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Cindy Schornberg
 
April 22, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Lydia & Tyler say "I DO"

Congratulations to Lydia & Tyler who were married at Keswick Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA this past Saturday.  Mother Nature did her job by giving them a beautiful Spring day for their outdoor wedding ceremony.  I really loved the colors chosen for this wedding.  The bridesmaids dresses were this beautiful teal color that just popped next to the khaki color suits the guys wore.  You also would find splashes of lime green in details like napkin colors and the brides father's tie.  Special thanks to the following vendors for doing a spectacular job:  Barb Wired Event Planner,  Catering by Glorious Foods, Ward Photography, hair & make-up by A More Beautiful You, A New Leaf Florist, cake by Albemarle Baking Company, Officiant Roger Collier, DJ Jason Wells, buses by Camryn Limousine and rentals by MS Events.  Click here to view some of the professional photos by Ward Photography.

Time Posted: Apr 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
April 18, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

2nd Wedding of the Year!

Congratulations to Jessica & Niall who were married at Keswick Vineyards on April 13th.  It was great to have a couple  from our home towns; Michigan and Keswick, Virginia, getting married here.  What are the chances of that happening?  I definitely could relate to the speech given by the best man when he referenced Jessica's love for Christmas.  Everyone from Michigan knows how special of a place Bronner's Christmas Store is in Frankenmuth, Michigan and that is where Jessica is from.  Jessica even had ornaments that she and Niall made at each table setting at the wedding reception.  You will see from some of my photo's all the little details that made this wedding so special.  I really like how the centerpieces had birch wood wrapped around the arrangement and then it had their initials engraved on them.  The one thing I will remember most from this wedding is Jessica's contagious laugh.  It was great to see how much she enjoyed her wedding day and how loving Niall's family is towards her.  There were so many special moments I got to witness from this family throughout the evening which is what I love most about my job.  From Jessica's sister walking her down the aisle to Niall's cousin playing music at the outdoor ceremony.  The list goes on and on.  Thank you to the following vendors for doing an exceptional job:  Event Planner Barb Wired, Caterers C&O Restaurant, Officiant Pat Belisle, Musicians Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun, DJ Andy Wilfong, Cake by Jennifer Ratcliff, Photographer Tom Daly and assistant Mariette Barbier, A New Leaf florist, rentals by MS Events and Skyline Tents and buses by Camryn Limousine.  Click here to see some professional photos by Tom Daly.
Time Posted: Apr 18, 2013 at 8:47 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
April 8, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

2013 Wedding Season Begins!!!

Well, the day finally came. Keswick Vineyards 2013 wedding season began on Saturday, April 6th, with the marriage of Bridget & Mike. I'm not sure who was more nervous the night before; me or Bridget? I am happy to report that our first wedding was perfect! Even Mother Nature did her part and provided a beautiful Spring day (was a little worried since 3 days earlier it was snowing). Bridget was a beautiful bride! Her lace wedding gown was breathtaking. I loved hearing later in the evening from Mike that it was so hard for him to keep it together when he first saw Bridget coming towards the alter. I LOVE the fact that Bridget made her bouquet. It wasn't made from flowers but from brooches including some from her Grandmother. How special is that? Another item I really thought was pretty was the ball of flowers that the flower girl carried. Adorable! And check out the photo of the neat pattern of flower petals that Bridget chose for the aisle. The success of their wedding couldn't of been possible without the help from the following vendors: BBQ Exchange did the catering with the guidance from Jaclyn, photographers Jason & Tammy Keefer (can't wait to see their photo's!), Officiant Gay Einstein, wedding cake by Chandlers, florist Elaine Webb, DJ Andy Wilfong, Anne Kibler of Charlottesville Makeup Artist, rentals from MS Events, Carpe Donut for supplying a late night snack and Albemarle Limousine providing the get away car.  Click here to read a blog from BBQ Exchange featuring photos from Jason & Tammy Keefer.
Time Posted: Apr 8, 2013 at 8:48 AM
Stephen Barnard
 
April 2, 2013 | Stephen Barnard

Is Virginia Viognier "Authentic"?

By technical definition, authentic, or authenticity refers to something being "real" or "genuine", the origin of which is supported by un-questionable evidence. One can easily apply this definition to a document, which has been authenticated or to as something as simple as a restaurant, where the food served could be deemed authentic. How does this apply to wine though, and more specifically to Virginia, and Viognier?

The reason for this conundrum, is that of late there has been much discussion of what Viognier's produced in Virginia should taste and smell like, to be truly thought of as being authentic. This in truth is a notion that I have long struggled with, having made wine in this fine State for over 10 years now. Is it merely enough to say that wine made from that particular varietal in this State, satisfies the notion of authenticity, or do we delve deeper and develop a style of wine that speaks of authenticity. How do we define that style? How do we create this style year in and year out taking into account the vintage variation that we experience? More importantly what is the style of Virginia Viognier that may satisfy the customers notion of authenticity? But what of the climate, soils and age of vines that inherently affect the taste and smell of the wine, the much maligned concept of TERROIR.  The set of special characteristics that the geography, geology  and climate  of a certain place, interacting with the plant's genetics to produce a product [in this case wine] of unique and UN-replicable characteristics.

So what the heck do we compare our wines against? To even begin to answer that question, one should probably have a benchmark of what Viognier should smell and taste like, a control if you like to compare our wines to. Historically speaking, Viognier is an ancient grape possibly originating from Dalmatia [present day Croatia], brought to the Rhone by the Romans. Viognier is the single permitted grape variety in the appellations of Condrieu and Chateau Grillett, which are located on the west bank of the Rhone River, about 40 km south of Lyon. This could be an ideal benchmark for Virginia right? Is there something specific about the grape that is consistent with other wine-producing regions? Could there be similarities in aromatics, texture, longevity that discount that above mentioned intangibles? So let's take a look at the chemistry of Viognier to further try to answer this question. The grape is generally very floral due to terpenes, similarly found in Muscat and Riesling. Terpenes and terpenoids are the primary constituents of the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers. An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic  liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. So essentially speaking, there should be some aromatic characteristic that may link French, Californian and Virginian Viogniers. Having tasted my fair share of wines from all the above mentioned regions, I did find some common threads. Many times my notes included descriptors of peach or apricot, honey suckle and stone fruit which speaks more of varietal correctness than of authenticity.  A wine made in California that is barrel fermented versus a wine that is tank fermented will inherently taste and feel different in the mouth, none less authentic than the other despite the variations in style.

So to come back to the notion of "Authenticity" and whether us Vigneron's in Virginia can claim to be authentic. I say with the utmost confidence that we can, although we make stylistically different wines than many other wine-producing areas. Our Viognier's can be razor like with their acidity, with underlying mineral and stone fruit characteristics. A wine that may be a touch lighter, but arguably more food friendly and often times more drinkable in its youth. Our Viognier's can also be rich and flamboyant, coating the mouth with their oily textures and subtle hints of oak. These are fatter wines that change with time in the bottle. We also make wonderfully sweet "stickies"; dessert wines with gorgeous aromas that satisfy the sweetest tooth when the occasion beckons.  Each style of wine has commonalities that make it distinctively grape specific, each authentic in their own right based on "terroir" or winemaking preference. For those that are still not satisfied with this concept, or the inability to define it,  be at least assured that we as winemakers are also trying to answer that question, but that it will take some time and work to truly grasp this concept, if we ever will. For we have only been at it for 30 odd years, and we have many years to go before we can begin to understand and communicate this concept.  Enjoy, as I do, the characteristics of the vintage, the deft touch of the winemaker or the personal  preference of the consumer, all of which reflect the notion of "Authenticity".

Perhaps we could change the definition to that of "If the wine reflects and portrays everything we hoped it would, and brings joy to those that consume it", it could lay claim to the notion of Authenticity. I would be happy to say that our wines have successfully fulfilled those criteria.

Cheers

Stephen Barnard

Winemaker and pursuer of authenticity at Keswick Vineyards

Time Posted: Apr 2, 2013 at 8:35 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
March 13, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Anna and Patrick's Romantic Vineyard Wedding

A breezy beautiful August day brought the union of Anna and Patrick to Keswick Vineyards. The soft shades of pink and flowing gowns mixed with bouquets of creamy hydrangeas and roses made for a perfect summer winery theme after their ceremony at the UVA Chapel. Signature cocktails were served in adorable mason jars, as the guests arrived at the Estate Home fountain entrance. As the guests entered the beautiful Sperry Tent from Skyline, they were served some Keswick’s best wines, the Viognier and Touriga. Catering was by Glorious Foods – and it was! The traditional wedding cake was displayed on a wine barrel in the gazebo adjacent to the tent and even the table numbers were made with wine corks. Of course dancing was in order with Sound Enforcement’s T.D. Layman as DJ who got them in “limbo” before the night was through. Congratulations to Patrick and Anna and we look forward to your first anniversary with us at Keswick Vineyards!

Time Posted: Mar 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
February 26, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Aaron & Allison's UVA Chapel and Keswick Vineyards Wedding

Allison has a smile that lights up a room and Aaron brings that smile on every minute they are together. We became best friends as we shared a year and a half of not only wedding planning, but this happy couple also bought a house and Aaron was taking the bar exam. Even with all of that busyness, he was a great planner and supported Allison every step of the way. The ceremony took place on a sunny August morning at the gorgeous University of Virginia Chapel, where Aaron was attending law school. Allison wore a beautiful satin gown as her Dad escorted her down the aisle to Aaron, the long awaiting groom. Friends and family celebrated with cocktails, dinner and dancing at Keswick Vineyards later that afternoon and into the evening. The Sperry Tent looked more special than ever with décor by Skyline Tent and Floral Images. 20 South and Cakes Unlimited kept the crowd happy with a beautiful display of stations for dinner and traditional wedding cake. The guests loved watching a video of photos of Allison and Aaron as they grew up with their families and friends and then fell in love. They all danced and had a great time to the tunes of DJ Derek Tobler before ending the night with a sparkler get-away. Aaron passed the bar – yay! We will see where their next adventures take them, but no matter what, they are always smiling. Enjoy these gorgeous pictures from JMK Photos- they're sure to make you smile!

Time Posted: Feb 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
February 1, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Erin and Andrew's July Wedding

Okay, so it was a little warm this July day, but we all made the best of what was a wonderful new marriage and celebration of family and friends. Erin and Andrew melted for each other anyway! Derek Tobler carried the music for the entire day with first the processional of the groom Andrew escorting his Mother Chris, then Kevin, the bride’s brother escorting mother Bonnie to the ceremony location nestled against the vineyard with the blue ridge mountains in the background. Andrew’s Father Skip honored them as the officiant of marriage – how special is that? As Erin’s Father Brian took her gently and lovingly down the aisle, there was not a dry eye. Short and sweet in the heat and on to cocktails while the bride and groom took their golf cart “Limo” ride to the Keswick pond for some cool breeze photos by Jamie of JMK Photos. 20 South Catering had cold beverages for the guests as they enjoyed misting fans on the lawn during lawn games. Dinner was family style and so very beautiful and comfy under Skyline’s Sperry Tent. When everyone was ready to dance, we had a blast with icy washcloths tossed to the dance floor. Sparklers at the end of the night was the best send-off ever as Erin and Andrew rode away in the Albemarle Antique Limousine. Many happy years together Andrew and Erin!!!!
Time Posted: Feb 1, 2013 at 8:53 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
November 28, 2012 | Cindy Schornberg

Danielle & Tom's Masquerade Wedding

Now that the wedding season (and harvest!) are both finished, we have some time to go back and share some of this years' beautiful Keswick Vineyards weddings with you! We'll start off with Dani and Tom's super fun and unique celebration!  Getting married outdoors during the beautiful fall weekend in Charlottesville before Halloween, Dani and Tom never made any “bones” about their masquerade wedding.  Everyone was in costume to celebrate this union of families and friends, and what fun!  The bridal party carried old fashioned lanterns and the guests looked on in an array of colorful masks.  Dani was stunning in her white gown adorned with black trim and crystals, with her black long train coat and beehive hairstyle setting the tone for her procession to Tom, as Harry Potter’s Hedwig’s Theme played.  The ring bearer was the most unique of all as the remote dog from Doctor Who carried the rings on his tail to the bride and groom at the appropriate time.  From farmers to nuns to Little Red Riding Hood – what a celebration! Congratulations to Danielle & Tom, this was one unique wedding that we loved!!!  Special thanks to the following Charlottesville wedding vendors:  C&O Catering, photographer Dominique Attaway, Albemarle Baking Company, DJ TD Layman, officiant Bruce Watson, transportation by B2B and Skyline Tent Company. Check out some of the beautiful photographs by Dominique Attaway Photography below!
Time Posted: Nov 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM
Stephen Barnard
 
September 7, 2012 | Stephen Barnard

Our New Cabernet Sauvignon

Make no mistake, Virginia is a pretty tough climate in which to grow grapes, at least to grow grapes that allow you to make world class wines. True, we can produce wines of that caliber in vintages such as 2007, 2009 and 2010, but in vintages such as 2003 and 2011, forget about it. Those years are more an endeavor of making cleaner wines than wines that can stand along side the very best of California and France.

So when great vintages come along and mother nature combines with all the other variables to produce fruit of that quality, the winemaker needs to take full advantage and convert that fruit potential into a fantastic wine.

This weekend marks the official release of our 2009 Keswick Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that I think ranks in our top three ever produced here at the estate.Keswick Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2009 for me was a fantastic growing season. It was long and temperate and we were able to pick fruit at the optimum ripeness, which meant good sugars, developed flavors in the grapes and, more importantly for Cabernet, ripe tannins. The winemaking protocol was actually pretty simple. We cooled the fruit and sorted after de-stemming to remove any unwanted material including green grapes, jacks, stems and leaves that bypassed the destemmer. The fruit was then transferred to open top stainless steel tanks, warmed up, and allowed to undergo native fermentation without the addition of commercial yeast. BAM we had good wine.

The philosophy here at Keswick is to produce wines that reflect the season, the area, and the soil in which it was grown. The French refer to this concept and notion as Terroir. For me it means that what you taste in a glass of wine is a product of nature and not of manipulation by me the winemaker, same thing really. And so it was, after fermentation and pressing, the wine was barreled down to French oak barrels and allowed to mature for 22 months with very little manipulation (other than the occassional taste, purely for quality control purposes of course). Surely, there are a lot more decisions that go into making wine, but if you break it down- what made the 2009 Cabernet a stunner was, truthfully, the fruit quality which ultimately forged this quality wine. I just tried to stay out of the way and not mess it up.

So it is truly a joy to be able to release this wine to the public on Saturday. I hope you will like it as much as we do here. It is 100% Cabernet grown right here on the estate. It is definitely New World in style, displaying the typical aromas of plum and cassis backed by ripe integrated tannins (which is a fancy way of saying that although there is oak, it is not too dominant to suppress the fruit). The wine also has a fair bit of acid which really keeps the wine fresh and focused. As far as drinkability, you are good to go- but if you would like to lay it down, I truly think this wine has the stuffing to age for another 8-10 years. It is dark and inky, brooding yet seductive, a wine that we are very proud of.

Okay, I have to brag a bit here in order to get some hype. It was one of the wines that was selected to be in the Governors Case, following the Virginia Governors Cup Wine Competition. That meant it was rated amongst the top twelve Virginia wines for that year. It also received a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the largest and arguably the most influential competition in the States [as taken from their website]. To put into perspective how well this wine did, there were only 5% of the total entries awarded the double gold, and in the Cabernet category (which was the most competitve category in the competition based on the number of entries), bested some Napa Valley wines that retail for $200 a bottle. Okay, competitions are what they are, but this is like me beating Tiger Woods at match play in golf. For an itty bitty Virginia Cabernet to wine this award says something about the quality of the wine and also the quality that Virginia has in producing world class reds.

So ladies and gentleman, come by on Saturday to taste what we think is one the best reds we have ever produced in our short wine making history. We're smack in the middle of the 2012 harvest (which I am hoping will produce more high calibur wines!), so I will be working away in the cellar racking the whites- feel free to come back and let me know what you think of the Cabernet!

Cheers

Stephen

Winemaker

Keswick Vineyards

Time Posted: Sep 7, 2012 at 8:42 AM
Cindy Schornberg
 
August 24, 2012 | Cindy Schornberg

Military Vineyard Wedding

The natural beauty of Keswick Vineyards and the Edgewood Estate has never been so happily matched as with the lovely, unassuming elegance of a Naval wedding, as was the happy occasion earlier this month. Carole and Brent, a giddily-in-love couple, had the privilege of being Keswick Vineyard's first military wedding, and the level of class, elegance, and attention to detail that they created throughout their entire event left everyone hoping it is not the last military wedding to occur on these grounds. Shindig Weddings & Events helped design and plan a lovely Southern wedding, complete with the elegant details of provided parasols for the guests (to shield from the evening sun) to peaches provided at each place setting {a nod to the origin of the bride's middle name}, to a jaw-dropping-beautifully sword-arch upon the couple's recessional. In homage to the bride's Japanese heritage, 1,001 origami paper cranes were lovingly crafted by the bride's friends and hung for display, and all of the menu and beverage choices were hand-selected from local sources. As Carole and Brent fell in love in Hawaii, several Hawaiian influences were incorporated, but none more resoundingly appreciated than the Kona coffee, served over ice, that was brought out as the dancing ensued! With a warm summer's night, Keswick Vineyard's staff helped make the evening comfortable for everyone, providing cool towels for the wedding party at the ceremony and throwing out iced towels onto the dance floor as the night kicked into high gear -- this was Southern hospitality at its finest! As the couple bid goodnight and exited into a lovely town car tied with dozens of raucously celebratory tin cans, hundreds of "Virginia is for Lovers" cookies waited for their guests upon their return. At the end of the night, a beautiful wedding had been celebrated, a fabulous party had been enjoyed, and a sweet young marriage had begun. Special thanks to the following vendors: Meghan Streit and her team from Sindig Weddings & Events, Beggars Banquet Catering, DJ Derek Tobler, wedding dress by Isis Bridal, John Cachero Photography, Citrus Ceremonies Videography, Cake by Pastry Love, Hair & make-up by Jeanne Cusick and venue & award winning wines by Keswick Vineyards.

Time Posted: Aug 24, 2012 at 8:55 AM