Wielding ingredients culled from the fields, stockyards, and vineyards of local producers, chefs craft inventive dishes such as osso buco anointed with smoked-pork au jus and pan-roasted rockfish drifting in crawfish cream. The most recent addition to the Vintage team is brewmaster Kristi Griner, who channels her 24 years of experience to helm the efforts of Vintage 50's 10-barrel brew house. Additionally, Vintage 50's caterers conjure fare for weddings and the food-fight receptions that follow and whip up dishes for offsite corporate events and holiday parties.
The chefs at The V Eatery & Brew House transform a bounty of ingredients sourced from Virginia’s rich soils and seas to a menu of fine eats paired with craft beers. They batter freshly-netted cod with Catoctin Kolsch beer and spice up risotto with diced butternut squash and parmesan cream. To pair with their flavorful dishes, they select an elite array of 14 craft beers, 6 of which are brewed in-house to flow from their taps. And to keep things fresh, they rotate these brews regularly, with headliners such as Fat Tire amber ale and Avery’s White Rascal.
To occupy diners’ eyes and ears while their tastebuds are enjoying the food, The V Eatery host live musical performers every Tuesday through Saturday. They also plan to round out their selection of meals by adding a Sunday brunch once they get their license from the National Brunch Association, otherwise known as the NBA.
Vintage Piedmont unites a grandiose group of family wineries, each cozily sprawled within a 15-mile distance of the others. Ernest oenophiles can mosey among them at their own pace, ensuring no one exhausts their seeing-eye elephant. Barrel Oak Winery boasts a pastoral setting, 20 acres of vines, and a BowHaus white that blends vidal blanc, sauvignon, viognier, and more for a bright flavor ($24). At Philip Carter Winery, the 2009 chardonnay intermixes lemon zest, a vanilla bouquet, and pear notes ($24). Desert Rose Ranch & Winery sustains an unpretentious atmosphere, unlike snobbish grape groups for third cousins of royalty. Varietals include the Hitch Hollow chardonnay aged in French oak barrels, or the Sparky, a European-style rosé. Rappahannock Cellars and Hume Vineyards regale taste buds with delectable drinks from locally grown grapes. At each libation station, take home two commemorative wine glasses and receive 10% off bottles of wine.
The vintners at Vint Hill Winery craft nuanced wines out of ripe fruit plucked from California, Washington, and Virginia. Tint your taste buds with two flights of wine per person while lounging on the balcony, which overlooks a barn that was used to intercept messages during WWII and shelter stray cats in 1991. Vint Hill sends sommeliers on their way with a bottle of french-oak barrel-fermented 2008 chardonnay and a 2008 merlot—an herbaceous red with harmonious notes of wild fruit, tobacco, and black pepper. Adopted quaffs may be sipped from the provided, decorative wine glasses or poured down the gullet of a timid schooner before its maiden voyage.
On the 250-acre campus of Great Meadow, about 40 local winemakers set up tents to show off a harvest that has been years in the making. At the entrance of the Virginia Wine Festival, you can pick up your souvenir glass, stop by one of the booths for a tasting, and then take home your favorite varietals by the bottle or case. Complimentary wine seminars are held throughout the day, featuring visits from renowned chefs, tutorials on judging wines, and tips for choosing the correct glass for a given wine, such as throwing two glasses against the wall and seeing which one doesn't break.
Area musicians including Jr. Cline and the Recliners, Johnny and the Headhunters, Inner Rhythm Quartet, and Glory on the Floor play folk, R&B, and jazz throughout the day, while artisans of handmade products show off their wares. At the Family Tent, Becki the Balloon Lady makes balloon animals for the kiddies.
Recently opened in 2009, the tasting and hospitality center at Sweely Estate Winery boasts scenic vineyard views from the attached open-air terrace. As guests take in the sights of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, Sweely’s winesperts pour a medley of fine French-style wines, including reds aged in French oak barrels and whites enhanced by premium grapes in gravity flow. Compare and contrast the fermented flavors with the accompanying cheeses, then apply the included $10 credit toward a bottle of memories such as the refreshing Sweely Estate pinot gris ($16), graced with palate-tickling notes of green apple and citrus, or the Sweely Estate merlot ($20.95), swirled with mixed berry and minty overtones.