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Cindy Schornberg
October 14, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Amanda & Justin's Wedding Day

What better way to close out a 3 wedding week end at Keswick Vineyards than with the marriage of Amanda & Justin.  Unfortunately, that tropical storm, Karen, was still lingering around to give us another overcast & drizzle day.  The good news again was we were able to get a break in the drizzle to do the ceremony outside!  Amanda & Justin opted to do a first look which really works well in these October wedding days in Virginia since it gets dark outside much earlier and you lose that really good lighting for photos.  The guys were all dressed in black tuxedo's with the bridesmaids in beautiful, wine colored full length gowns.  Guests were able to enjoy a lounge area while taking photo's in the photo booth.  Later in the evening a cupcake truck came to satisfy everyones sweet tooth.  Thanks to the following vendors for doing an incredible job:  Event Planner Barb Wired, 20 South Catering, Officiant Claire Goodman, DJ T.D. Layman of Sound Enforcement, Photographer Marta Locklear, Hair by Jessica Myers, Make-up Artist Judy Hayward, Southern Blooms by Pat's Floral, Pastry Chef Passionflower, Transportation by Camryn Limousine, Cupcake trailer by Sweethaus, MS Events for lounge furniture & photo booth & Festive Fare for rentals.
Time Posted: Oct 14, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 13, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Congratulations Corrie & Matthew!

Congratulations to Corrie and Matthew who were married at Keswick Vineyards on Saturday, October 12th.  While Mother Nature continued to provide us with overcast and misty weather from the left overs of Tropical Storm Karen, Corrie's Mother went to work setting up her daughters dream wedding.  Corrie and her Mother are very crafty people and made so many things for this wedding.  Her Mother sewed all the tablecloth overlays, napkins, placemats, even the bouquets!  Can you believe those bouquets are made of fabric????  Amazing!  Corrie's Mom had also made this incredible quilt as a wedding gift that was hung behind the sweetheart table.  Another surprise for Corrie and Matthew was a huge canvas painting that was hung in the tent of the couple, along with their dog, in a sports car.  Corrie also had collected china with every plate being different, furniture to hang out in under the tent, different items to be set up as centerpieces that were different on each table, a big trunk to put ice in and display beer on the lid of the trunk.  There are just way too many things that Corrie and her Mom did to make this wedding so personable to describe.  Corrie and Matthew chose to be married on the East lawn of Edgewood Estate under a 300+ year old oak tree.  Even though Mother Nature was being difficult, she did let up on the drizzle so we could still do an outdoor ceremony.  Everything was simply beautiful!  Corrie had two dresses for her day; the traditional wedding gown and then a party dress for the reception.  Love how her dress and bridesmaids dresses match the feel and decor of the tent.  Of course, none of this could of happened without the help of the following vendors:  Event Planner Barb Wired, Catering by The Catering Outfit, DJ Dan Sims, Photographer Jodi Miller, Hair & Make-up Artist Jesse Wagner from Aveda Newport News, Hedge Florist, Officiant Rob Marshall and Albemarle Limo's for buses.

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 12, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Congratulations Lindsay & Bryan!

Congratulations to Lindsay and Bryan we were married at Keswick Vineyards on Friday, October 11th.  Mother Nature sure did a 180 from the weather we had last week end.  Because of the left overs from a tropical storm, the skies were overcast with some drizzle.  Thankfully, the drizzle let up right at ceremony time so Lindsay & Bryan could have their wedding outside like they had dreamed of.  They chose a little different location to have their wedding ceremony.  They chose what I call our "fall" location because on a clear day you have such a panoramic view of the mountains, the Estate, the vineyard and the fountain accented with fall colors.  Unfortunately with the overcast skies you couldn't get all of that view but it was still beautiful.  Thanks to the following vendors for all of their exceptional service last night:  Catering by Harvest Moon, DJ Mark Allen, Photographer Tyler Corvin, Musicians Linden Trio, Hair & Make-up by Anne Kibler of Charlottesville Makeup Artist, Verde Natural Florist, One Preppy Cookies and Bakeshop, Officiant Steve Beam and Albemarle Limousine for buses to ensure everyone made it home safely.

Time Posted: Oct 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Stephen Barnard
October 11, 2013 | Stephen Barnard

The State of Virginia Wine 2002 – Present

Have I really just finished my 13th harvest in Virginia? Indeed I have, and maybe now would be a good time to reflect on the decision to come to the Old Dominion and where the future lies for the 5th largest wine-producing state in America. Virginia wine
As a young winemaker in South Africa, having just finished harvesting with Flagstone Winery I was afforded the incredible opportunity to come to the States to make wine. I was offered a job at one of the largest wine-producing estates in Napa Valley, arguably one of the most recognized wine-producing areas in the world. Producing incredible Cabernet & Chardonnay and many other fine wines’ this would have been a wonderful learning experience. yet I turned it down to come to a lesser known area on the other side of the country, the Monticello A.V.A in Virginia. It all came down to opportunities and being exposed to new things. Who would turn down the opportunity to work for a brand new winery, one that had not yet made a drop of wine. To be exposed to varietals that I had never had the opportunity to work with such as Viognier, Chambourcin, Touriga Nacionale and Norton [my love/hate grape] was far more intriguing. 
At that point the intention was to only be here for a year or so and head elsewhere, ultimately ending up back in South Africa making wine.Virginia wine harvest “Virginia, huh?” said my father. Yup VIRGINIA. “Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah Valley, Monticello, UVA, the canoe capitol of the world, but the wine is kind of crappy” said someone familiar with the area. Okay he did not say crappy, he used a much more colorful word to describe the wines, one that does not leave much to the imagination. “The wine is that good?” I replied sarcastically, sounds like a challenge and the perfect opportunity. Thomas Jefferson never produced a single bottle of wine from his Monticello vineyards and neither did George Washington at Mount Vernon, yet that pioneering spirit endures today in our wine making community, for walls are to be broken down and challenges met.  Virginia might in many ways be one of the most challenging grape and wine-producing areas, but that did not stop Mr Zonin from establishing Barboursville Vineyards in 1976, hiring one of the most iconic figures in our wine industry, Gabrielle Rausse, to plant vineyards. If memory serves me correctly, Virginia had 6 already established wineries by 1970, 46 by 1995, 105 by 2007 and today a little over 200. People are starting to recognize the potential for producing fine wines in this area and are not deterred by the challenges that face them, for, as the saying goes, nothing worthwhile comes easily.
I think Mr.Jefferson would be quite proud of  how far the Virginia Wine industry has come, measured by growth alone. edgewood estate on the monticello wine trail But hang on a moment, we are in the business of producing wines, and success is measured by quality not quantity. How we are perceived by consumers and critics, measured against the benchmarks of the American wine industry? Surely this is a better indicator of our success? Leading the way in the American wine industry, in my opinion, is California. Napa has been joined by Sanoma, Paso Robles and other areas in producing distinctive wines reflecting regional character. wines that receive critical acclaim by consumers and wine writers alike.  And let’s not forget the states to the North, Oregon and Washington, who are also producing many world-class wines. Try Cabernet from Washington State and Pinot Noir from Oregon to see what I am talking about.
So the big question. ” Are we making wines that are world-class and can compete with anything the West Coast can throw at us?” If we are comparing apples to apples, Cabernet to Cabernet, then the simple answer is No, not every year. However, every now and again we get vintages like 2009 and 2010 where we produce something special, our 2009 Estate Grown Cabernet was one of only 22 wines that received a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. So there is certainly potential there, even if mother nature only allows us the opportunity once every 4-5 years. If we talk about Viognier, Cabernet Franc and blended reds, then the answer, in my humble, biased opinion, is that you bloody well betcha. I have tried some Meritage blends, Cabernet Franc and Viognier wines that I think can more than hold their own with our West Coast counterparts. I would even go as far as to say that they can hold their own with other wine regions in the world. Not consistently year in and year out, but us winemakers are working on achieving that. virginia wine cabernet sauvignon
I think the biggest issue facing Virginia and the future is one of identity.  in that I think we currently lack one. Using Viognier as an example, purely because it is the  State grape of Virginia, does a distinctive style come to mind? Not really. Viogniers can be sweet and syrupy, austere and centered on acidity, over oaked and dry, light and thin or rich and unctuous.  Viognier wines run the gamut and in a lot of ways lacks a regional identity, i.e. the customer can not readily recognize it as Virginia. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, is distinctive and unique, as is Cabernet to Napa, Blends from the right bank of Bordeaux, Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Shiraz made in Australia. Wines that scream of place, un-ashamed and loud. Virginia needs this, needs a wine [or wine style] that proudly claims to be ours. Unfortunately, I think it will take a few more years to get there, but the results and the improvements over the last 10 years are nothing short of miraculous.
So what are consumers saying about us ? If growth and sales of Virginia wine are anything to go by, then we are doing really well.  Domestic sales of Virginia wine went up by 6% and exported wine sales went up by 70 odd %. We have seen increases in sales out of state, out of country and within the state itself, which points to recognition from consumers that Virginia is producing world-class wines. I have always said that the best of Virginia can stand alongside the best from anywhere else, seems like I am not the only who now thinks that. FANTASTIC.
The Future I would like to recognize a few people who I think have been instrumental in promoting our wines and our State. I think Governor McDonnell and the First Lady deserve a lot of credit for promoting our wine industry. Emerging markets have been opened through trade missions to Asia and to Europe, our wines are now being exported to China and London. By serving only Virginia wines at the mansion and by creating the Virginia Wine Summit, the Governor has really put a focus on our wines. Wine Enthusiast named Virginia as one of its top ten wine destinations in the world. Along with Secretary Haymore and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, we producers have the backing of people who can make things happen and get the word out there, a big thank you to you. Governor McDonnell In Tony Wolf and Dr. Bruce Zoecklein we have two gentleman whom I admire tremendously. Their work and willingness to be available to us has certainly increased the quality of our wines and vineyard practices. One need only attend any of the number of technical meetings to see the amount of work and effort being put into our industry, benefits that a re reaping big rewards today. And of course all the winemakers and vineyard managers in the State. I am amazed at the talent and the enthusiasm shown for this profession, combined with the willingness to work together. Lead by stalwarts such as Luca Paschina, Dennis Horton and Jim Law, the future of Virginia wine is in good hands and I for one am excited to write another blog in 10 years, raving about how our wines have progressed.
There is still a lot of work to be done, we cannot rest on our laurels and we need to recognize that we are not there yet. We are moving in the right direction and at a frenetic pace, and people are noticing. So do I have any regrets about coming to Virginia and making wine? With the state of this industry, a beautiful wife and daughter to show for it and some decent wines in the library and nothing but a bright future ahead, WHAT DO YOU THINK? photo by Aaron Watson
Stephen Barnard
Proud winemaker in Virginia
Time Posted: Oct 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 9, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

3 is a charm, right?

What a great way to finish out a 3 day week end of weddings at Keswick Vineyards with the marriage of Leah & Jeremy.  Leah and Jeremy are such a beautiful couple both inside and out and it was such a pleasure to be able to take some photos of their special day along the side of their professional photographer Christian.  The weather was just perfect again.  The tent was beautiful with the added Asian lanterns over the dance floor.  Check out their cake.  Albemarle Baking Company did an amazing job decorating it with a grape theme which matched the beautiful plum colored bridesmaids dresses.  Leah also surprised Jeremy with a grooms cake of his motorcycle.  I love how they had personalized shades made to put over wine glasses with tea lights in them for each table.  These shades you can have made with your menu on them, a photo or table number like Leah & Jeremy did.  Thanks to all the vendors who helped make their wedding extra special:  Catering by Beggar's Banquet, DJ Andy Wilfong, Photographer Christian Hommel, Pastry Chef Albemarle Baking Company, Officiant Erick Weaver, Florist NW Designs, Hair & Make-up by Theresa Oliver, Musicians Mike Dunn and Janet Muse, Day of Coordinator Diane Burner and Skyline Tent Company.


Time Posted: Oct 9, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 8, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Wedding #2 for the Week End

Congratulations to Laura & Josh who were married at Keswick Vineyards in Charlottesville on Saturday, October 5th.  Always great to welcome back some UVA graduates.  Mother Nature provided us with another picture perfect day.  Thanks to Jaclyn and the rest of her crew from BBQ Exchange for making some incredible food.  Don't think BBQ is all that BBQ Exchange can cook.  DELICIOUS!!!  Also, Carpe Donut does more than doughnuts.  We were treated to churros!  YUMMY!!!  Thanks to the following vendors:  Catering by BBQ Exchange, DJ Greg Tutwiler, Photographer Natalie Bell, Videographer Ian Atkins of Ian's Creations, Hair by Bristles Salon, Musicians Andrew Gabbert & Elizabeth Brightbil of Terra Voce, Officiant Kyle Hoover, Quick's Buses  and Carpe Donut.  Click here to view Part I of Natalie Bell's blog.  Click here to view Part II of Natalie Bell's blog.
Time Posted: Oct 8, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 7, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

1st of a triple wedding week end

Fall is here which means lots of weddings.  Nothing can be better than having a fall, outdoor wedding in Virginia.  To start off this week end, Cherissa & Frank were married at Keswick Vineyards on Friday, October 4th.  Cherissa & Frank booked their wedding here site unseen.  They are from Virginia Beach and fell in love with Keswick Vineyards just by the photos they had seen.  They certainly could not of been disappointed with their choice.  Mother Nature did an outstanding job in providing picture perfect weather and the vendors all did an amazing job.  Cherissa & Frank have a tradition that every Friday night is pizza & wine night for them.  Their wedding night would be no different.  They brought in a pizza food truck to provide fresh, homemade pizza's as a late night snack.  Delicious!  Thank you to the following vendors:  Event Planner Barb Wired, 20 South Catering, DJ T.D. Layman of Sound Enforcement, Photographer Elisa B, Videographer Humble Down Productions, Hair & Make-up by Jeanne Cusick, Officiant Brian Purcell, Cakes Unlimited, Blue Ridge Floral, Albemarle Limousine for the vintage car and buses, Blue Ridge Pizza Food Truck, Strike A Pose Photo booth and Festive Fare for rentals.  Click here to view their video by Humble Down Productions.

Time Posted: Oct 7, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Cindy Schornberg
October 2, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Sarah & Michael Are Married!!!

Sarah & Michael were married in Charlottesville, VA at Keswick Vineyards on Sunday, September 29th, by Officiant Gay Einstein.  What a beautiful day!  The sky was such a beautiful blue color with puffy white clouds.  Sarah's Mom and her husband and sons spent the afternoon tending to every detail that Sarah had instructed them with.  They started the day early by getting the ceremony site ready.  Sarah used an old mantel at her ceremony location with an old door frame to walk through at the beginning of the aisle.  I love the little detail of having the address on the door their wedding date.  Clever, huh?  A vineyard theme was carried through out the decorations by covering shepherd hooks with grapevines and using corks as keychains on the home made carmel apples that were given as party favors.  Center pieces were large glass vases with grapevines in them that were lit in the evening.  Everything was done by the families.  There was even an old crochet blanket from Sarah's Grandma that she received as a wedding gift over 50 years ago to adorn the gift table. So many significant little details that just made you love this wedding.  Did I mention the Tiffany Blue bridesmaids dresses?  LOVE that color!  Special thanks to the following vendors for doing such a fantastic job:  C&O Catering, DJ Stroud, Photographer Tamara Pizzeck, Chandler's Bakery, Officiant Gay Einstein, Rentals by MS Events and Skyline Tent Company for the beautiful Asian lanterns.  Click here to read a blog on The Red Dirt Bride featuring photos of this wedding by Tamara Pizzeck.  Click here to see this wedding featured on Borrowed & Blue.  Click here to see this wedding featured on Something Turquoise.

Time Posted: Oct 2, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Cindy Schornberg
September 29, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Congratulations Liz & Greg!

Congratulations to Liz and Greg who were married at Keswick Vineyards on Saturday, September 28th.  Liz and Greg really have a silly side to them as you will see from some of my photos.  Really got to appreciate Greg's humor with his speech.  He really could be a stand-up comic.  Love how they added 30 Asian lanterns to hang through out the Sperry tent.  This was one partying group of guests who couldn't get enough dancing that evening.  Thanks for the following vendors:  Catering by The Local, DJ Dennis Payne, Photographer Summer Gibbs, Pastry Chef Cakes Unlimited, Officiant Reverend Carolyn Barkley, rentals by MS Events, Hair & Make-up by Allison Harper, Musician Vernon Fischer, Floral Images for flowers and Skyline Tent for the Asian lanterns.

Time Posted: Sep 29, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Cindy Schornberg
September 27, 2013 | Cindy Schornberg

Way Too Cute Of A Couple!

Congratulations to Kelly & Will who were married at Keswick Vineyards on Sunday, September 22nd.  It was hard to believe that Kelly & Will's wedding day was finally here.  I still remember showing the two of them around last year and immediately hitting it off with them.  The cuteness of this couple is sickening!  Their love story and all their special little quirks they have for one another (even a secret language) is so adorable.  3:11 has a special meaning to them so it was only appropriate that the wedding ceremony start promptly at 3:11.  Their hand written vows were so special and touching.  Lots of tissue was needed for this one!  As Kelly & Will would visit Keswick Vineyards through out the year leading to their wedding day, many discussions were about food.  Barbecue Exchange hit a home run with the delicious food items including some sliders and Mac & cheese with bacon fried balls!  To top off the evening, Carpe Donuts!  I was in heaven along with the rest of the Keswick staff that evening.  Special thanks to the following vendors for doing a superb job:  Catering by Barbecue Exchange, DJ Derek Tobler, Event Planner Hope Jennings, Photographer Alicia White Photography, Paul Hairston Cinematography, Verde Natural Florals, Pastry Chef Sugar Box Bakery, Officiant Jacquie Joseph & Jean Joseph, Photobooth by Grinnin' Booth, rentals by MS Events & Hair & Make-up by Michelle & Associates.  Click here to view photographer Alicia White's blog.  Click here to view a short video by Paul Hairston.

Time Posted: Sep 27, 2013 at 12:16 AM