Friday, March 25, 2011

Cooking with Wine

A good-looking group of wine chefs!

Dessert station:
Joe's Cool Red spiked strawberries and cream pie!
What a great night we had on Tuesday! Chef Bonnie planned an awesome menu and I have to say we were a bit skeptical that everything could be prepared in our modest catering kitchen and event room...Fortunately she proved us wrong and brought in lots of supplies and ingredients to set up each station and prepare a gourmet meal. From poached salmon to rose marinated chicken breasts to strawberries and cream pie, the whole evening was a blast, as you can tell from the pictures. We're holding a second Cooking with Wine class on April 12th, so sign up here by April 11th to join in!

Richard and Taylor have been filtering wines all week to get them ready for bottling. Claudia and I tasted the 2010 Lazy Day White this morning and it is delicious! Next week most of us will be in Richmond for the Wineries Unlimited trade show and conference- learning and talking about all things wine, and we're bottling most of our 2010 wines on April 8th and 9th.

We also had a visit from Stan Shedaker, of Adrenaline High. He's going to offer bike-kayak-wine tours from Layton's Chance this summer. He brought some students by from Salisbury University to do a test ride and tasting!

The best part of working in a winery?
Tasting wines!
I can't believe March is almost over and we're going full speed into spring. Check back for more news about the View of the Vineyard event on April 16th and our Easter Egg Hunt on April 23rd. And don't forget to mark your calendars for our 1 Year Anniversary Celebration with Randy Lee Ashcraft on May 28th!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pop's Shop Boys

As I came down the lane this morning I saw the beautiful scene of a tractor trailer in the parking lot, with William and Richard unloading 25 pallets of empty wine bottles. April 8th is coming soon and we've just about got everything ready. Bottles and capsules are here, corks will be here next week, and labels are on their way. 

We're bottling twice as much Lazy Day Rosé as last year which means that we'll have enough to sell at liquor stores and hopefully still last through next spring. The Rosé will be available shortly after bottling, however two of our dry wines- Chambourcin and Traminette- will need to sit in the bottle for a few weeks. Our Oaked Chambourcin will age 6 months before being available for sale.

Pop's Shop Boys-Garland, Richard, Taylor
The wines themselves are nearly ready too. Richard and the boys have been filtering this week- a messy task but fortunately they've got the right outfits for the job. Next is cold stabilization and a final filtering.  

Laura's been in Norfolk all week, helping her daughter relocate from Florida. We miss her in the office but I'm sure she's having fun taking care of her three little grandchildren! Fortunately Jen is at the winery full time now and it’s been great having her here!

Chris English plays
Happy Hour on 3/18
The weather has been conducive to Joe's work on the farm. All the wheat has been fertilized and is greening nicely. It's supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow so there’s another good day to work outside. 

We've had lots of visitors in the tasting room this week and we're all excited about Happy Hour tomorrow night! Barbara has doubled her recipe so we'll have PLENTY of chili for everyone. Did I mention it'll be 70 degrees? A beautiful day for music and wine on the front porch!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In like a lion...

Southside Land Management returns to
landscape the play area.

A giant windstorm earlier this month knocked our play-set clear into the woods. It blew away just as we prepared to lay the ground for a new one (MUCH sturdier!) which will be ready soon. Definitely by the time the weather brightens up and you'll be bringing the kids out to play!

John Hansen and his band, JohnE Wa2C
We had a great time at Happy Hour last Friday! JohnE Wa2C played a great show with lots of old favorites and plenty of raising glasses for his trademark "Salute!" We had one guest stand up and sing- it was beautiful! Hopefully he'll be back with friends for Karaoke on April 1st.

Our website is loaded with upcoming events- Happy Hour on March 18th with Chris English (awesome blues guitar!), and on March 22 we're hosting a cooking class at the winery where participants will learn about preparing menus around a favorite wine. Also check out the About Us segment of our website where we've added some new faces of the winery. Although you may have read about Taylor and Garland here, I've put up a little information about our two youngest workers- so have a look and say hello next time you're here!

Tundra swans flock to Vienna fields
The swans don't seem to mind the wind or the rain as they gather in large flocks on neighboring fields. Neither does the wheat that's coming up green and brightened the winter fields. All signs of Spring's eminent arrival...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Direct Shipping hearing set for March 4

The big news this week is that the Maryland General Assembly is closer than ever to passing a Direct Shipping bill, which would allow Maryland citizens to receive wine by mail from wineries and wine-of-the-month clubs. We're asking friends and fellow wine lovers to contact your legislator before Friday to show your support for direct-to-consumer shipment of wine. March 4th is the day both bills will be heard by the respective legislative committees in Annapolis. According to the Maryland Wineries Association, "Even with the overwhelming support—a majority of the legislature—there are interest groups hard at work to cripple the bills, trying to limit WHICH wines can be shipped, and from WHICH sources (wineries OR retailers/wine-of-the-month clubs, etc.)."

Please let your legislators know that you want:
     - a law based on national standards and the Comptroller's Study on Direct Shipping;
     - a law that allows you to receive wine from wineries and retailers;
     - a law that lets Maryland wineries ship to other states (like NY, which will only let MD wineries ship in if MD's law is based on national standards).

This bill would allow us to ship wine directly to consumers around the state and even to other states- saving you the trouble of trying to bring wine home or the risk of packing it for your flight. Maryland is currently 1 of only 13 states which does not allow direct shipping, despite age identification precautions in place by national shipping companies like UPS and FedEx. 

For much more information about the history of the legislation, please visit the Maryland Wineries Association website.