Celebrating an Anniversary in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains by Tammie and Paul Limoges, owners of Sante Wine Beer and Gifts – Winchester, Virginia
The beautiful state of Virginia is known for many things: its historic significance, beautiful coastal lines and more recently, the more than 230 wineries that are producing award winning wines, with many allowing visitors to come and enjoy breathtaking scenery of acres upon acres of vineyards! Having recently opened a fine wine, craft beer and gourmet food shop in Winchester, we taste and compare many wines from Virginia and around the world so that we can offer our customers the very best in many different price points.
What we have found is that while France, South Africa, California and many other places around the world create wonderful wine, Virginia wineries offer a wonderful selection of crisp, vibrant wines, as well as bold, full bodied wines and everything in between to tantalize your taste buds!
For our 15 year wedding anniversary last month, we ventured out for a little road trip to explore beautiful vineyards and wineries in Northern Virginia, the Monticello Region, and the Shenandoah Region. With so many to choose from, we began creating our list by referring to the 2013 Virginia Governors Cup Top 12 Wine Medalists and chose 5 vineyards from that list. They included Trump Winery, Sunset Hills Winery, Pollak Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, and Barboursville Vineyards. We also made stops at Veramar Vineyards, Horton Cellars, Jefferson Vineyards, and had a wonderful lunch (with a flight of beers) at Blue Mountain Brewery.
As impressive as these landscapes and views were, we were equally impressed with the warm welcome and knowledgeable staff that we encountered. One very memorable stop was at Sunset Hills Winery where we purchased a bottle of their 2011 Cabernet Franc, along with a basket that included a warm baguette, brie cheese, salami and a fig spread and we sat on the beautiful patio while a light rain sprinkled down on the grape vines. We were thrilled when we were joined by winemaker, Nate Walsh, who took the time to come and greet us and tell us more about his background and the wines that Sunset Hills produces. This is a winery that we will certainly plan to visit again, and will bring our friends to as well.
After a whirlwind couple of days delighting in the many wonderful wines and beers made in Virginia, we returned to our wine and beer shop, Santé, with a greater understanding of the challenges that Virginia wine makers encounter such as weather, soil and temperature changes, and with a burning curiosity to continue to learn (and taste!) more of what Virginia has to offer.
Over the past six months since opening our store in the Kernstown Commons center in Winchester (near the Alamo Drafthouse), we have invited wine makers, distributors and other representatives to come to Santé to share with our customers about their products at a free monthly beer or wine tasting. Most recently, our July tasting was with Cave Ridge Vineyard and offered a taste of their Viognier and Chambourcin wine, which benefits the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (www.shenandoahatwar.org) in their effort to preserve historic battlefields in the area. By enjoying a wonderful bottle of their Virginia wine, you also contribute toward this organization’s efforts.
Santé Wine, Beer & Gifts opened in December 2012 and offers more than 200 fine wines from around the world, over 130 craft beers, gourmet foods and unique gifts. Visit us at www.santewineandbeer.comand LIKE US on Facebook to find out about specials and new products.