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Wine Dogs Congratulate Winners of the Towne Point Wine Competition

Date: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

More than 100 wines competed in the Towne Point Wine Competition over the weekend. Pomeroy notes that juice for the Meritage winner (Pearmund's 2007 Ameritage) fermented in his dad's barrel.

The Wine Dogs congratulate the all the #VAWine winners:

ChardonnayGold - 2009 Cross Key Chardonnay
Silver - 2009 New Kent Chardonnay
Bronze - 2008 The Winery at La Grange Fletcher's Chardonnay

Gold - 2009 Cooper Viognier
Silver - 2009 Pearmund Viognier
Bronze - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Viognier

Vinifera White
Gold - NV Prince Michel Sparkling
Silver - 2008 Delfosse Reserve D' Oriane
Bronze - 2009 Cardinal Point A6

Hybrid White
Gold - 2009 First Colony Zephyr
Silver - 2008 James River Cellar Vidal Blanc
Bronze - 2008 Democracy Declaration

Gold - NV Cooper Noche-Noche
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Ali D'Oro
Bronze - 2009 The Winery at La Grange Snort

Hybrid Red
Gold - 2008 Davis Valley Autumn Red
Silver - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Chambourcin
Bronze - 2008 Cooper Norton

Vinifera Red
Gold - 2007 Rockbridge Syrah
Silver - 2008 Prince Michel Syrah
Bronze - 2009 Holly Grove Sunset Rose

Gold - 2009 Keswick Merlot
Silver - 2007 Lovingston Merlot
Bronze - 2007 Rockbridge Merlot

Cabernet Franc
Gold - 2008 the Winery at La Grange Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2009 Keswick Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2009 Sugarleaf Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2009 Lovingston Cabernet Franc

Petit Verdot
Gold - 2009 Willowcroft Petit Verdot
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Petit Verdot
Bronze - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Petit Verdot

Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold - 2008 Pearmund Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver - 2008 Sugarleaf Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2007 Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Gold - 2007 Pearmund Ameritage
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Meritage
Bronze - 2008 Cooper Coopertage

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Paradise Springs Chard Named State's Top White

Date: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Open less than a year, Paradise Springs may be just a pup in Virginia's growing kennel of top wineries but they're demonstrating show quality - claiming the Governor's Cup at Monticello on Wednesday night for their 2009 Reserve Chardonney. This is the first time since 1991 that a Chardonnay has won the cup. Munchkin and Pomeroy extend their congrats to Jane Kincheloe and Kirk Wiles and all our friends in Paradise.
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BOW is Top Dog with "Best in Show" Ribbon at Virginia State Fair

Date: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

The Virginia Wine Dogs congratulate Brian, Sharon, Rick and the entire pack at Barrel Oak Winery. BOW wowed the Virginia State Fair judges with their 2008 Reserve Petit Verdot and received the "Best in Show" ribbon at the Black Tie & Boots gala on September 22.

Veritas was also recognized for racking up the most ribbons. The full list of winners follow:

2010 State Fair of Virginia Wine Competition

Best in Show
Barrel Oak Winery - Reserve Petit Verdot 2008

Gold Ribbon
AmRheins Wine Cellars - AGLIANICO 2007
Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn - Rockawalkin 2007
Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn - Parris Country Blend 2008
Barboursville Vineyards - CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2008
Barboursville Vineyards - PINOT GRIGIO 2009
Barboursville Vineyards - SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009
Barrel Oak Winery - Reserve Petit Verdot 2008
Barrel Oak Winery - Viognier 2008
Barren Ridge Vineyards - Meritage 2008
Barren Ridge Vineyards - Viognier 2008
Casanel Vineyards - Chegada Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Cooper Vineyards - Petit Verdot 2008
Crosskeys Vineyards - Meritage 2008
Delfosse Vineyards & Winery - GRAND CRU OLIVIER 2008
Delfosse Vineyards & Winery - MERLOT 2008
Delfosse Vineyards & Winery - PETIT VERDOT 2008
Democracy Vineyards - VELVET REVOLUTION 2007
First Colony Winery - Merlot 2008
Flying Fox Vineyard - Viognier 2009
James River Cellars - Gewurtraminer 2008
Keswick Vineyards - Viognier Reserve 2009
Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard - Kluge Estate New World Red 2005
Lake Anna - Barrel Select Chardonnay 2008
Lake Anna - Morgan Merlot 2007
Naked Mountain Vineyard - VA Cabernet Franc 2007
Narmada Winery - Viognier 2009
Notaviva Vineyards - Cantabile 2008
Notaviva Vineyards - Calor 2009
Pearmund Cellars - Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Pearmund Cellars - Riesling 2009
Pearmund Cellars - Petit Manseng 2009
Philip Carter Winery - Cabernet Franc 2009
Pollak Vineyards - Pollak Cabernet Franc 2008
Pollak Vineyards - Chardonnay RSV 2008
Pollak Vineyards - Pollak Petit Verdot 2008
Pollak Vineyards - Viognier 2009
Rockbridge Vineyard - DeChiel Riesling 2008
Rockbridge Vineyard - Merlot - Dechiel 2007
Rockbridge Vineyard - Syrah - DeChiel 2007
Rockbridge Vineyard - Rockbridge Vignoles 2007
The Winery at La Grange - Pinot Gris - Toll Gate Vineyard 2009
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Vintners Reserve "VR" 2008
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Sauvingon Blanc Reserve 2009
Afton Mountain Vineyards - Pentola D'Oro 2008
Barboursville Vineyards - MALVAXIA 2006
Crosskeys Vineyards - Ali D'Oro 2008
Mattaponi Winery - Odeimin (Strawberry) 2010
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Kenmar 2007

Silver Ribbon
Afton Mountain Vineyards - Festa DiBacco 2008
AmRheins Wine Cellars - PINOT GRIGIO 2008
Annefield Vineyards - RED 2008
Barboursville Vineyards - OCTAGON 2007
Barrel Oak Winery - Merlot 2008
Barrel Oak Winery - Traminette 2009
Barren Ridge Vineyards - Red Barren 2008
Barren Ridge Vineyards - Cabernet Franc 2008
Cooper Vineyards - Viognier 2009
Delaplane Cellars - Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2008
Delaplane Cellars - Emerald Vineyard Viognier 2007
Democracy Vineyards - UNUM 2009
Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery - Barrel Chardonnay 2008
First Colony Winery - Meritage 2008
Flying Fox Vineyard - Cabernet Franc Ridge Run Vineyard 2007
Gray Ghost Vineyards - Reserve Chardonnay 2008
Hiddencroft Vineyards - Traminette 2009
Holly Grove Vineyards - Celebration 2009
Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard - Albemarle Simply Red 2006
Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard - Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc 2007
Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard - Albemarle Viognier 2009
North Gate Vineyard - Chardonnay 2009
Notaviva Vineyards LLC - Verano 2009
Paradise Springs Winery – Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Pearmund Cellars - Viognier 2009
Piedmont Vineyards & Winery - Hunt Country Chardonnay 2009
Pollak Vineyards - Pollak Cabernet Sauvingon 2007
Rockbridge Vineyard - Cabernet Franc - DeChiel 2007
Rockbridge Vineyard - Chardonnay - DeChiel 2009
Rosemont of Virginia Winery - Syrah 2008
San Soucy Vineyards - Cabernet Franc 2008
San Soucy Vineyards - Tempranillo 2008
Sugarleaf Vineyards - Petit Manseng 2008
Sunset Hills Vineyard - SUNSET ROSE 2009
Sunset Hills Vineyard - VIOGNIER 2009
The Hague Winery Inc - Cabernet Franc 2008
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Cabernet Franc 2009
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Veritas Vineyard & Winery - Viognier 2009
Williamsburg Winery, Ltd. - Adagio 2007
Woodland Vineyard - Barrel Select 2009
North Gate Vineyard - Apple Wine NV

Individual Label Design:
1st place – Delfosse Grand Cru Olivier
2nd place – Paradise Springs of Clifton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
3rd place – Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc

Overall Winery Presentation:
1st place – Pollak Vineyards
2nd place – Veritas Vineyard & Winery
3rd place – Delfosse Vineyards & Winery

Individual Label Design – Dessert or Sweet Wine Bottles (375 ml):
1st place – Afton Mountain Pentrola D’oro
2nd place – Barboursville Malvaxia Passito
3rd place – Veritas Kenmar

Best Use of Whimsy on a Label:
1st place – Narmada Dream
2nd place – Flying Fox Cabernet Franc
3rd place – Notaviva Vineyards Cantabile Cabernet Franc

Most Ribbons Awarded to a Single Winery:
Veritas Vineyard & Winery
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The Artists formerly Known as Wine Dogs

Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Outer Barks
Duck, NC

Munchkin and Pomeroy outside Outer Barks with Barker and one of owner Kevin and Robin
Carey's pet Keeshondens (they have four).

An absolute must for every pampered pup's OBX beach vacation is the weekly Yappy Hour at the Outer Barks. It takes place each Wednesday from 4-5:30.

While there is no wine (enterprising humans have been known to BYOB), there are delightful Puppachinos and generous array of special doggie appetizers for the post-beach cocktail hour.

Munchkin and Pomeroy adored the chicken and potato casserole with a touch of cheddar that hostess Robin prepared last week.

On clear days, Yappy Hour takes place in the big yard behind Scarborough Faire, with pools for pups to splash in and hoops and agility rings to jump.

A favorite Yappy Hour activity among the four-legged crowd is the art.

Who knew a puppy paw was a natural paint brush?

This year's colors were peppy orange and pink (water soluable for easy cleaning).

Both Wine Dogs left with full tummies and full confidence that their new masterpieces are destined for the walls of the Petropolitan Museum of Art.

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Wine Dogs Report from the Beach: Wine Tasting at Aqua S

Date: Sat, Aug 14, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Aqua S Restaurant and Day Spa
Duck, NC

The Wine Dogs arrived in Duck on Saturday, just in time to enjoy a fabulous wine tasting on the inlet at Aqua S Restuarant. Munchkin and Pomeroy were thrilled to have their tasting personally hosted by their good friend -- owner and sommelier Lynette Sumner.

Lynette guided the Wine Dogs through a tasting of four of her favs. First up was Blue Ocean, a Vinho Verde from Portugal with a subtle effervescence -- not unlike Lynette herself. In honor of Munchkin's mom's trip to France this spring, Lynette followed up with the Domaine Cordier Pere Macon Aux Bois d' Allier 2006, with a lovely nose and a rich golden color.

Switching to reds, Lynette brought out the Estancia Pinot Noir. Served at cellar temperature on a hot afternoon, the wine earned two enthusiastic paws up from the Wine Dogs. The final offering was an Austrialian wine called "Duck, Duck, Goose." Lynette told the Wine Dogs she would have bought it for the name alone, but the Shiraz Cabernet blend proved an outstanding selection.
The evening was completed by a gorgeous sunset and the music of Buster B. Curtis, "Man Of A Thousand Songs."
In addition to Saturday wine tastings, Aqua S features live entertainment on its sound-side deck nightly (except Sundays). Relax with a great glass or bottle of wine from Lynette's Wine Room.
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Nothin' Could Be Finer than to be a Wine Dog in Carolina

Date: Sat, Aug 14, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Outer Banks, NC

Even on vacation, Munchkin and Pomeroy continue their wining ways. En route to the Outer Banks, the Virginia Wine Dogs stopped at Morris Farm Market on Highway 158 to pick up fresh produce for the week.

The roadside market has come a long way since 1982, when Walton and Ginger Morris started selling sweet corn out of the back of their old Ford pick-up truck. But in one since, it hasn't moved at all; it can still be found under the shade of the same two old pecan trees.

Inside is an array of fruits, ciders, jams, fresh baked pies and breads, and ice cream churned by a tractor.

As he rode up the aisles in his wheelbarrow, Pomeroy made a lunch out of the samples. Munchkin (who isn't much of a fruit and veggie fan), was sulking until she discovered Morris Farms also stocks -- and tastes -- North Carolina wines.

The Wine Dogs' new best friend Sophia poured them samples of several fruit wines, including a refreshing peach. There was also a pleasant Chardonney among the offerings.

Most interesting were the muscadine and scuppernong wines, made from native grapes that thrive in the sandy soil and hot climes of the Carolinas. Indeed, these grapes were said to have nourished the settlers who landed on Roanoke Island.

Munchkin and Pomeroy were quite distressed to learn that they could be enjoying the last of the scuppernong -- a sweet white just made for the beach. It seems the power company was overly zealous in May and sprayed the 400-year-old Mother Vine with a nasty herbicide. These are thought to be the oldest vines in North America.

The Wine Dogs did a little more research and are able to report that, with much TLC, it looks like mama's coming back. See related story.

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Wine Dogs Lap Up Sun and Fun during Dog Days of Summer

Date: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Ah, the Dog Days of Summer. Thanks to our friends at Narmada (via Wikipedia), we know that the name "Dog Days" (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather.

Munchkin and Pomeroy like to think of these hot, sultry days as "Uncle Jeff weather." For those less than fond of soaring heat and humidity, the Wine Dogs suggest escaping to Virginia wine country and chilling out with a refreshing glass of wine.

Several wineries have hosted special Dog Day events. Last Sunday, Jim Bogaty invited hot dogs to Veramar Vineyards, and Munchkin and Pomeroy took the plunge.

The previous weekend, Barrel Oak Winery really put on the dog, offering free tastings to anyone bringing a donations of dog food. The generosity of BOW patrons wowed Munchkin, as they delivered enough food to fill 30 wine boxes (they were only 2/3 of the way done when she posed with the stash).

Although the donations went to the Fauquier County SPCA, Munchkin didn't leave hungry. She enjoyed a generous array of treats from her friends at Chow Now.

This coming Saturday offers two more Dog Days events for pups and people alike. There's a Dog Days of Summer BBQ at DelFosse Winery starting at Noon.

From 1-4, Three Fox is hosting the Fauquier SPCA and their “Paws for Refreshment” event.

Munchkin and Pomeroy regret they are unable to attend. Virginia's favorite wine-loving doggie duo will be doing beach-time in North Carolina. It's a dog's life!

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Munchkin Goes Rappin' - Festa Just the Ticket!

Date: Sat, Jul 31, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Rappahannock Cellars
Huntley, Virginia

There's a new trail winding its way through some of the Virginia Wine Dogs' favorite watering holes. The Artisanal Wineries of Rappahannock County is a collection of family-run wineries who have joined together to offer a premium wine tasting experience that is rooted in small lot, handcrafted wines.

When Munchkin heard the wine trail's launch was a festival at Rappahannock Cellars featuring all five wineries, she exclaimed "That's the ticket!"

It was a splendid afternoon under the big tent next to Rappahannock's barn where live music played. Volunteers from Hospice of the Rapidan (who received the proceeds from the successful two-day event) greeted Munchkin warmly as she made her entrance.

She was given her tickets, with entitled her to 15 tastings. Each of the wineries was asked to bring a Viognier and Cabernet Franc (the Virginia anchors), as well as an off-dry or sweet wine. The Cab-loving canine appreciated the opportunity to taste and compare her favorite grape (is that vertical or horizonal, or just sideways?).

Festa Rappahannock brought together a Who's Who of the Virginia wine elite.

Sudha Patil of Narmada Winery bringing a taste of India

Mary, better known as Lady Vino, representing Sharp Rock Vineyards

Bernd Jung of Chester Gap Cellars and Bill Gadino of Gadino Cellars, sharing secrets for making outstanding wines

Fellow blogger John Hagarty of Hagarty on Wine, serving up the good stuff from Rappahannock

and a host of Delmares led by patriarch John making sure all their friends and guests had a fine time.

As Munchkin retired to the patio to enjoy a delicious burger catered by the Marriott Ranch (complemented by a glass of Claret), she was able to engage Allan Delmare for a quick interview about the event and the trail.

Allan explained that the trail was conceived by the five owners, who reached a mutual conclusion that they needed a way to unite their wineries -- all family-owned, all focused on producing artesinal wines, and all located in Rappahannock County. He added that the county had been very supportive.

The Festival goes back to the the Delmare's California roots, where they used to host similar events at their winery twice a year.

While plans are still in the works, Allan did promise there would be a second annual Festa Rappahannock and that it would be "in the county." Check back with the Wine Dogs for future details for next year's winning tickets.

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Wine Dogs Ride off into the Sunset Hills

Date: Sat, Jul 24, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Sunset Hills Vineyard
Purcellville, Virginia

Munchkin and Pomeroy first rode into Sunset Hills following orders from the Generals' Wine Trail. They discovered a beautiful setting where great hospitality complements quality wines.

Mike and Diane Canney bought the 40-acre farm because they loved the rural feel of the land. They got bit by the wine bug after a romantic trip to Napa. Recognizing Virginia's growing reputation as a wine region, they planted their first vines on a cold and rainy day 12 years ago. Today, the Canneys run the 4th largest of the 25 wineries in Loudoun County. Sunset Hills has 20 acres in vines, producing about 5,000 cases a year.

During the Wine Dogs' initial visit to Sunset Hills, Mike poured out the wine -- along with stories of the tangled trail that led him from spy satellites to NASCAR raceways to Virginia vintages.

A physicist by training, Mike compared making wine to a science experiment. You can't just follow a recipe because the main ingredients -- the grapes -- are different each year. So you experiment, seeing what works well and what does not.

Mike and winemaker Nate Walsh have done an admirable job figuring out what works well at Sunset Hills. Although the winery only opened in November 2008, Sunset Hills already has racked up a healthy collection of medals.

Among them are "Best of Category" from the 2009 Atlantic Seaboard Competition for the and Gold medals at the Virginia State Fair for both the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (a wine that grips and relaxes you) and the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc (a delicious example of Munchkin's favorite varietal, darkened with a touch of Petit Verdot to produce a full-bodied, complex wine). The Wine Dogs were fortunate to taste these jewels before they sold out.

Munchkin and Pomeroy watched with fascination as the first five tons of 2009 Cab Franc grapes to come off the vine were carefully hand-sorted to remove stems and ensure the highest quality. It was relatively early in the fall but, Mike explained, at Sunset Hills the harvest is based on the flavor and soundness of the fruit. With Cab Franc, Mike finds that the longer the grapes hang on the vine, the less the distinctive pepper finish.

To further intensify the flavor, Mike planned to bleed off juice and make a Rose. The Wine Dogs discovered the result this summer as server Lindsey Christensen poured the 2009 Sunset Rose, which earned two paws up from both Munchkin and Pomeroy -- and a Silver Medal at the Virignia State Fair (as did the Viognier, which Munchkin also considered worth barking about).

Sunset Hills wines are served in an impressive tasting room. Diane told the Wine Dogs how six Amish brothers came down from Pennsylvania to transform the dilapidated barn into a showroom, complete with gleaming wood bars and 2,500 square feet of decking to showcase the spectacular views. It took the craftsmen over a year to perform their magic -- they returned recently to restore the stone pavillian outside. (Amish specialties also figure prominently among the light fare offered to accompany the wine).

The Wine Dogs rode into Sunset Hills for their second visit with a violent thunderstorm at their tails. Fallen trees cut off power to the winery and blocked the roads. Diane, ever the gracious hostess, made the rounds to ensure all her guests were comfortable and content. Munchkin and Pomeroy had no complaints as they enjoyed the delicious 2008 Merlot on the deck with photographer Bob Burkhart (whose photos can be found on the Sunset Hills Red label as well as the poster for the Generals Wine and History Trail).

As a special treat, Diane took the Wine Dogs downstairs for a candlelight tour of the cellar. Pomeroy was impressed with the aptly named Chandelier Room. Stone walls, beamed ceilings, and antique furnishings offer a distinctive setting for a private tasting or dinner, such as the one Sunset Hills hosted for the Congressional Wine Caucus last year (perhaps a rehearsal dinner, Munchkin hinted).

Through the stained glass doors is the barrel room, where next year's fine wines are gently aging. With their passports stamped thanks to Mike, the Curious Canines appreciate Diane giving them the perfect excuse for a return to Sunset Hills to see how the wines turn out.

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Wine Dogs Discover There's No Place Like Hume

Date: Sat, Jul 10, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Hume Vineyards

Hume, Virginia

Actually, owners Stéphane and Andrea Baldi are quite modest about their new venture. Their website humbly suggests “If you have time, please stop by and say hello.” On July 10, the Munchkin and Pomeroy took them up on their invitation, landing four-square at the winery's grand opening celebration.

Stéphane told the Wine Dogs that making wine has been in the back of his head for over 10 years. You could say wine runs through the veins of this ex-pat Frenchman. Born in Paris, he moved to the Loire Valley at an early age. Growing up, Stéphane helped with the grape harvest at the family farm in Burgundy. The hard labor inspired, rather than discouraged him.

Stéphane crossed the Atlantic to study in the United States, where French cynicism gave way to American optimism. He met Andrea – a fellow social science researcher who shared his dream.

After much searching, the couple found a run-down cattle farm (one of the oldest in Hume), where they were married and planted their first grapes – Chambourcin.

Three years later, their labors and their vines are bearing fruit.

The property's picturesque white farmhouse has been restored and expanded to serve as a full-time home and office for Stéphane and Andrea.

They are joined by Annie Oakley, a yellow lab, and Watson, an English Shepherd,
who love their new career as winery dogs.

Seven acres are under vine, and Stéphane plans to add six more this year. Two of those acres will be Grenache, the first the Wine Dogs have heard of this Southern Rhone classic being planted in Virginia. The eventual goal is to produce all of Hume’s wines from estate fruit; grapes for the current vintages come from Breaux, where Stéphane has been working with winemaker Dave Collins.

There were a few bumps along the road to opening day. The silo barn Stéphane was restoring for the tasting room toppled under the weight of the snow from the winter’s blizzards (the barn can be seen in the painting by Andrea’s mother, who teaches art).

So a new facility was built from scratch, incorporating wood from the old red barn for the bar and using the red tin roof for wainscoting to lend a rustic feel.
The newly varnished wood floors had barely dried when the guests begin pouring in, spilling out onto the deck with its pleasant breeze and filling the picnic tables along the vineyard (thoughtfully furnished with umbrellas for shade). By the end of its opening weekend, Hume Winery had welcomed and wined more than 500 people and quite a few pets.

Among them were friends from the Baldis’ Eastern Market days, family (Andrea’s parents – in from Boston), and a few of the new neighbors, including John DelMare from up the road at Rappahannock Cellars. In addition to the Wine Dogs, Molly from Flavor Magazine was on-hand to chronicle the big day.

Inside, Stéphane poured four wines. Hume’s Vidal Blanc set Pomeroy’s white tail wagging wildly in approval. The Vouvray-style (Stéphane’s Loire Valley roots in evidence) preserves the floral aroma while the one percent residual sugar lends a hint of sweetness that nicely balances the grapefruit flavors. The Wine Dogs found it wonderfully refreshing choice for the dog days of summer.

Hume’s Chambourcin is a richer wine than usually seen from this hybrid grape, with a deep purple color and a jammy mouth feel that a Wine Dog can sink her teeth into. Munchkin gave it two enthusiastic paws up. A second bottling of Chambourcin, from estate grapes, will be released later this summer.

Detour – Hume’s Bordeaux blend – is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon tempered with Merlot (15%). The result is a rich nose with a hint of tobacco, tannins on the tongue, and a long finish. This is a wine that gets better and better as it opens up and breathes (swirl heavily or decant; better still, lay it down for a couple of years then de-cork and enjoy a pleasant detour from your daily life).

The Cabernet Sauvignon (with 5% Cabernet Franc) is more of a “drink now” wine. It has a garnet hue, and a touch of pepper to add a savory finish. Pomeroy considered it the pick of the litter.

Hume’s wines are as distinctive as their label, a graphic depiction of the main crossroads of the tiny Fauquier County village that gives both name and location to the winery. Stéphane chose a California designer who works for several wineries in the Santa Barbara area. When the designer told colleagues on the West Coast he was “working for Virginia,” they asked, “Virginia who?”

GRRRRR, growl the Wine Dogs. Virginia is THE up and coming wine-producing region, thanks to the state’s growing inventory of top-quality farm wineries like Hume Vineyards.

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Wine Blogger Conference Coming to Virginia

Date: Wed, Jul 7, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

Yip yip yippee! Governor McDonnell issued the official announcement today, barking out the exciting news. The bloggers are coming to Virginia for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference -- the first time this usually sold-out event will be on the East Coast. Munchkin and Pomeroy look forward to meeting fellow bloggers from across North America when they come to Charlottesville July 22-24. Organizers noted the full support of the Virginia Wine Board, Virginia Tourism, and the Charlottesville community in sealing the deal.

Governor Robert F. McDonnell: News: "Governor McDonnell Announces National Wine Bloggers Conference to be Held in Virginia
– Charlottesville Selected as 2011 Location for National Conference; 300 Attendees Expected --Premier National Event for Wine Bloggers-- –"

CHARLOTTESVILLE- Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the national 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference will be held in Charlottesville. The conference is expected to bring at least 300 attendees to the area for the 3-day gathering.

Commenting about the selection, Governor McDonnell noted, "Virginia wineries are garnering lots of attention across our country and around the world. By hosting the Wine Bloggers annual conference in Charlottesville, interest will continue to grow thus attracting more visitors to Virginia and its wineries. Since taking office, we have been looking at new and innovative ways to promote Virginia wines both domestically and internationally. In addition to announcements of major national conferences choosing Virginia, our major initiatives supporting tourism and the wine industry took effect last week on July 1st. Virginia is now the nation's fifth largest wine producer and seventh largest commercial grape producing state, and we are committed to growing this important, job-creating industry in the years ahead. I look forward to welcoming the Wine Bloggers Conference to the Commonwealth next July."

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Munchkin Filled with Patriot Spirit; Among First Tasters at GW's Historic Distillery

Date: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

George Washington's Distillery
Mt. Vernon, VA

Munchkin took a paws from wine-tasting to visit George Washington's Distrillery and Grist Mill today, as Washington's whiskey went on sale for the first time in almost 200 years!

The Father of our nation was not only "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," it appears he was also first in the distilling. Washington was the only Founding Father to operate a commercial distillery, dating to 1797.

The Distillery burned in 1814, but knowledge of the operations were preserved in Washington's writings.

The Distillery has been reconstructed and reopened in 2007; however, a lot has changed since George Washington's time. In the 18th Century, you could bring your own jug directly to the Distillery and they'd fill it up for you. Try to get that approved by the ABC.

Thanks to a change in Virginia law that went into effect today, however, Mt. Vernon is allowed to offer tastings and sell whiskey directly to the public -- the first such tasting since Prohibition.

Munchkin was among the first in line, sampling two versions. While there was much ado about the Rye Whiskey made according to the General's own recipe, Munchkin found it a bit too ruff for her refined palate, preferring the smoother Whiskey blend available at Mt. Vernon in commemorative sets.

What a wonderful way for a patriotic pup to kick off America's 234th Birthday Celebration weekend! Munchkin left full of patriotic spirit as she rushed home to tell Pomeroy about her audience with President Washington.

Munchkin also recently met with Thomas Jefferson at Philip Carter Winery's 2nd anniversary celebration.

And both Wine Dogs enjoyed a pleasant morning exchange with George Mason during the Cherry Blossom festival.

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Virginia Wine Dogs on TV (NBC 29)

Date: Sun, Jun 20, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

King Family Vineyards
Crozet, Virginia

Virginia Wine Dogs - NBC29

Munchkin and Pomeroy visited the King Family Vineyards and it was easy to see why David and Ellen King's boutique winery won the coveted Governor's Cup. While there, the Wine Dogs ran into the Pup-arazzi, and were featured on the evening news.

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Wine Dogs Meet with Virginia Agriculture Secretary

Date: Sat, Jun 19, 2010 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs

King Family Vineyards
Crozet, Virginia

While visiting the King Family Vineyards, Munchkin and Pomeroy had a private meeting with Virginia's Secretary of Agriculture, Todd Haymore (pictured above with the Wine Dogs).

Secretary Haymore told them how much he appreciated the Wine Dogs' role as spokespuppies for the industry, and filled them in on the many, many things he and Governor McDonnell are doing to help promote Virginia's wines and wineries (see Secretary's memo below).

Munchkin and Pomeroy are barking for joy at the prospect of the Wine Bloggers Conference coming to Virginia next year (they already have the Wineries Unlimited trade show on their calendar for March 30-31). The Wine Dogs look forward to catching up with Secretary Haymore, Governor McDonnell, and First Lady Maureen McDonnell and her FLITE Tour on the wine trail ahead.

Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry

Todd P. Haymore

This ...has already been an incredible year for the Virginia wine industry, both in terms of business and state support. As promised in his campaign and in visits to wineries and farms across the Commonwealth, the Governor has made the promotion of Virginia wine a signature piece of his Jobs & Opportunities agenda. It has also been my pleasure to support this industry from my first days as VDACS Commissioner and, now, as Secretary.

It's hard to believe how much we have accomplished in just six short months:

Working with the General Assembly, we have established a dedicated source of funding for the promotion of Virginia wine and increased the annual amount of that support from $580,000 per year to $1.35m. These additional funds will bring us closer to our largest East Coast competitors and will be dedicated to marketing, education, and research. The Virginia Wine Board has already adopted an FY11 budget that makes dramatic increases to our marketing and research efforts. I am pleased that the Board voted in support of the Governor's recommendations, including dedicated international marketing funds and the addition of another marketing employee tasked with increasing retail sales.

Today the Commonwealth Transportation Board, at the request of Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton, the Governor, and myself, allocated an additional $3.5m for a wine tourism initiative in conjunction with the Commonwealth's recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. The funds will be used to drive tourists from Virginia's visitor centers and rest areas to wineries through the use of enhanced signage and technology.

Last month I traveled to the United Kingdom in an effort to promote Virginia agricultural and specialty food products and to expand their market share in that country. The Governor will lead a trade mission to Europe in July and he, the First Lady, and I will continue to promote Virginia wine on that tour as well. In the coming year, Virginia will open trade offices in Europe, Asia, and on the Indian subcontinent, further increasing opportunities for the export of Virginia wine.

The Governor, the First Lady, and I continue to promote Virginia wine as part of our personal mission to increase the presence of local wines in restaurants and stores across the state. Due in large measure to the First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort (FLITE) tour of Virginia wineries, a number of area retail licensees have added or increased their stock of Virginia wines. In fact, one of my favorite Richmond restaurants just added three wines to its menu after participating in the First Lady's inaugural tour. We will be working with the First Lady to schedule more such tours in the near future.

Due in part to the support of the Governor and the energy of the Virginia industry, Richmond will be the host for the 2011 Wineries Unlimited trade show. More than 2000 industry members from up and down the East Coast are expected to attend, bringing in $1.5 million in revenue to our state.

We supported the efforts of Annette Boyd in the Wine Board Marketing Office to recruit the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference to Virginia. We will know if Annette's hard work pays off later this Summer.

From a business perspective, sales of Virginia wines increased in 2009 nearly 7.5 percent over the prior year. Virginia also rose to become the 5th largest wine producing state in the country. Along with that rise, wine grapes reached Virginia's Top 20 agricultural commodities list in 2009 with cash receipts of more than $10 million.

With the hard work of this industry, the high quality of our product, and the strong support of the McDonnell administration, I can say with certainty that 2010 has the potential to see even further growth for Virginia's wineries and vineyards. I look forward to ...even better things to come in the next four years.

With kind regards,

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