Autumn Hill Vineyards owners Ed and Avra Schwab have made a lot of wine in the past 30 years, from their gold medal blend of petit verdot and merlot to their vintner’s reserve chardonnay that takes on the flavors of the French oak barrel it ferments in. The one thing you won’t find in their cellars, however, is a sweet wine. That’s because the pair strives to craft Virginia wines with a European influence, resulting in dry, full-bodied vintages brimming with character. This specialization has led them to cultivate seven types of wine grapes, including some of the oldest cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay vines in Virginia.
Though the duo spends most of the year tending to their vines in private, they invite guests in four times a year to see in the inner workings of their operation. Visitors to the vineyard are privy to tours through the barrel-aging cellar, helpful advice on how to pair wines with food, and vertical tastings of the same vintage to highlight the flavor differences among the grape crop every year. For guests who can’t make it out, the vineyard offers a wine club that delivers select vintages to clients' doorsteps or sommeliers' giant beanstalks in the spring, fall, and holiday season.
The staff at Layers Bed Company believe that a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be a rare occurrence. To make sure their customers sleep well every night of the year, they stock only high-quality mattresses, linens, bedding, and pillows. Handmade to order in Virginia, the mattresses custom layer springs, memory foam, and latex to quicken the journey into the Land of Nod. The layers also work and breathe together to combat dust mites, promote orthopedic comfort, and avoid mustiness. Four degrees of firmness—from plush to firm—can also be layered within a single mattress, which is helpful when one spouse wants to sleep and the other wants to dream-wrestle a polar bear.
Before customers fall asleep on the store’s display beds, the staff demonstrates the luxurious comfort of a down pillow and linens by designers such as DKNY, Matouk, and Sferra. Cashmere throws and down comforters warm sleepers through spring, summer, autumn, winter, and baseball. :m]]
Led by Tom and Donna Otis, Fast Frame Charlottesville's friendly staffers outfit pictures and beautifies abodes with ensembles that turn two-dimensional keepsakes into multidimensional treasures. With a vast selection of borders, Fast Frame tastefully accents pictures of cherished memories, safely preserves and displays sports memorabilia, and even frames flat-screen TVs so they can't leave the living room to go chill with the microwave. Under Fast Frame’s Preservation Plus program, frame craftsmen sequester artwork in an acid-free environment and use framing designed to save artifacts from UV light, ensuring that they retain their luster throughout their display and that they are safe for future removal.
Fifth Season Gardening specializes in hydroponics, homebrewing, and organic gardening. Complete hydroponic systems can help hobbyists grow plants in any type of environment, and organic gardening supplies such as fertilizer and composters can maximize produce yields. Customers may also browse a wide selection of urban D.I.Y. products. Aside from serving as a go-to spot for garden items, Fifth Season Gardening boasts must-have supplies for homebrewers of all skill levels, from fresh hops and yeast, to cleaning accoutrements and educational books.
The knowledgeable staff at Les Fabriques helps customers navigate the store's robust selection of textiles, sewing and fashion accessories, and home décor. Visitors stroll along a hardwood walkway, poring over colorful racks of pillows, buttons, and sewing machines. Like a rainbow during its experimental youth, a wide-ranging fleet of fabrics ($4.99+) displays vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and diverse materials, including contemporary cotton prints ($10.99–$12.99/yd.). Jewelry lovers can adorn a finger, earlobe, or lonely lapel with vintage jewelry or a piece created by local designers such as Maslo and One Sweet Peach ($10+). Soy candles ($22), handmade in Virginia, illuminate dark corners and burnt-out light bulbs. In addition to supplying customers with garment-making essentials, Les Fabriques also supports homegrown creativity with local fashion shows, events, and educational classes, including an afterschool program for kids.
Ragged Mountain Running has helped foot-soldiers chase their dreams for nearly 30 years, offering running shoes, windbreakers, and other get-fit goods, as well as info on local races and running clubs. Owned by Michigan State University track star Cynthia Lorenzoni and her running-coach husband Mark, the outlet outfits runners and other athletes with a wide variety of running shoes, including Asics 1160 ($80.99) and Nike Pegasus ($85.99).