Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let It Snow

Snow is just what the vineyard needs this time of year. A slowly melting cover of heavy snow seeps deep into the soil, replenishing moisture reserves for the next growing season.

Customers need not fret. The vineyard crew is usually on top of things, and will quickly plow snow from the driveway and parking lot allowing customers access to the winery when winter shows its teeth. So, if you're in the mood for some hot mulled wine and a snowball fight, give us a visit; we have the wine and we have the snow to make the best of the winter season. And, have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Gifts at Shenandoah Vineyards

In addition to wines that pair wonderfully with your holiday meals, we offer wine-related gift items. We are open every day through the holiday season, except Christmas and New Year's. Here are some pictures showing a few of the things available in our gift shop...

Easy to hold and handsome, our gift boxes carry wine bottles and glasses. No assembly required but you will need to pull the cork.

Behind the old grape press is a display of locally produced Virginia honey. Stuck to the refrigerator filled with gourmet snacks are decorative magnets (we have lots of designs and sizes including ones specific to our winery). Illuminated in the background is our Christmas tree.

As you can see from the pictures, our gift shop is rather fully stocked. It would be hard not to find something interesting or practical, or delicious and refreshing. During the holiday season we have additional treats and enticements for the holiday shopper. Mulled wine is a cold weather favorite. Let us ladle out a sample for you, warm and spicy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Floyd Polk Rememberance - 1923-2009

Floyd Polk passed away on Thursday, December 3, 2009. From the employees at Shenandoah Vineyards who knew and worked with Floyd, we miss him. As much as the vines and trellis posts stately standing in the vineyard, Floyd could be seen working between them, among them. He was part of the landscape. After his retirement, and especially now after his passing, there is an unfilled space in the vineyard; vines tilt reverently toward where he once stood. Floyd was the embodiment of a proud, tireless work ethic. We will not forget his figure in the landscape, and the vineyard he once tended still bears sweet fruit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Food for the Holidays

Almost all holiday traditions feature food. Most traditional holiday fare involves lengthy and elaborate planning and preparation. Shenandoah Vineyards would like to suggest a more feasible tradition; a fancy snack combining gourmet foods and wine. This would be a small meal, on the order of an appetizer so rich in flavor and ceremony it becomes the central focus.

The French have amuse-gueule, the Spanish have tapas. At Shenandoah Vineyards a couple or small group might choose a soft cheese or smoked salmon to spread on a gourmet cracker, and pair it with a bottle of wine. The preparation is simple and quick, the taste and experience are intense and enriching. The photograph shows some of the ingredients we offer. We invite you to sample our wine, food and ideas over the holiday season.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shenandoah Uncorked Pleases Crowd

The weather cleared, the crowds gathered, the smell of coffee and doughnuts was in the air and the first Shenandoah Uncorked festival began.  Sam and Stacia are pictured at the Shenandoah Vineyards booth at The Yellow Barn just prior to the festival opening.

The large cask behind them was salvaged from the vineyard and reconditioned into a display for wines made in Shenandoah County. The purple sign was something we dug out of the tractor shed. Attics, cellars, sheds and small towns hold within their confines the most wondrous of treasures. Judging by the large turnout and good sales, the crowd was pleased by the festival. We all hope for continued success into the future

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shenandoah Uncorked - Nov. 14, 2009

Shenandoah Vineyards is proud to be among the five Shenandoah County wineries and other local businesses at Shenandoah Uncorked. A family oriented event, Shenandoah Uncorked will showcase local businesses whose job it is to make and keep Shenandoah County a great place to live and work. The event will take place at The Yellow Barn, pictured above, at Shenandoah Caverns on Saturday, November 14, 2009.

Among the important businesses located in Shenandoah County, local wineries are recognized as the attractive and public face of agriculture. Agritourism allows the public to see where the food they buy at the grocers comes from, and have fun doing it. In regions where grape growing is viable, places like Europe, California and right here in Virginia, wineries have been the centerpiece in the development and promotion of agritourism.

Shenandoah County is home to some of the oldest, and newest operating wineries in the state. Join us for a day of live music, food, refreshments and activities for the whole family. Regular admission is $5. $10 includes wine glass and tasting. Ages 12 and under get in free. For directions and additional information see:
Shenandoah Uncorked

For a list of activities and attractions see:
Yellow Barn website

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2009 Autumn Foliage Watch - Final Chapter

This will likely be the last post about the 2009 Autumn Foliage. The region has experienced several frosty mornings. Foliage has progressed toward warm browns, still beautiful but lacking the vibrancy of firery yellows, reds and oranges. Above photo shows a corner of the front vineyard where vines still maintain foliage showing nice color. The tall trees to the left are Catalpa, bravely clinging to some leaves. Nature is a warm ember cooling toward winter. Photos will continue to be posted, probably showing indoor activities, or winterscapes if they merit attention.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Hot Air

TC, winery sales manager and astute observer and organizer of winery activities, alerted the vineyard crew to the presence of a hot air balloon over the vineyard. It was a couple hundred feet up, and looked to be slowly descending. As it drew closer a vineyard worker ran to get his camera. The balloon continued to descend; a lapis lazuli pendant dropping in luxurious slow motion from a sky of white silk. Rows of vines like fingers, outstretched to catch a precious stone. Aloft passengers waved to earthbound admirers.

The balloon looked like it would touch down in the field adjacent to the vineyard to the south, behind some trees. The pilot asked if he could set down in one of the open fields on the vineyard property? Observers on the ground answered he was welcome to land anywhere he wanted.

The retrieval crew drove onto vineyard property in a van hauling a trailer. The balloon hovered over the trees, slowly approaching earth behind the winery; the pilot telling his ground crew exactly where he was going to land. He touched down on the gravel drive, and the ground crew guided the balloon basket to a spot where passengers could safely exit the basket, and the balloon to deflate onto the open grass. Here are some pictures:

Turns out the passengers had visited the winery the day before and told TC they were going on a balloon ride. They had no idea they would land at the same winery again the next day. TC wondered about the practicality of having a store of sparkling wine for future balloon landings.We hope balloonists can maneuver future landings in the merry old land of Shenandoah Vineyards.

Autumn Foliage Watch #5

Foliage is right about peak in the valley. The higher elevations in the National Forest are definitely post-peak having weathered several frosty mornings. The photograph shows the winery residence from the vineyard behind the winery. The end post of the vineyard block containing Cabernet Sauvignon gently leans in front of the potting shed. Maples are a rich golden-yellow. Black Walnuts are in siloutte, devoid of leaves. Vineyard in front of winery is partially visible beyond and behind the residence. Shrouded in mist, Massanutten Mountain attempts to punch through the low cloud ceiling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Autumn Foliage Watch #4

This is a view of the GW National Forest and Fort Valley from the hiking trail closest to the winery, about a 10 minute drive to the trailhead, then a 20 minute hike to this spot. This is the section of the Massanutten Trail North that rounds the nose of Short Mountain visible from the winery. Cliffs are located just off the trail as you approach the ridge. As it was early evening, there wasn't much light, then it started raining... Still, you get a sense of the full palette of colors nature splashes in her wild autumn frenzy.

Specifically, you are looking east through Edinburg Gap, this is the mountain gap very prominent in the view from the front of the winery. Beyond the gap is Fort Valley, and Kennedy Peak juts skyward on the far side of the valley.

As this weekend is peak for autumn foliage color, pictures will be posted to capture a sense of the display. There is a natural beauty here beyond words and imagination, and fully worthy of respect and preservation. Here is a link to a panoramic image from near the same spot as the above picture. It was a clear afternoon, and shows the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains on the distant horizon; See:
Edinburg Gap panorama

Fall Celebration Progressive Dinner - Oct.24

Make plans to attend this year's Fall Celebration Progressive Dinner, Saturday October 24, 2009. Activities for this event begin with appetizers and wine at North Mountain Vineyard at 6:30 pm. The event progresses to dinner and wine at Shenandoah Vineyards at 8:00 pm. The progression finishes with dessert paired with wines from both North Mountain and Shenandoah Vineyards at Hockman Manor House B&B at 9:30 pm. Call 540-984-8699 for reservations and information. Autumn colors will be near peak for this event, so come early and make a day of it.


Appetizers - North Mountain Vineyard - 6:30 pm
Cheese Board w/Fresh Fruit
Rustic Rosemary Tart
Fig & Olive Tapenade on French Bread
Country Ham & Smoked Gouda in Phyllo Tartlets
Appetizers paired w/North Mountain Vineyard wines

Dinner - Shenandoah Vineyards - 8:00 pm
Salad - Frisee and Grape Salad w/Shallots, Blue Cheese & Herb Vinaigrette

Soup - French Onion Soup

Entree - Grilled Herb Rubbed Tuscan Pork Loin
served w/Cranberry and Carmelized Onion Sauce
Orzo w/ Lemon, Garlic, Parmigianino & Herbs
Green Beans w/Crispy Pancetta, Mushrooms & Shallots
Assorted Rolls & Butter
Dinner paired w/Shenandoah Vineyards wines

Dessert - Hockman Manor House - 9:15 pm
Custard Tart w/Wine Poached Grapes
Coffee-Toffee Pecan Pie
Coffee w/Dessert
Dessert paired w/North Mountain and Shenandoah Vineyards wines

Wild persimmons and sassafras leaves were gathered to give the viewer a feeling that we are experiencing autumn in all her glory. Nature paints herself in oranges, reds and browns of varying and infinite shades.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn Foliage Watch #3 - Oct. 21

The shade Maples in front of the winery owner's home are turning a yellow-orange. The Black Walnuts have lost most of their foliage and shed walnuts by the hundreds. All the grapes have been picked and crushed. We've had two mornings with frost helping to really bring color to the foliage. We are close to peak. Colors are approaching spectacular.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last of the Summer Grapes

The vineyard crew gathers around Cabernet Sauvignon; each grape being the deep purple point of an exclamation marking the end of a good harvest. The proud vineyard workforce admiring their effort is from the left, Carl, Sonia, Justin and Ariel.

The end of the 2009 harvest marks both an end and a beginning. The fruit having been gathered, we can now concentrate on the work required of next year's and future harvests. All needs, wants, deficiencies and strengths of the vineyard can now receive more focus. There is no rest for the vineyard crew who must prune and do trellis maintenance throughout the winter season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn Foliage Watch #2

Autumn colors are developing nicely. While things are still predominately green around the vineyard, the nearby forest is beginning to show good color. The above photos are taken in the George Washington National Forest, only a very short drive from the winery. Massanutten Mountain, which appears on our label, is almost entirely in the National Forest. Indeed, when visiting our winery you are just a very short distance from the national heritage that is the National Forest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn Foliage Watch #1

Autumn is the busiest season for the winery. Many of our customers are in the region to enjoy the colorful display of fall foliage. To facilitate your leaf-peeping desires, we will provide a window showing the progress of autumn color. As of Oct. 4, green still predominates. Virginia Creeper is turning red, and Black Walnut is beginning to turn yellow as seen in the picture. Golden-yellow early morning sun splashes gold across the foliage just beginning to change color. River mist blankets the base of Massanutten Mountain. Photograph is the vineyard from the sale's room deck. As with all the pictures in this blog, the photo enlarges when you click on it.

The nearby GW National Forest is a prime area to see glorious autumn colors. The Lee Ranger District has a webpage devoted to fall colors; See:
Why Leaves Change Color.

Harvest is in full swing. We have finished picking the white grapes and will begin picking reds this week. We'll finish the harvest after the Cabernet Sauvignon is picked within 2 weeks. Will try to snap a picture or two if I get the chance...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Edinburg Ole' Time Festival

Shenandoah Vineyards participated in the Edinburg Ole' Time Festival. Our location in town was changed at the very last minute, and we were asked to relocate to the Edinburg Mill. Other vendors were located in the front parking lot, but we were told to locate in the patio area behind the flood wall in the front of the building. The new site was found to be almost ideal; a very beautiful if somewhat secluded space.

The sales tent and supplies were delivered and set up Saturday morning. Traffic was backed up in town, and vendors were open for business. Although our space was among the most beautiful in Edinburg, we realized visibility was a problem. The patio where we were located was behind a tall flood wall and behind a long row of vendors.

Unable to erect a very tall banner, few people could find us. It should be emphasized we loved the space. In the future we will have to plan appropriate signage to make our presence known. These pictures of the mill and patio were taken the week following the festival, so the activities of the previous weekend depend on imagination.

This is a view of the Edinburg Mill from the corner of the front parking lot. Stoney Creek is directly behind the camera. As with all waterways, Stoney Creek rarely but occasionally overflows its banks so a substantial and impressive flood wall was incorporated into the latest renovation of the Mill. The flood wall is the tan-orange structure capped with a row of glass or Plexiglas panels. A flood gate is visible at the left end of the wall. We were located in the patio area directly behind the corner of the wall visible in the photograph.

This is the patio area where we were located. The inside-corner of the wall corresponds to the outside-corner seen in the first photo. During the festival, large picnic tables w/shade umbrellas were placed around the patio. Civil War lectures were given in this space during the festival; the wall also dampens outside noise making for a quiet area for lectures, discussions and meetings in general.

The Edinburg Mill offered a limited opening of its museum during the festival. There is still extensive construction going on within the building. The grand opening is scheduled for spring, 2010. The patio space is open for public viewing. Donors to Mill reconstruction have their names etched into patio stone. And, of course you can feed the geese in Stoney Creek.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hot Air Balloons

Hot air balloons are frequently seen floating near the vineyard. You most often see them in the morning or evening when winds are calm. This one was seen in the morning and descended to tree-top level in the field next to the vineyard. It was close enough to make for a good picture in the early morning light.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Harvest Festival Report

Happy faces of the winery staff, vendors, musicians and most importantly the guests, confirm the Harvest Festival was a success. First, a few pictures;

These pictures show some of the crowd gathered to watch and judge the grape stomping contest. I apologize for so few pictures, but I was kinda busy having fun giving tours and seminars inside the winery. We cleared a big open space in the winery where 50 people could sit at tables and get acquainted with the winery operation, and get helpful hints for appreciating wine. There was also plenty of room to stand when the crowd grew large. Ken Stone, a guitarist from Crystal City, VA, also entertained in the cellar space.

Immediately outside the cellar, the band, Nodrama, rocked the crowd. They're due credit for a tireless performance that energized the crowd throughout the day. They also provided the short musical interludes for the grape stomping contest. Many thanks.

Weather was cool, partly cloudy and breezy, typical for late summer. Kids didn't escape the fun. There was a children's tent with Italian ice, popcorn and facepainting, as well as llamas for petting and horses and ponies for riding.

Judging from the many thanks given to the winery staff by guests we think the festival went well. Afterward, the winery owner, Emma Randel, and her family provided the traditional after-festival supper for workers and volunteers. We're already discussing ways of making the next Harvest Festival every bit as fun and successful as the last.

Friday, September 11, 2009

30th Annual Harvest Festival

On the eve of our Harvest Festival, planning and preparations are largely complete and everything is ready to go. Everybody has worked hard and hopes are high the event will be successful. Most importantly, the weather looks cooperative, if not outstanding. Vendors and guests have already begun to arrive.

In addition to our regular band, Nodrama, we will have another musician performing in the Cellar Lounge. Ken Stone will provide solo guitar music when Nodrama is not performing. This arrangement should provide live music throughout most of the festival. The Lounge is a performance space we've opened in the cellar. It's still a little rough, but with practice it should become perfect. This space will also be used for seminars and as a gathering spot for conducting tours of the winery. (We are calling this "The Cellar Door" in honor of the famous but defunct D.C. nightclub.)

Of course we will have wine, cold and by the bottle and glass. Food and refreshments will be served. We will have horses and llamas, door prizes, popcorn and snow cones. The t-shirts feature the 30th Annual Harvest Festival logo. Vendors will have all kinds of crafty sorts of things. So, come on out and make it happen. The recovery has started, see and feel it in Shenandoah Valley.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

This is a popular treat when the peaches get ripe. Cut up a peach into a wine glass and fill the fruit-filled glass with Sweet Serenade wine. Let the peaches steep in the 'fridge overnight. In the morning you have what the women in our salesroom call, "breakfast of champions." Of course soft, ripe, sweet peaches make the best champion batches. The peach in the picture is from a volunteer peach tree in the front vineyard.

New Sign

I decided to post a picture of the new sign. This sign replaces the old one that was looking weathered after many years, finally succumbing to the weather when a windstorm toppled it. The new sign is anchored on concrete footers on substantial posts. It has a clean art-deco look. You can't miss it when driving to the vineyard.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Photographing the Vineyard

We had a good thunderstorm Friday, July 17. I had things to do at the winery Saturday morning, and had my camera as I always do. Opportunity presents itself to those who are ready for it, and the morning was as picturesque as any I've seen. Cameras can capture many things. The beauty of a rural landscape is a frequent occurrence at the vineyard, and can be a rich reward for the photographer willing to greet the sunrise.

I drove out to this point in the vineyard. It is block#3 (red and white hybrids), adjacent to the entrance to the vineyard. I hopped into the back of my pickup and set the camera and small tripod on the roof of the truck. The shot was taken almost directly into the sun, and shows block#4 (Seyval) behind the lens flair.

This photo is taken from the exact same spot as the 1st photo, but I swung the camera around to photograph the winery in bright, low-angle morning light. Vineyard block#3 is in the foreground, block#2 (Chardonnay and Riesling) is below the Black Walnut tree in the center of the photo. Block#1 (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon) can be seen behind the winery building.

The photo above was taken from the top deck of the winery. In the foreground is block#2, in the distance is block#3 where I took the two pictures preceding this one. If you imagine a pickup truck in the middle of the top vineyard block, beneath the two towers, that's where I was to take the 1st two photos. Morning is a beautiful time to photograph landscapes. Customers should come out early and check it out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Released

Some wines are big enough to support an architectural structure. As the photo portrays (jokingly) our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon has the structure required to support a big wooden deck. More seriously, we taste carob, leather, cherries and berries at this early stage. American oak provides a recognizable but not overpowering wood component. Wine was bottled on 7/10/09, and consisted of 338 cases. The wine is photographed on our lower deck, on the entrance level to our tasting room.

Fiesta Released

Fiesta is our sweet blush table wine. Concord grapes give it a very familiar and popular aroma and taste. Concord grapes are familiar to most people as the grape making the jelly paired most frequently with peanut butter in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Chilled, Fiesta makes a refreshing beverage that fits perfectly with a hot summer day. Wine was bottled on 5/21/09, and consisted of 420 cases. Photo shows a bottle of Fiesta on the railing of the upper deck, overlooking the front vineyard, Massanutten Mountain, and Edinburg Gap.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Country Cookout July 11, 2009

Here's a review of the 2009 Country Cookout event. The cookout was successful enough that a decision has already been made to continue it into the future. Although we did get a good storm early in the day, the evening weather was delightful with a comfortable warm breeze, and the grounds were dry.

Food was plentiful and fitting for a picnic in the country; Pork barbecue on bun, chicken kabobs, and various summertime side-dishes. Ice tea was a welcome refreshment. Dessert was ice cream on cherry cobbler. Sweet, cool watermelon wedges were a reminder that this was a summer meal.

The band kept the evening lively, and had guests mixing it up on the dance floor. Show consisted of popular '70s covers. The pace and excitement of the music continued to build as the evening progressed, reaching a fairly loud crescendo by the end of the event at 11 PM. We had a friendly visit from a county deputy sheriff. The band was packing their equipment when he arrived. He said there was a complaint about the noise. Seeing the show had ended, the deputy said he didn't see a problem, and told us to have a good evening.

Photo shows band and guests near the dance floor during early evening. Tables near the band, and on the two decks were the most popular. Although the winemaker was present for questioning in the wine cellar, only a few guests took advantage of the opportunity. Most guests remained outdoors enjoying the beautiful evening.

We welcome recommendations for making these events more popular and successful in the future. Please don't be shy. Let's get some back-and-forth happening on this blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bridal shoot

The winery was the backdrop for a bridal photo shoot today. TC asked the bride and photographer if they minded me taking a picture. I felt a bit intrusive, but they were happy to allow me to snap a photograph. You see the bride and her mother sitting on the deck outside the tasting room

Friday, May 15, 2009

Warmth Returns

Spring is cradling the vineyard with warmth and sun. It is again comfortable to sit outside on the deck and share a sip with a friend or friends. This post marks no event except thankfulness that my hands no longer ache from the cold of winter. No picture accompanies this post since my home computer's hard drive crashed, and that's where all my pictures and photo editing software are kept, at home, on a dead computer. So, I guess I'll try to capture spring in my camera, where it will remain in stasis, 'til I get my computer fixed...

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 16, we'll be at the Virginia Wine and Crafts Festival in Front Royal, VA. The end of the month, Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, we'll be at Vintage Virginia at Bull Run Park, in Centreville, VA.,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

All That Spring Brings

Early spring. Nighttime temperatures still drop down to freezing. But, warmth comes earlier each successive morning. As alway, work in the vineyard is falling behind schedule. If the nights remain cool we may be able to catch up. The sun actually feels warm, and is no longer a cold white light low in the winter sky. Its color is warmer now. Colors in general are brighter, more vivid.

The picture with this post was taken Easter morning, before business opening (no cars). The tree is crabapple, in early bloom. The front of the winery is soaking up the morning sun. Not a cloud in the sky.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easter Weekend

We offer a wine and cheese pairing over the Easter weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12, 2009. Delicious combinations of food and wine will be suggested. Tastings and a souvenir glass are available for $8 per individual. Here's hoping for a beautiful spring weekend, so you can sit on the deck and watch the valley and mountains rejoice in their verdant awakening. (These are not just words. You have to see it to believe it.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vintage Bottlings

A customer dropped by the winery today with some interesting memorabilia. He brought in several old bottles of our wine, all aged several decades. One bottle, a 1977 Shenandoah Blanc, was among some of the first wine bottled after the winery opened. Can't say the wine was drinkable (I didn't try it), but the bottles displayed an admirable age and grace. See the picture above. Click on the picture to see an enlargement.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Founder's Reserve Chardonnay Released

We have released our 2006 Founder's Reserve Chardonnay on 3/13/09. Bottling consisted of 182 cases. This wine was fermented and aged in French oak barrels. We thought this wine so deserving, we posted two pictures of it. The top picture shows a bottle and glass on the winery deck, overlooking the vineyard shrouded in late-winter morning fog. The bottom photo shows the bottle on our tasting counter.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sauvignon Blanc Released

Our Sauvignon Blanc Lot07 was released on 3/6/09. This wine was barrel fermented in American oak. We noted butterscotch and kiwi in the newly bottled wine. Total cases 128.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wine Pairing Weekends in March

Be sure to visit Shenandoah Vineyards in March. Beginning Saturday, March 7, 2009, we will offer wine and food pairings every weekend for the rest of the month. The event will be Saturdays and Sundays, March 7 and 8, 14 and 15, 21 and 22, 28 and 29. A fee of $8 per individual includes wine tastings and food pairings, and a souvenir glass. Call 540-984-8699 for more information.

Raspberry Serenade Released

Raspberry Serenade is available again. Release date was Feb. 13, 2009, just in time for Valentine's Day. Cases bottled, 477. This sweet dessert wine has a very up-front raspberry aroma and flavor.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine Weekend

Bring your valentine to our winery for wine and snack pairings over the Valentine's weekend. We will be celebrating Valentine's Day all weekend. Call or email for more information.