a general assembly of the brotherhood.  Member families and guests then sit down together for a grand pig roast feast.  The procession starts promptly at 3:30 p.m.

The Francis Fauquier Tournante is one of the key events of the Fauquier County winter.  The event is hosted by a different Fauquier winery each year, and the day’s activities include: The Fauquier Wineries Tasting, live music, the Francis Fauquier Ceremony, and traditional Pig Roast feast.  The procession is open to the public.  Reservations are required for the pig roast, seating is limited. $49.95 per person.

Eleven wineries plan to participate as we celebrate the start of the 2015 Virginia wine growing season. The Knights of the Vine plan to attend, Pastor Kim of Sermon from the Vine will give the message, Kevin McGrath will sound the bag pipes, the pig will be from Dark Hollow in Markham and catered by Chef Victor of Orlean Market.  This will be an exceptional event in America’s wine country.

January 24, 2015
Hosted by Philip Carter Winery
4366 Stillhouse Rd., 
Hume, VA 22639
(540) 364-1203
Tickets through Eventbrite at

Via Philip Carter Strother

New Autumn Issue Available

covers for slideshow


Pick up a copy of the Fall 2014 issue, on newsstands now! Click the following link to find the closest location to you:

Our newest issue includes our annual fall art guide with artwork from around the Piedmont.

Featured stories include Virginia’s Moonshiners, Hot Air Ballooning in the Blue Ridge, lamb recipes, two local art clubs: The Loudoun Sketch Club and Firnew Farm’s Artists’ Circle, photo contest winners and more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage:


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