Megan & Jay tie the knot!On May 6th, Megan & Jay were united in marriage at Keswick Vineyards. This was a destination wedding with guest coming from many different states. It was funny running into the bride, her parents and bridesmaids while I was out in Charlottesville myself getting some ice cream with my kids. I had just met Megan's father earlier that day so it was unexpected to run into him again later that day. It was nice to see them getting out to explore the beautiful city of Charlottesville. The weather was incredible this day. With the early Spring we were experiencing this year, the vineyard was exploding with growth. What a beautiful natural backdrop it made for the ceremony. The aisle was lined with bouquets of flowers tied to the end chairs. After the ceremony those flowers were then hung on the center poles inside the Sperry tent used for the reception. What a nice touch that was. While the wedding party was busy taking photo's, guest enjoyed themselves by playing corn hole games while enjoying cocktails & hors d'oeuvres. Inside the gazebo was the wedding cake and desserts. This area was kept off limits to the guest by draping sheers at the entrances. Later in the evening the drapes were pulled back to unveil the delicious desserts for their guest to enjoy. Special thanks to the following vendors who helped make this an amazing wedding day for Megan & Jay: 20 South Catering, Amber Karson Events, T.D. Layman as DJ, florals by Kelly Green, photographer Natalie Bell and Albemarle Limousine for safely transporting all the guest from their hotels in buses.
Katy & Tony's Wedding DayCongratulations to Katy & Tony who were married at Keswick Vineyards on May 11th. I remember when Katy & Tony first came to view Keswick Vineyards as a venue for their wedding, we immediately hit it off when we realized we both had Yorkie dogs. They also liked the fact that we are very animal friendly and host "Yappy Hours" every Sunday in our tasting room where people can bring their animals inside our tasting room and animal shelters are here for those who want to adopt. When Katy & Tony heard that my Yorkie went missing and was finally found after being hit by a car, I was touched that they sent me a sympathy card. When they came back for a visit they also brought me this beautiful frame that had my dog's picture in it with a place for me to put his collar. How sweet was that? This was just another example to me on what beautiful couples get married here and how we really do make that personal connection with them. Katy & Tony couldn't have picked a more beautiful day to get married. The sun was out but we had a gentle breeze with no humidity so things couldn't have been better for an outdoor wedding. With our couples having 12 hours here, Tony & his groomsmen enjoyed relaxing while playing pool in the Carriage House and croquet out on the lawn while Katy & her bridesmaids got ready. Katy was given away by her father. What a breathtaking bride she was with her beautiful white wedding dress. Her bouquet had colors of blue and yellow which accented the aqua blue dresses the bridesmaids wore. After the ceremony performed by Officiant Buddy Marston, guests proceeded to the East Lawn for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. IK Catering provided the food for the evening which included some good old southern country cooking with such fixings as pulled BBQ, corn bread, cole slaw, mac & cheese and grits with shrimp & bacon. Yummy!!! Centerpieces were kept simple with yellow flowers & candles with pictures of them at different vacation spots to identify guest's tables. On their sweetheart table they had framed pictures of their two dogs. Guests danced the night away to music provided by DJ Pauly Madison. All these moments were captured by photographer Daniel McGarrity and videographer AJ Chavar. To read photographer Daniel McGarrity's blog about this wedding and to see some of his photo's, please click here. To Katy & Tony; thank you so much for having your wedding here at Keswick Vineyards. It was a pleasure working with you and making your wedding day extra special. We look forward to you coming back, with your dogs, to celebrate your anniversaries here with us. May you enjoy a life time of happiness together. Click here to view their video.
May 12th, Stephanie & Alastair Wed!Every couple wants perfection for their wedding. When Stephanie and Alastair said they wanted to do it all over again from start to finish, we knew we had experienced the perfect day. Stephanie of Hispanic descent and Al, being Scottish, made for great anticipation as we built on the varying themes and cultures. With temperatures in the low 80’s and wonderful sunshine at Keswick Vineyards, guests strolled to the front of the Keswick Estate home for the ceremony overlooking the vineyards and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The wedding party of five bridesmaids in lovely cornflower blue cocktail dresses and seven groomsmen in a mix of dark suits and traditional Scottish kilts, awaited the arrival of flower girl, Maya, ring bearer, Alistair, and finally, the bride. While a guitarist played, Stephanie, in a unique ivory mermaid gown, walked down the aisle with her parents to meet Alastair, proudly dressed in his kilt. The congregation cheered as they recessed to the glorious sound of bagpipes playing! The families chose Keswick Vineyards as the venue, not only for the beautiful estate setting and personal service, but also for the wine. Their guests were traveling from all over the world; Scotland, France, Canada, Pennsylvania, Texas and more. They knew the wine served would be an important part of the celebration and they were right. Catering and service by The Event Co. was impeccable. The traditional wedding cake was adorned with a custom-made bride and groom that featured Stephanie’s exact hairstyle and Alistair’s kilt. Décor was as bright and beautiful as the day; in shades of blue, yellow, orange and white. Centerpieces featured clear glass and terra cotta containers with succulents planted in dry pinto beans along with candles and more succulents accented with white and yellow flowers. Al and Stephanie most certainly win the first dance endurance prize! They entertained the crowd for more than 5 minutes dancing to Gloria Estefan’s Ayer. Al denies practicing ahead of time and gives all the credit to Stephanie for being a wonderful dancer and teacher. You kept up pretty well there, Al! Everyone danced the night away to the tunes of Andy Wilfong and Party Masters DJ. Congratulations to Stephanie and Alastair and their families! We wish you many years of happiness and we look forward to seeing you often at Keswick Vineyards! Special thanks to the following vendors for making this wedding extra special: Barb Wired LLC Event Planner, Catering by The Event Co., wedding cake by Cakes Unlimited, florals by Verde Naturals, hair & make-up by Moxie, DJ Andy Wilfong of Party Masters, Guitarist Mike D'Antoni, Bagpipes by Guy Blandon and Leah & Mark Photography from Atlanta. Click here to read the blog written by their photographer Mark and watch his video and view some of his photo's from the evening. Thank you Mark for sharing with us!
Stephanie & Nick's WeddingWell, I knew it would eventually happen and it did. We had our first rained on wedding:( The good news, our rain plan worked and everything was fine. Stephanie & Nick said "I do" on May 5th amongst their guest under Keswick Vineyards[gallery link="file" columns="2"] Sperry tent. Stephanie's father was a hands on father and made this beautiful pergola to be used for the ceremony. (He also made a table & benches to be used for a lounge area) Initially the pergola was set near the vineyard but Mother Nature wasn't going to give a break so we quickly moved the pergola under the tent and set chairs on the dance floor and created an aisle. With umbrellas in hand, Stephanie was escorted by her father to the tent. Parents were seated on the dance floor while the rest of the guest sat at their tables. I must say, this created a wonderful, relaxed feeling for the ceremony. Stephanie and the rest of the bridesmaids looked stunning with their hair being done by Moxie in Charlottesville. After the ceremony, guest mingled under the tent while enjoying food & drinks by 20 South Catering. I couldn't resist myself from sampling some chocolates that were made by the bride's Aunt on the chocolate table. If you want to order some delicious, homemade chocolates, go to www.ldcandy.com. Personally the chocolate covered carmel with salt on the outside was unbelievable along with the toffee. Right next to the chocolate table was a simple, yet elegant wedding cake by Cakes by Rachel. The tables were adorned with beautiful flowers by Carla Yoder of Artistic Florist in Harrisonburg, VA. Guest enjoyed dancing the night away to music being played by DJ Derek Tobler. The guest were treated when the brides great Uncle played the accordion for a traditional family wedding dance. The finale to the night was Carpe Donuts for some and brandy & cigars for others. Thanks to Albemarle Limousines for transporting everyone safely back to their hotels. The entire wedding was captured by Andrew Harnik Photography.
Sarah & Joyee say "I do" twice!
Keswick Vineyards began its 2012 wedding season on April 28th with the marriage of Sarah & Joyee. What a way to start off our wedding season. Sarah & Joyee had 2 ceremonies; one American & one Hindu. Sarah wore a beautiful lace wedding dress for their first ceremony. Joyee and the groomsmen wore dark suits. Guest enjoyed the backdrop of the Southwestern Mountains and the vineyard as they gathered on the front lawn of the estate. Sarah was escorted down the flower lined aisle by her father. After the first ceremony guests enjoyed cocktails & hors d'oeuvres while the wedding party changed to get ready for the Hindu ceremony. Sarah was carried in like Cleopatra by four groomsmen. She kept her face covered with 2 leaves as she circled 7 times around Joyee before revealing her face to him. I was fascinated with this ceremony. I have never seen a Hindu wedding and was just amazed by the beauty and culture. Even though I couldn't understand a word of the ceremony, it was easy to understand by the hand gestures and props that were used throughout the ceremony. The colors were just amazing with all the red and gold. I'll never forget this ceremony; simply breathtaking! Once all the ceremonies were completed the guest were escorted to the Sperry Tent for the reception. After dinner the dancing began and again, what a treat that was with the Indian music and dances. I can't say enough to how sweet of a couple Sarah & Joyee and their entire family were. I really appreciate you choosing Keswick Vineyards for your wedding and wish you a lifetime (times 7) of love and happiness. Congratulations!
Special thanks to the following vendors for such a wonderful job: C&O Catering, Jen Fariello Photgraphy, BeeHive Floral & Decor, DJ Pauly Madison, Barb Wired Wedding Planner, Albemarle Limousine.
Click here to see this wedding featured in The Knot.
Needing help drinking all this wine
Have you ever wondered how a winery and winemaker confidently predicts how a wine should be tasting it's best in 8-10 years? When you have a few years of wine making behind you, have a style that has been consistent and grow grapes in a conducive environment; then guessing the age ability of wine is really not that hard. That being said, we assume the wine is not being kept above the kitchen stove where temperature fluctuations happen on a daily basis, instead they are being stored in pristine cellars where temperature and humidity levels are perfect.
So why are storage conditions so important? There are three storage conditions of concern to collectors and consumers of fine wine: light, humidity and temperature. The storage area for wine must be dark because ultraviolet (UV) light will damage wine by causing the degradation of otherwise stable organic compounds found in wine. Since these organic compounds contribute to the aroma, flavor and structure of the wine, the changes caused by UV light result in the deterioration of the essence of wine. Have you ever wondered why clear glass is not often used anymore, with darker green bottles being preferred for red and white wine? Well now you know.
The only reason humidity is an issue in wine storage is because of the use of the traditional cork seal. The relative humidity of the storage area (i.e., the amount of gaseous water in the air) can exacerbate the rate of evaporation of wine from the bottle if the cork is defective. Since corks are far from perfect in their ability to seal a bottle of wine, ullage (the space between the bottom of the cork and the wine level in the bottle) develops in almost all bottles stored for extended periods due to evaporation. If the cork (seal) is defective, low humidity in the storage area will result in wine moving out of the bottle faster over time and significant ullage will develop in less time under these conditions. Thus, the more important issue is the quality of the cork seal and not the relative humidity in the storage area. Of course, very low humidity can dry out the cork leading to sealing problems. The advent of technical closures and screw caps though sort of takes the humidity issue out of the equation, but the conundrum is. Are wines bottled under screw caps, really destined for long-term aging? There are some trials being done on wines bottled under screw caps and the results are quite astonishing but that is for another blog I think.
Assuming one has good cork seals, and a non-drying (i.e., moderately humid) and dark storage area, the most important factor in the storage and aging of wine is temperature. If you ask most anyone associated with wine, from collector to so-called expert, they will most likely tell you that the ideal storage temperature is 55° to 60°F. According to conventional wisdom, wine develops most harmoniously if stored in this temperature range with little or no fluctuation. So, for example, an excellent storage temperature would be 55°F with a fluctuation of plus or minus one degree.
Lets assume that storage is perfect and that all variables associated with atypical aging have been taken care of, all that leaves is the quality of the wine. Hang on a moment, what determines the quality of a wine, what if it was a good wine that was designed to be consumed in one to two years? The plot thickens. Hah, a great wine can certainly be something that needs to be consumed young, think Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc for example. Their charm lies in their accessibility and their lack of over complicated terms and descriptors. I would just love to read a label where it says the following.
Enjoy me, for I am delicious Case closed, drink it how you like, when you like and with whom you like and if you love it, have another. With all the food pairings, temperatures you have to serve it at, don't we sometimes just have to remember to enjoy the wine, is it not the reason we make it? Before I digress too much further, as a winemaker I am asked to write back labels for wines that I have made prior to them being bottled. The information we provide includes the blend, some flavors and aromas the customer might perceive and the age ability of the wine.
For our 2007 Heritage, I said the wine should age 8-10 years and drink beautifully. The question is, can I confidently say that the wine will actually taste that good if someone laid it down for that period of time? Honest answer, I think so but do I know for certain, NO! I thus thought I needed to develop a tasting guide for all the wines that we have made here at Keswick Vineyards, advising the consumers who have these wine in their cellar, if they needed to be drinking or holding onto them.
My research project thus consists of opening up 115 wines over the next few weeks and developing new tasting notes with the suggestions of drink now; not yet ready or past its prime. It should be a very informative period of "tasting", one that will be hugely beneficial to me as a winemaker to re-visit wines that I have not tasted for a while. I should also able to go back to my original notes and see how these wines have aged, as I have them stored in a Eurocave where the temperature has been constant and any atypical aging can be directly attributed to wine making instead of environmental conditions. I shall take into account vintage variation, wine making methodologies and wax lyrical about non-interventionist wine-making. I shall present a very honest opinion [for this will be from my point of view] about how the wines are tasting at that very moment.
I am therefore asking if you taste an older vintage of our wines, please let me know what you think about it. Could the wine age longer or was it past its prime and how long would you still leave it for if you have another bottle. I hope to have this tasting guide up in about a month. HMM, 4 weeks and 115 bottles of wine as a rate of 28.7 bottles per week. You have got to love doing some research! Stay tuned for the results.