The Holiday season is here and I wanted to bring you a guide of some gifts you could get the wine lover in your life, or just send this list along to someone getting gifts for you! Small businesses are hurting right now, so I wanted to focus on gifts where you would be supporting a Small Business this holiday season. I hope this gives you some good ideas as you search for that perfect gift!
This would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for my fellow Virginia Wine lovers! With this pass, you receive exclusive discounts and deals at participating wineries. It pays for itself with all these special deals.
If you live in Maryland, here is their wine pass!
Get all the cute wine apparel you need from this Black owned small business. I am loving all the festive gear, like this shirt! So many fun things to choose from including but not limited to tee shirts, pajamas, sweatshirts, mugs, face masks, ornaments and more!
Gift card/gift set from your local winery
It may sound simple, but getting a gift card or a gift set from your favorite local winery would be a great way to support them. Many wineries do fun packages of 3 wines for the Holidays or something similar that would make a great gift. Especially if you are not seeing people you normally would spend the holidays with, you could easily ship the wine straight to them.
Do you need a reason to finish a bottle of wine? Well I can give you one. Once you finish your bottle of wine, you can use this garden kit to grow plants inside. This is a great way to repurpose your wine bottle and make a fun activity out of it. This is from Uncommon Goods, which supports small makers giving them a chance to showcase their products.
The winter weather is coming and that means wineries with indoor spaces are even more desirable. I've gotten many messages recently regarding good indoor and covered spaces given the pandemic and different regulations. Therefore, I thought I would create this handy blog post to help you out! Bookmark it for later so that you can easily save this for later.
If there are any wineries in the C'ville area that fit these qualifications but are not on this list, send me an email or instagram message so that I can add them!
*Wineries with an asterisk: Make a reservation for this space! Find details on the wineries website as some are only for an indoor tasting.
Wineries with an Indoor Space
Wineries with a Covered Space Outdoors
Wineries with a Fire Pit
Veritas* - fire pit with full table service.
Early Mountain* - socially distanced tents that have full table service and a private fire pit.
Eastwood Farm & Winery* - can even add a smore's kit to your reservation!
Wisdom Oak* - free reservations online for the seating with the fire pits.
Hark Vineyards - from my understanding, they are first come first serve!
Stinson Vineyards* - free reservations online, I'm not sure you are guaranteed a fire pit, you may want to reach out to them separately to ensure one!
I have been calling this summer, the summer of rosé! I've been drinking sparkling rosé, still rosé and playing with lots of fun rosé drinks! Especially when it's hot, I find rosé to always be refreshing. Here are my top three favorites I have been making this summer.
Summer in a Glass
aka Rosé with a popsicle thrown in. This is sooo easy to make and definitely will impress your guests. It is inspired by the Loopy Doopy Bar in NYC. All you have to do is pick out a bottle of Sparkling Rosé and any 100% fruit juice popsicles. I love the ones from Outshine or Solero. My favorite flavors have been Mango and Strawberry Colada popsicles in the sparkling rosé. You could also do this with any sparkling wine!
My mom and I have been making this one for a couple years now and LOVE it! I linked my other blog post with the full description of how to make it. Grab a bottle of French rosé (or whatever is your favorite) and some red fruits and you're good to go. We love making this when guests come over and it is always a crowd pleaser.
Got to have frosé on here because it is so refreshing in the summer and delicious. All you need is a bottle of rosé, a small watermelon and lime juice. Add everything to the blender and blend away. I recommend freezing the watermelon ahead of time so that it is cold and you don't have to put ice in it. Another option is to pour the whole mixture into a glass container and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or up to 24. That will give it a good "slushie" texture. Great for by the pool and those hot summer days!
I have been asked many times what the best wineries to visit for a Bachelorette Party are over and over so I hope that this is helpful to anyone planning one! I typically recommend the same route because these wineries are some of my favorites in the area and they can accommodate large groups. This guide would also be helpful if you are planning a birthday, reunion or visiting wineries together in a larger group.
Where to stay?
How to get to the wineries
My recommendation would be to hire a driver for your day wine tasting. I have used Monticello Wine Tours and they were WONDERFUL! They help you to plan your trip (although you have me to do that too) and make reservations if necessary. If you are visiting three wineries in day, I would recommend booking for 6+ hours to give you more time. If you are visiting two wineries, then 5+ might be enough for you!
Which wineries to visit
If you are planning to visit two wineries, I suggest King Family Vineyards and Veritas Vineyards and Winery. These are beautiful vineyards, with lots of space and great wine! Order a couple of bottles and do your own tasting in their lawn, or reserve ahead for a group tasting. Veritas currently has tented spaces to rent for groups if you are interested. Also, you can order food at Veritas Vineyards and King Family has food trucks certain days.
Adding a third? Afton Mountain Vineyards would be my pick! Another stunning winery located by the first two!
Another option could be Pippin Hill Farm & Winery. It's in a different direction than the other three so you will sacrifice some time in the car. This is another beautiful winery, but beware they do have rules on bachelorette parties so check those out online ahead of time if this winery is of interest to you! Their food is so delicious here!
Still have questions?
Please reach out via the contact link or through direct message on instagram. I would love to help you plan your trip and am always happy to be of assistance to you. Enjoy your trip to the vineyards, you are going to have a wonderful time!
During this crazy time, I have been trying to support my favorite small businesses when I can. One thing I have definitely been stocking up on is..... wine! I've been using this time to try some new wines and stock up on my favorites. There are lots of wonderful small businesses that can help you do just that, and I wanted to introduce you to VineDication!
VineDication is an online wine shop where you can find many of your favorite Virginia wines. What drew me to this company was that they are a wine startup company owned by women aiming to highlight the wonderful wines in this state. Many people laugh when you say that there are good wines in Virginia but there most definitely are! VineDication's goal is to provide you with the opportunity to experience unique wines as many wines in their online shop are only available at the winery. Currently this business focuses on providing customers with Virginian wines, but they are aiming to include some Californian and Italian wines as they expand.
My favorite part about their wine shop is how user friendly it is. There are a lot of wineries I have visited that are featured on there, but I don't always remember if I liked that specific varietal or vintage. VineDication provides details about each wine and many wine food pairings. It is so helpful when trying to choose the wines you want to try! In addition to their wine shop, you can find recipes on their blog, learn more about wine, or join their wine club.
One of the things I'm most excited about for VineDication is their wine club. When speaking with the founder of VineDication, Nicole, she mentioned that she came up with the idea to start this company by being a part of many different wine clubs over the years. Some things she enjoyed about the wine clubs and some things she didn't, so she created her own to give you the best of the best. The wine club will provide different options of the number of bottles to receive, how often, and the type of wines you prefer. Every month there will be a "Winery of the Month" where you can expect to receive at least one bottle in your shipment. This will be a great way to learn about wineries you have not yet visited as well as try wines from a variety of local wineries.
Check out VineDication online and through social media to find your favorite Virginia wines and stay up to date with the release of their wine club.
Recently, I have been more interested in finding the perfect wine and food pairings. I lived in Thailand for a year and consider myself very picky when it comes to Thai food since I've had the real thing. In the past, I regularly order Thai curry at restaurants because it's one of my favorite dishes, but I have FINALLY recreated the real thing!
After lots of experimenting with the recipe below, I have learned a few key things to making the taste authentic.
1. The coconut milk matters! I know it's not the best for you but the regular coconut milk has a different taste than the less fattening versions. I always use the regular coconut milk and the brand Chaokoh, which I pick up from my local Asian grocery store.
2. Curry paste also makes a difference. I use the brand Maesri and highly recommend it! Depending on the day, I switch up the type of curry. I especially love green, red and panang.
3. Refrain from letting curry sit with the burner on for excess time. Keeping the curry on high heat for a long time with make it really oily, and is very noticeable.
4. I cook all my veggies and tofu separately before adding them to the curry. I cook each separately so that they can cook properly. For the tofu, I fry it in a pan or bake it in the oven. The mushrooms and eggplants I cook prior as well. Bell peppers I put raw into curry as they can get mushy if overcooked.
Let me know what you think about how this turns out! My favorite wine to pair it with is an off-dry Reisling like the one you see here!
Thai Curry Recipe
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 can of Maesri curry paste
2 cans coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp lime juice
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1-2 cups chopped mushrooms
1-2 cups chopped Thai/Chinese eggplants
1. In a wok, heat oil on medium heat.
2. Once hot, add ginger and garlic.
3. Stir in curry paste.
4. Whisk in coconut milk, brown sugar, lime juice, and .soy sauce.
5. Add veggies, cooked tofu, and whatever you like in your curry to the sauce.
6. Once everything is heated, it is ready to serve.
*This recipe is completely vegan as is. The best part is you can change out the veggies or tofu to put whenever you want in your curry!
Bon appetit! Cheers!
Hello wine friends!
Last year, we hosted a blind wine tasting featuring "Wines from Around the World." I wrote all about it on the blog so definitely check out this post here. It features all the things you need to plan your own party so if you're looking for tips on how to host a blind wine tasting. As a follow-up I wanted to share my experience hosting a tasting, Virginia Wine Edition.
We sent an invite to all our friends indicating that they should bring any single varietal Virginia Wine. With lots of great options, we were excited to see what they would bring. After much deliberation, I chose a Cabernet Franc from Gabriel Rausse. If you've been following along for a while you know that this is one of my favorite varietals AND wineries! So I was excited to see what other people thought!
Well we started the night with our friends arriving who had brought the most liked bottle of wine from last year, Cabernet Sauvignon from Barboursville. Of course they had to bring it again to see if it could continue to stand its ground being the most popular. Well the next couple of people arrived and what did they bring? The SAME wine! And same with the next couple after that! All in all we ended up with FOUR bottles of Cab Sauv. I was definitely starting to freak out a little because my VA wine stash isn't that big right now as we have been going through them. Luckily a couple of people had brought 2 wines and enough did not bring B'ville so it was all okay!
I decided to trick everyone by placing two of the Barboursville Cab Sauv's in the mix and snuck a couple of my own wines into the mix. About half of the people figured it out, and the others couldn't remember since it was the at the very end, and after lots of wine that they tasted the double!
All in all it ended up being a blast per usual! If you haven't tried doing a blind wine tasting before, I highly recommend it and you don't have to be a wine expert in any respect. My favorite thing is being able to compare the different wines side by side to see what I liked. The biggest surprise ended up being the Petit Manseng from Bluemont Vineyard. I had this leftover from a past visit in which we didn't hit our group minimum so I took home a few extra bottles and had not yet opened them. I would say this wine was one of the favorites! I also LOVED the Barboursville Viognier. This is typically another of my favorite varietals and it did not disappoint. And then of course my Gabriele Rausse Cabernet Franc was my favorite red!
The biggest lesson learned for next time is to maybe assign varietals, or if you are doing the Around the World Edition assign a country, That way you get more variety in the mix which is always a good thing!
If you have any thoughts or questions about this, please comment below! I would love to hear what you think.
Looking for the perfect gift for those wine lovers you know? Look no further because this gift guide has everything covered from stocking stuffers to wine gadgets to books! Happy Shopping!
Have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Sarah, wine enthusiastic and globetrotter, currently exploring Virginia one winery at a time.