There are hundreds of wineries in Virginia, and we managed to visit only 5 during our September trip. Nice work if you can get it. Regional wineries are really coming of age with local grapes in the limelight. Thomas Jefferson was the nation’s first vintner, bringing back vitis vinifera from France. The Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia regions have excellent luck with the Viognier grape as well as Chardonnay. Some wineries are producing excellent Pinot Blanc as well. For the reds, Merlot grows well here, a well as Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin (not for everyone’s palate, but good with chocolate!). The Norton grape is grown only in Virginia and is a local favorite. This grape produces successful sweet, as well as dry, wines – unusual. Two standout wineries – Blenheim (owned by Dave Matthews by the way of the Dave Matthews Band – they try to keep this quiet for some reason!) and Barboursville… I felt “connected” to the grapes and the land while at Blenheim ( www.Blenheimvineyards.com ) . Barboursville wines ( www.Barboursvillecellars.com ) are as elegant as the surroundings. Another standout – Gabriele Rausse’s french style Chardonnay -not to miss a glass if it’s on a menu…this winery is not open to the public. Any questions if you’re visiting VA – ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Day One: Lewisburg, West Virginia – if you haven’t been to this incredibly lovely town about an hour from the Virginia border and pretty much smack dab in the middle of white water rafting country, you’re missing out. The town is rich in Civil War history, and boasts the General Lewis Inn, a lovely civil war era inn and restaurant serving up traditional fare, and some mighty fine biscuits and grits for breakfast, as well as fresh squeezed orange juice! We also decided to try “Food and Friends” restaurant, very popular amongst the locals and travelers alike. G had his first taste of Juengling beer there, and has been looking for a case ever since! We toured “Lost World Caverns”, a privately owned beautiful cave structure. Next time we’re going to get muddy and spelunk the caverns on the 4 hour tour! Lula
Please visit Lula’s home page www.lulasforlunch.com and check under “Seasonal Recipes” – about 2/3 down the home page. Click and you will bring up our entire soup selection – Lula loves soup; we have an extensive selection list – let us know if you’d like us to make something not on the list! PS….Two new soups this fall not on the list…Sweet Potato Five Spice and Williamsburg Pepper Pot!