Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Openhouse Visitors

Blaise and Ben Nelson stopped by on their way to a formal event during our Christmas Openhouse, that was held December 4th and 5th.  Our openhouse, which kicked-off the holiday season, featured mulled wine, appetizers, and festive wine tastings for all.

The seasons celebrations continue with our Shenandoah Ruby Three-Bottle Special:  purchase three bottles of Shenandoah Ruby and recieve 10% off.  Includes gift box and and spice bag!

Holiday hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week.  Closed Christmas Day and News Years Day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shenandoah Uncorked!

Shenandoah Vineyards is excited to be among the five local wineries featuring wine and other items at this year's Shenandoah Uncorked event. In addition to the wineries, other local businesses will have locally produced fresh farm produce, specialty foods and crafts on display and available for purchase. The event is held at Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns, Saturday, November 13, from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more details; See:
Here are a couple pictures of the picturesque Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Watch #5 - Moving It Indoors (Brrr...)

It's getting less fun outdoors with temperatures dropping. It was decided to put this post under "Autumn Watch" because it uses things previously listed in this category. And, there is the added benefit it is made in the cozy indoors.

The picture shows wild mushroom ragu paired with Shenandoah Ruby wine and pineapple chunks. Wild Meadow Mushrooms were picked from the vineyard and dried. (See: Autumn Watch#1) Recipe also uses red wine and file. We used 3/4 bottle Shenandoah Ruby for the red wine, and fresh, young, green sassafras leaves, dried and finely ground, to make the file. Click here for the wild mushroom ragu recipe.

We could've gone all out in preparing an Appalachian meal by using acorn flour to make homemade pasta, and local goat cheese as a topping, and maybe stewed local apples or persimmons as a side dish, but there's a limit to the amount of work needed to keep it regional and local. The ragu was delicious and rich. Too rich for some people's taste, and there are those who reject wild mushrooms in any shape or manner. The wine of course paired perfectly, as it was used as an ingredient in the ragu.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Autumn Watch #4 - At Least The Grass Is Still Green

This is where we are now. Many of the trees have lost their leaves, although the oaks are persistently  and courageously clinging to their foliage.  There is still abundant foliage on the oaks in the National Forest, but it is the more subdued shades of browns and tans, with some bright spots of orange-brown here and there.

At least the grass is still green in the vineyard. The verdant green of the ground cover is a vivid contrast to the tan and falling leaves of the vines. End-posts of the Riesling rows are a keyboard along the top of the hill, at the ready to play melodies sweet and ethereal. An Eastern Red Cedar is the focal point on the steep hill visible as you drive to and from the winery.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn Watch #3 - We've Peaked

The autumn colors have peaked, and are marching to the more subdued tans, browns and rusts. There was a brief peak with its flourish of all-too-bright yellows, reds and oranges. But, after a couple of frosts its time for colors to begin resting. We'll try to post a few more Autumn Watch posts as the foliage deepens to siennas and coffees.

Early morning view across the front of the vineyard. Vineyard fruit is not limited to grapes, sweet scenes are tasty to the eye as well.

Picture is of Fort Valley Stables. Scenes as this are just a short drive from the vineyard. The hills and mountains are in the National Forest. Established trails are blazed and can be hiked or ridden on horseback.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn Watch #2 - Fence Row Along Block #2

Autumn is splashing color across the trees on the fencerow bordering block #2.

Both pictures show the flame-orange foliage of trees growing along the fence near block #2, Riesling, growing in front of the winery.  Pictures were taken on a misty-cloudy day, which gives colors the look of being in a museum. Vineyard workers have commented on the intense color of the trees, so we thought it worth a picture or two.  All grapes have been harvested, but the vines still display a verdant vitality as we haven't had a freeze yet.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Autumn Watch #1 - Wild Mushrooms

The grapes have been harvested. We finished the day before heavy rains set in. Actually, the last of the grapes were harvested during scattered showers prefacing heavy rain the following day. Tropical storms and remnants of tropical storms are not unusual in Virginia. These usually coincide with harvest.

If we're lucky, the fall rains will wait until after harvest. With rain comes mushrooms, and some particularly tasty ones can be found in the vineyard. We occasionally use a flail mower in the vineyard. This machine turns grass and vine cuttings into a fine mulch, and mixes it into the top layers of soil. Several types of mushrooms favor the mix of soil and decaying plant matter resulting from the use of a flail mower. The Meadow Mushroom, Agaricus campestris, and the Purple-Spored Puffball, Calvatia cyanthiformis, can be found in large numbers in the vineyard after a rain in the fall.

The following pictures show mushrooms picked from the vineyard and included in some quick, delicious breakfast dishes.

This is a basket of Meadow Mushrooms, Agaricus campestris, picked from the vineyard two days after finishing harvest and one day after about 3" of heavy rains. The bulk of these will be dried and used in a mushroom ragu recipe. The recipe calls for red wine, and the plan is to use Shenandoah Ruby as an ingredient in the ragu, and as an accompaniment to the meal.

These are puffballs, Calvatia cyanthiformis. They are found in the vineyard, sometimes growing alongside the Meadow Mushrooms pictured at the top. These should be picked while still young and very firm; potato-size is about right, although they will grow larger. Slice open and examine color. Use only if the inside is a uniform pure white.

Not patient enough to wait for the ragu, some fresh Meadow Mushrooms were sauteed in butter and used to top off a slice of toasted pumpernickel bread for breakfast. The dark color of the cooked mushrooms compliments the dark pumpernickel. Thin slivers of Swiss cheese were melted over the mushrooms to hold them in place.

This is a quick breakfast idea using a Puffball, Calvatia cyanthiformis. Puffballs should only be eaten if they are a uniform pure white inside as shown sliced by the knife. Thin slices are fried in butter over medium-low heat. (High heat will char them and ruin the flavor.) They become pliable and a beautiful light-brown. The slices were put on a toasted bagel, and Feta cheese flavored with tomato and basil was melted to hold the topping in place.


This breakfast again uses fried puffball, sliced very thin. The puffball on the right is shown to be a uniform pure white inside. This time the fried puffball slices were pressed into the top of a scrambled egg while still in the skillet and cooked into place. Egg and puffballs are served on top of a toasted bagel.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvest is Upon Us

In short, 2010 harvest yield is down but quality is as good as we've seen it in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There was some crop loss following spring frosts. Summer drought caused smaller berry weights than is normal. But, the fruit harvested was sweet, rich and ripe. The picture shows Cabernet Sauvignon ready to pick from the vineyard behind the winery. Yes, the berries are that blue. Breathtakingly blue.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

31st Annual Harvest Festival

Everyone is invited to join Shenandoah Vineyards for our 31st Annual Harvest Festival. We are now firmly into our 3rd decade among the longest established wineries in Virginia, and the oldest in Shenandoah Valley. The harvest festival is a long-held tradition where we open ourselves to participation with the people who've made us successful all these years. 

The festival is a day-long event from 11 am to 6 pm. Admission is $10 for drinking-age adults, and $5 for people under 21 and non-drinkers/designated drivers. Children 4 and under are admitted free. Attractions include winery tours and wine tasting, food and refreshments, live music, crafters and artists, activities for young people including pony rides and llamas. 

The winery and vineyard will be open inside and out for people to stroll about, ask questions and generally enjoy themselves. Call us for more information at 540-984-8699.

Mostly Local Breakfast

As the economy continues to dictate frugality, this is what we had for breakfast this Saturday morning at work. Coffee of course is mandatory. (It was a tad early for wine, but one can imagine adding Raspberry Serenade to lively-up a morning cup of coffee or tea.)

On the crackers we put pears, sliced thick with a wide groove, and crumbled cheese drizzled with honey. The pears were picked from a tree on the edge of the vineyard. Both the cheese and honey are produced locally.