Ankida Ridge Vineyard: Where Heaven and Earth Join

Ankida Ridge Vineyards Amherst County, Virginia October 2018   With an elevation of around 1800 ft, a steep southeast aspect, and weathered granite soils over 500,000 million years old, Ankida Ridge’s name is befitting its breathtaking splendor—“Ankida,” an ancient Sumerian word which means where heaven and earth join. It’s definitely one of the most stunning vineyards I’ve visited.  Located in […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Caledonia

Scotland 2012   Every day, I walk/run on the dreadmill–I mean treadmill and listen to all kinds of music; however, lately, I’ve been listening to Pandora’s 80’s station. And, the song, “In the Big Country” by the Scottish rock band, Big Country kept popping up.  I liked it, especially the bagpipes, so here it is along with some of my favorite quotes by Scottish novelist and poet, Robert Louis Stevenson. 🙂   “Make the most of the best and the least of the worst.”   “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”   “Wine is bottled poetry.”   “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”   “The saints are the sinners who keep on trying.”     Wishing everyone a beautiful day!   *Many thanks to friend and talented photographer, Doug Frassa for his lovely photographs.

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Berry and Red Wine Sorbet

A wonderful combination of berries and red wine, this easy and elegant sorbet has aromas and flavors of blackberry cobbler and strawberry preserves.  So refreshing, it’s the perfect light ending to any holiday meal. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover wine. 😉   Berry and Red Wine Sorbet: *Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Makes: 12 Servings Makes: […]

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Chateau Carbonnieux & Thomas Jefferson

Château Carbonnieux and Thomas Jefferson’s Visit in 1787     Jefferson himself said it best:  “…so ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?—certainly in my own, where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of life.—Which would be your second choice?—France.”   In 1740, the estate was sold to the monks of the Sainte-Croix abbey in Bordeaux and a new era began for Carbonnieux.  Initially purchased to be ‘a mother earth’ for the abbey, the Carbonnieux estate soon became the major investment of the Benedictine monks who did not hesitate to borrow huge amounts of money to take their Carbonnieux growth to the very top of white Graves wine ranking.  Don Galléas was one of the first to blend varieties and to bottle wine which made it easier for it to be transported and kept for longer before being drunk.  His vinification methods and his cellars were among the most modern in the region.  In the ranking of the Guyenne Intendance, published in 1776, the white wines of the “Aux Bénédictins de Carbonnieux” were very much appreciated.  Although the “premier cru de Pontac” (Haut-Brion) was the reference for red wines at the time, Carbonnieux by far led the ranking of white wines from Guyenne.  Thanks to the talents and entrepreneurship of the Benedictine monks from the Sainte-Croix abbey for half a century, the domain […]

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Friday Farm Favorites: The Beauty Before Us

Volunteer sunflower in the garden Green Hill Farm   “When we come upon beautiful things….they act like small tears in the surface of the world that pull us through to some vaster space.”   ~Elaine Scarry   We have had a lot of rain this summer. I’m talkin’ forty days, forty nights kinda rain. It’s rained so much that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an ark in the garden.  I mean, we’ve got grass growing where it doesn’t usually grow—in the driveway, in the mulch of the flower beds, in the chickens’ aviary. Plus, the grass in the sheep pasture is more lush and green than it was in the spring.  The sheep are constantly wet; I even think their wool is starting to felt. It’s been a bit dreary, too. And, after a while, all that gray can really get to a girl. This time of year is usually my favorite. The heat and humidity have broken, and the sky is the most vibrant color of blue. The lilies and roses are still blooming, and the garden is a lovely place. But, not this year. Yesterday, I looked out the window, and the grayness covered the backyard and fields like a blanket.  My garden, which is usually fairly neat and weed-free, resembled something more along the lines of a jungle.  However; as I glanced across the overgrown expanse, something bright and cheerful caught my eye.  It […]

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Tuesday Tunes: The Grapevine

Meadows of Dan, Virginia  Blue Ridge Parkway   Recently, Farmguy and I participated in the grape harvest at a local winery just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwestern Virginia.  Located in the Rocky Knob American Viticultural Area (AVA), Chateau Morrisette Winery sits at an elevation of nearly 3500 feet.  Boasting spectacular views, it’s amid one of the most rugged and mountainous parts of the state.  Although the winery is at 3500 feet, most of its vineyards are down the mountain at 1600 feet. Chateau Morrisette Winery was founded by David Morrisette in 1978, making it among the oldest wineries in Virginia.  It has 13 acres of land and produces approximately 70,000 cases of wine each year. Chardonnay, Viognier, Chambourcin, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng, and Vidal blanc are among the varietals used in making Chateau Morrisette’s wines.  Besides growing many of its own grapes, the winery also buys grapes from other vineyards in Virginia.  Due to the state’s climate and growing season, Viognier and Cabernet Franc are some the winery’s most successful varieties. In the photos, Farmguy and I are harvesting Niagara grapes—a variety of the North American grape species Vitis labrusca.  Niagara grapes are one of the few grape varieties that can grow at such a high elevation. These green grapes are table grapes and are also used in making jams, juices, and wines.  They are mainly used in Chateau Morrisette’s sweet/dessert wines—Sweet Mountain Laurel and Red […]

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Gratitude

Double rainbow on Green Hill Farm “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson     Enjoy your day!

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A World Class Wine from Virginia

    The dream of a world class Virginia wine began with Thomas Jefferson.  Although Jefferson knew that Virginia had the weather and terroir for grape growing and winemaking, he never saw his dream come to fruition. This is, in part, due to Phylloxera—an aphid-like insect that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines.  However, Virginia grape growers now understand that to successfully grow European grapes, they must first graft the vine onto phylloxera resistant American rootstock.  This was the first major hurdle to realizing the dream of a Virginia wine, the next, proving the viability of grape growing as an agricultural endeavor. Officially, the wine industry in Virginia began in 1976 with the Zonin family, one of Italy’s largest wine producers. They bought Barboursville in Orange, an area near Charlottesville, with the hopes of starting a vineyard.  Underlying this decision was the belief that European grapes could thrive in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  After the purchase of Barboursville, the Zonin family invited Gabriele Rausse, an Italian winemaker, who is currently the Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, to assist in making the dream of a Virginia wine a reality. Today, the Commonwealth boasts hundreds of successful wineries and vineyards, many producing award winning wines–including Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia’s first commercial winery.  And, Gabriele Rausse is partially responsible, having consulted on 40 vineyards and 10 wineries in the Commonwealth, including his own.  He is considered the father of modern […]

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A Hard Rain

Sheep heading towards the barn as a storm brews on Green Hill Farm     “You are never alone or helpless.  The force that guides the stars guides you too.”   ~Shrii Shrii Anandamurti; Indian philosopher     Praying for all of those who are in the path of Hurricane Florence.  

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