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September2018 Issue | Vol. 1 Iss. 4

Golf. Craft Beer. Craft Wine. Craft Spirits. Travel Destinations.

Celebrating Life .�


September 2018 Issue | Vol. 1 Iss. 4

Contents Featured Articles 48 8

Cover

Texas Two Step Dance into Luxury in Dallas and Houston By Art Stricklin

Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course in Great Exuma

Turquoise Blue Meets Fairway Green in the Bahamas By Tim Cotroneo

20 30

Tune Up Your Game, Tune Up Your Body The Ballantyne Hotel

32

Good Beer & Good People Granville Island Brewery

38

Ireland’s Dromoland Castle

54

The World’s Most Famous Wine Region Bordeaux France

60

Toasting The Enemy In Mendoza’s El Enemigo Winery

66

Après-Ski In The Alps Kaffee Klatsch Lounge in Klosters

74

Gabriele Rausse The Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry

Cruising Through Retirement All editorial inquiries: editor@linksandlibations.com

80 Four Stops On The Monticello Wine Trail The Time Is Ripe For Virginia Wine

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Contributors Victoria Hart Bob Aldrich

Tim Cotroneo Elsa Dixon

Kira Peterson Lori Sweet

Cat Holiday Art Stricklin


Texas Two-step Dance into Luxury in Dallas and Houston By art stricklin


T

he Texas Two-Step was a dance move made famous long ago and has been practiced here by many natives and visitors for years. But when it comes to golfing, Lone Star golf and travel visitors can find the real Texas two-step in luxury hideouts in the state’s two biggest cities, Dallas and Houston. You will find the home of the Four Seasons Resort and Club, the Hotel ZaZa and The Houstonian, respectively, where there is plenty links and libations in whatever order you set fit to use them. FOUR SEASONS RESORT & CLUB While the PGA tour officially decamped from this plush Irving location, choosing to move south of downtown Dallas, after its 2017 tournament, that just means more open weeks, villas and tower rooms for families looking to make a comforting trip.

With a huge resort pool, an award winning spa, kid’s activities, indoor sand table shuffleboard and billiards in a sports bar setting, there is all manner of family activities, but the real star is still the Tournament Players Course (TPC) golf course that the world’s best professionals used to attack with varying degrees of success. Among the golf options offered are the golf packages for two which includes one round of golf a day per guest along with club storage and full use of practice facilities, where the pros used to spend the majority of their time. Not surprising in the summer, the prime tee times are early in the morning, but one of the real beauties of the Fab Four Seasons is the fact the 18th green at the par 70 course is less than a sand wedge away from the resort pool.


So regardless when you finish your round, you’re less than 100 feet from some cool watery refreshment or refreshment of the more strongly liquid kind from the nearby poolside bar. In fact, it’s not surprising to see golfers appear at the pool in full golf gear sometimes with clubs in tow looking to join their family. One interesting and increasingly popular sidelight at the golf course is the use of the four-wheeled GolfBoard. The Four Seasons was one of the first local courses to offer the use of the GolfBoards which look like a skateboard with a wider base, four wheels, and a place for the clubs, and powered with a simple electrical switch. Thankfully, it lives up to its promotional pledge of being nearly impossible to turn over. While the traditional four-wheeled golf carts still make up the majority of golf rounds here, the GolfBoard continues to increase in use, especially among the younger golf demographic. It can also produce an impressive golf course breeze, always an important summer staycation tip. Once you’ve exhausted the golf and the pool options, the Four Seasons spa, with a wide variety


of treatments for males and females is certainly a highlight for a certain segment of the family. The hotel is also home to a 176,000 square foot sports facility that includes 12 indoor/outdoor tennis courts, indoor/outdoor jogging tracks, racquetball and squash courts, functional training studio, fitness center and group exercise studio featuring over 50 classes weekly. It was home to some legendary tennis, basketball and racquetball from Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, among many others during their Byron Nelson stays. It also has a healthy living space with nutrition counseling and coaching, diagnostics with the InBody 570, acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and athletic recovery massage. There are five different dining options at the hotel with some outstanding food options within walking or an easy driving distance when you decide to go off campus for a spell. THE HOTEL ZAZA If you just need a place to crash, eat and hang out before tackling you next city option. The Hotel


ZaZa in downtown Dallas fills the tickets on this and the result is laidback perfection. While the ZaZa, located next to its luxury hotel neighbors the Crescent Court and Ritz Carlton, is chic and hip, with plenty of It factor thrown in, management has worked hard to make sure it’s not stuffy, The Magnificent Seven Suites with individually chosen bedding and décor achieves that goal, but management wanted to carry that through in the restaurant as well. They wanted a laidback, relaxed place with familiar favorites where, for lack of a better phrase, you didn’t feel hungry 15 minutes after you leave. Happy with what you just ate, but certainly wishing there had been more of it. The inside portion of the restaurant was jammed with people vying for tables, the large marble bar was crowded with the sports playing silently above and many of the featured art pieces came directly from the owners private collection. The outdoor tables underneath the large cabana strips were all taken as well, as people were even occupying spots around the nearby pool just to get

in on the action. Comida means whatever the staff is eating in the kitchen, during their breaks, is served to the patrons THE HOUSTONIAN Having hosted Presidents, NFL Superstars and Owners, and people just looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Texas’ largest city, place to be and be seen at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. This hidden enclave of luxury, near the massive Galleria Shopping Mall but hidden away from public view by the massive natural Oaks, it has served as the luxury HQ NFL owners and sponsors, NCAA Final Four Sponsors plus travel celebrities and entertainers. The traveler’s public can rub elbows with the sports elite in the historic Manor House for lunch or in the Bar at The Houstonian which luxury travel fans from all backgrounds gather to celebrate their good fortune to be here. The new renovated and renamed, Tribute Restaurant will open this fall where the Barbara French Toast, named for former First Lady and Houston resident Barbara Bush who stayed here regularly with her husband George, when they were back home from


the White House for a weekend, should still be on the menu. Adjacent is the 175,000 square foot Houstonian Sports Club and the 17,000 luxury two-story, Trellis the Spa. The Houstonian Sport Club is one of the overlooked benefits for hotel and resort guests. It’s open to all who stay here and not only offers all kinds of indoor and outdoor fitness equipment you could ask for, but you can sign up for specialized golf training. Including the 360 golf motion system which allows you to rotate and perfect your golf motion in any direction and Level III TPI Golf Training from the instructors here. For golf itself, Houston’s most historic course is the public Memorial Park designs just a couple of miles from the Houstonian inside the Loop 610 interstate. It was opened in the 1936 in the height of the Great Depression and was designed by John Bredemus, known as the Father of Texas Golf, for his many famous courses he did in the Lone Star State. Since opening, the course has hosted over five million golf rounds, has been the site of a dozen PGA Tour Houston Opens and has been experienced by


everyone from pro golf superstars to Hollywood War Bond heroes and thoroughly hooked Houston Hackers. The course fell into disrepair in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was almost abandoned, but a local fundraising campaign and some brilliant restoration work by architects Jay Riviere and Dave Marr restored the course in 1995 and it’s been going strong ever since. The PGA Tour’s Houston Open is even considering coming back here in a couple years.

The bargain public course prices and huge oak trees filled with Spanish moss will be more than welcome guests and locals this fall. Of course, the Texas’ original Honky-Tonk is Gilley’s nearby where you can practice the actual Texas TwoStep Dance, but for luxury Links & Libation travelers, these comforting outposts in Dallas and Houston will do just fine.


Top Items to Consider When Starting a Distillery Each distillery has unique characteristics, resulting in exposure to many unique risks. From converting fermented grains into an alcohol vapor to bottling the final product, the hazards associated with this process are many. Here are some of the major considerations that will need to be addressed when starting a distillery.

prevent it as an ignition source. These areas must have fire sprinkler systems to control and knock down a fire, should one start. The electrical disconnect switch should be located on the outside of the barrel warehousing building. Primary electrical service should be shut off when power is not is not required for operational purposes.

Building Type & Construction One of the first considerations is the building type and construction. The distillery should be built of fire-resistive or non-combustible materials such as masonry or pre-engineered metal. It is preferred that distillery operations are separated from adjacent buildings by at least 100 feet. Adjoining structures should be separated by firewalls and parapets.

Storage Areas Milling and grain storage areas need to be separate from the distilling and bottling. Milling produces fine, flammable grain dust and requires a proper dust collection and venting system to void dust build up.

Ignition Source Controls Ignitable vapors produced during the distilling process need to be controlled with the proper natural or mechanical ventilation system. All areas of production, bottling, and warehousing need to have an alcohol detection system as well as proper explosion-proof electrical and lighting. These areas must also have suitable lightning protection to

Spill Control Spill control, drainage, and containment are extremely important as well. This is done with curbing, diking, and scuppers to prevent the flow of flammable liquid throughout the building. These are some of the major considerations and exposures one faces when starting a distilling operation. If you have specific questions or would like further information, I can be reached at 608-4434716 or rkrantz@neckerman.com. Randy Krantz, CIC Vice President Neckerman Insurance Services www.neckerman.com


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TUNE UP YOUR GAME, TUNE UP YOUR BODY

The Ballantyne Hotel CHARLOTTE, NC

By Victoria Hart

I

knew I’d found a gem when chatting with guests around The Ballantyne who told me they were from Charlotte. “This is our favorite place for a staycation,” one local told me. “The Spa is amazing, and the golf course is public,” she explained. “You don’t have to maintain a club membership all year, if you just golf occasionally. After a massage, who wants to drive home?” she chuckled. “We just get a room.”


Located in the suburb of Ballantyne, the resort is less than 18 miles from Charlotte Douglas International airport, making it easily accessible for travelers and locals alike. Whether you want to tune up your golf game or tune up your body, a few days of gracious southern hospitality, locally sourced food, a creative beverage program and a world class spa is the perfect re-charge before facing the real world again. The Hotel A Luxury Collection Hotel, The Ballantyne gets

four stars from Forbes and four diamonds from AAA.199 rooms, a variety of suites and a 35-room lodge accommodate couples, families, small golf groups, wedding parties, or large outings. Twenty-four-hour room service means it is possible to hibernate for a few days, if that is what you need. However, with a wide variety of resort amenities including a seasonal outdoor pool, year-round indoor pool, wave-resistant lap pools, a gym, an art collection, and amazing hand-crafted cocktails, this writer recommends you go out and get social.


The Golf Course The par 71 public course with Champion Ultra Dwarf grass greens offers year-round playability. The Dana Rader Golf School is the Carolina’s only Golf Channel Academy, offering programs for all skill levels, including lessons, packages and club fittings. One of the toughest parts of getting a group together for a golf outing is that someone must be in charge. The Ballantyne provides professionally executed golf outings and tournaments, allowing all guests to just be guests. Sug-

gested itineraries will please the manic 36-hole per day weekend warriors, the group that wants to combine lessons with play, or the more laid back social golfers, looking for cocktails, amazing dinners and spa services. Speaking of cocktails, one of the most fun perks at the Gallery Bar is the free drink given to the member of each foursome with the highest score. Just take your scorecard into the bar, and the loser in-


stantly becomes a winner. Dining Executive Chef Garrett Merck leads the food program. There are many options for eating. The Gallery Restaurant is the primary location, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner. Brunch is served on the weekends. There is also a Spa dining menu, grab and go sandwiches at the golf pavilion, a seasonal menu at the outdoor pool, Afternoon Tea on the Veranda, and 24-hour room service. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing on the property, it is easy to find a way to be fed. Chef Merck works with the local farming community, procuring produce from long- time supplier Foster Caviness. “We have recently been approved to join the Foster Caviness Greener Fields Together program, which quantifies sustainability efforts with every partner, facilitates continuous improvement at every link and creates a future for conscious production and consumption,” Chef Garrett explains. The kitchen likes to experiment with food innovation, so expect new and interesting offerings.

What impressed me most about the food service is the large variety of menu items. Many professional kitchens moving to a farm to table approach tend to limit options, focusing on a few local, seasonal offerings. But, Chef Merck’s kitchen maintains a wide variety of traditional favorites alongside newer, healthier local items. For example, it is still possible to get jumbo flapjacks for breakfast and soak them in butter and syrup for those who wake up “hangry.” It is also possible to order Almond Chia Pudding, for those focused on restoring their probiotics, perhaps after a night of experimenting with the hotel’s craft cocktail offerings. Those who visit to tune up their bodies may select a fresh salad for lunch, like the Baby Kale. But If you manage to get in 18 holes before a late lunch, a BBQ Pork Sandwich or a Green Tomato BLT might be the best options. Dinner will have you considering staying an extra night, just so you can eat again. With fresh southern options like the Scallops and Grits, Carolina Trout, Braised Lamb or Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin,


it is hard to keep my own fork on my own plate. The wide variety calls for digging in and sharing. The Spa The menu at the spa is inspired by nature, and offers a wide variety of massages, facials, and body treatments. Hair, make-up, manicure and pedicure services are also offered. There are lots of weddings held here, and the spa services are a lovely offering for brides, grooms and their parties. Local sustainability extends into the spa with a signature line of Carolina Lavender products, produced with locally grown lavender. Gentlemen are not left out at the spa. The Gentleman’s Journey package includes a sports massage and pedicure, topped off with a Maker’s Mark Manhattan. It seems the folks at The Ballantyne know what a golfer really needs. One of the secrets of experienced travelers is to figure out how to go where the locals go. In Charlotte, North Carolina, you will find the locals celebrating life’s joyful moments at The Ballantyne.


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Retirement

By Bob Aldrich

T

he town of La Pointe on Madeline Island is 2.2 miles from the town of Bayfield Wisconsin. Bayfield is on the peninsula that makes the “wolf’s mouth” of the western end of Lake Superior. In about 1958, I was 9 or 10, give or take a year or two, our family was on the last ferry back to Bayfield, having spent a summer day on Madeline Island. The ferry was the Gar How II, and of all the ferries that ran, this boat always intrigued me with its classic lines, and majestic wheelhouse. I was always careful, and respectful, but I loved climbing the stair to the door into the wheelhouse, so I could see the captain, and the deckhands. We were on the last ferry back to the mainland, and it

was deepening dark. The captain saw me peering in, and asked if I wanted to come into the wheelhouse. This was a dream come true moment, as I assumed that nobody other than crew could be in there. He showed me around a bit, the huge steering wheel, the lit compass, the engine gauges, the radios. I was mesmerized. Then, much to my surprise, he asked me if I’d like to steer the boat! I could not believe my fortune. I said, “I sure would”, and he had me step up to the wheel. It was quite dark by now, the lights of Bayfield twinkled around the harbor. There was a light on the bow, and he told me to keep that lined up with a light he showed me on shore. Those maybe, ninety seconds, were the greatest high I could imagine. The outward pride of telling my folks that I got to steer


was nowhere near the inward thrill I felt.

deckhands.” Long story short... here I am.

Many years later, as young Coast Guardsman, I had to take helm watches for 4 hours at a time on an ice-breaking tugboat, and learn how to really steer a course. After corpsman training, I was the only health care person on a large buoy tender, with a crew of twenty some guys, and had no deck duties required of me. But now and then, when we were under way for a long haul, I would wander up the wheelhouse and offer to spring the guy on the helm for a break. They often welcomed the offer. After military service, my career veered off into medicine, and I was only rarely a passenger on a large vessel. I am now retired, and back in northern Wisconsin. When we had special guests at our cabin 50 plus years ago, we would love to take them up to Bayfield, and if we did not go to Madeline Island, it was always an even bigger treat to take them on one of the excursion boats out around the archipeligo of the Apostle Islands.

For a kid that grew up always drawn to “the big lake”, as we call it, a job to be out on the water, helping people see and appreciate the splendor, majesty, and history of this great part of the country, I am truly blessed. So come, bring your kids, and though there are no promises these days of a turn at the wheel, the intrigue is still here.

There are twenty-two islands, and the largest concentration of lighthouses in the country. To cruise out into the open water of the largest fresh water lake, (and coldest) in the world, is always a literal, and figurative breath of fresh air. We recently had visitors that we wanted to take on a cruise, and while under way, I asked one of the crew if those jobs were all inside, “gotta know somebody” jobs. He said “no, not at all. They are always looking for


F

or the originators of Granville Island Brewing, their love of flavorful beer ran so deep, it inspired them to open one of Canada’s first microbreweries in 1984. It became their mission to craft locally brewed beer that they enjoyed and were proud to serve their friends and family. Time for a Visit My first introduction to the brewery was a Granville Islands Lions Winter Ale, given to me last winter. This was impressive enough that I was interested in trying others. Their selection of brews is likely to be en-

joyed by wine lovers as well. When visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a visit to the brewery on Granville Island is a must. On the island, you will find a taproom as well as a retail store. The taproom serves beer and beer flights along with food. There is even a beer pairing chart on the menu! The retail store is also where you can book a tour. The Granville island location develops and produces the small-batch beers while the large batch brewing


is done at Molson’s Burrard Street plant in Vancouver. Granville Island Brewing changed hands a number of times since its inception and is now owned by Creemore Springs, a subsidiary of Molson’s. All for the Sake of Safety A tour of the brewery starts off at a large harvest table in a glassed-in room separating the taproom from the retail store. Since you will be entering a restricted area of a working brewery, everyone has to have close-toed shoes. No worries though, they have shoe covers to keep you safe, if you need them. Beer History Lesson During a recent visit, staff member Zack Willms was the guide. Zack started off with the history of beer itself. Did you know, that brewing emerged more than 5,000 years ago and the ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process? A quick immersive lesson in the differences in malt is a great ‘hands-on’ experience and being introduced to IBU (International Bitterness Units) is an eye-opener, for the infrequent beer drinker and regular drinker alike. This just might help you choose the right beer for any occasion. It wasn’t all a serious history lesson. A poster of a “Beeriodic” table displaying a unique combination of science and suds was a highlight. On the Move The general knowledge of how beer is made is followed by a tour of the brewery. On this tour, you discover what the different pieces of equipment are used for and how they operate, including the impressive bottling machine. Granville Island Brewing is part of the Canadian bottle pool, with their 341 ml bottles being reused up to 13 times each. The Brewmaster Award-winning brewmaster Kevin Emms joined Granville Island Brewing after a successful career, crafting original recipes for local beer fans at Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers and at Coal Harbour Brewing. He has put what he learned from his Masters in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in the UK to work. Bullfrog Powered Brewery Being a bullfrog powered brewery means that they choose green electricity and green natural gas where possible. Their wide variety of beer is brewed with high quality, natural ingredients. The spent grains from the small


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batch site go to farms for animal feed and fertilizer. Apparently, one customer grew an award-winning zucchini, which she attributed to the addition of the spent hops being used in her garden. The End Result Once the tour is over, it’s time to get down to the business of tasting. Seated back at the harvest table, each person has a “tasting map” type placemat placed in front of them. This placemat has a description of seven of their more popular beers. Three are included in the tasting. With the formal tour and tasting part over, sit for a while and enjoy the last of your tastings with your fellow table mates, often from places around the world or consider heading into the taproom for more beer and some tasty food. What better way to get to know new people than over a nice cold local brew on a hot day in a great city!

When You Go: Location: 1441 Cartwright St, on Granville Island Tours: 5 tours-a-day. Cost: Tour is $9.75 + tax and includes 3x5 oz. tasters Taproom: 11-9 daily Website: http://www.gib.ca/


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Ireland’s Dromoland Castle By Victoria hart

O

nce upon a time in a magical green land filled with fairies and leprechauns, alongside an enchanting lake, a king built a castle. Many years later, after the kingdom was conquered and the reigning family ran out of money, the family began renting rooms to visitors. Five hundred years later, Dromoland Castle is a five star resort offering 98 guest rooms in the iPrefer collection, welcoming visitors from all over the world to experience Irish history and royal culture with all of the modern conveniences available in today’s world. It sounds like a fairy tale, or the description of a theme park, but the majestic Dromoland Castle, located in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, is one of the most celebrated baronial landmarks in Ireland. So often we experience history only through museums or hiking through ruins, where it takes great imagination to envision what a place once was. Dromoland Castle is a place that is honored and preserved for its history, but is very much alive and living in the present moment as guests enjoy activities built around the essence of the rich natural landscape. Whether you come from Irish heritage and want to relive your family history or you just want to play King and Queen on your next holiday, Dromo-


land Castle is the place to make that happen.

estate.

History Dromoland Castle is the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland who were the Kings of Thormond and Barons on Inchquin. The lineage goes back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland. This is one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood in Ireland. The pedigree of the Dromoland O’Briens is kept in a vault at Lloyds of London and is 36 feet in length.

“Working with architects and conservationists, we have sought to carefully integrate any new features with the original historic structures of the castle,” explains Mark Nolan, Managing Director of Dromoland Castle. “Many of the public rooms, such as the Drawing Room or Lower Gallery still look and feel as they would have when Lord Inchquin’s family lived here throughout the 1800’s.”

Recent Renovations A 20 million euro renovation has taken place, from January 2016 through April 2018. The property was first renovated from an ancestral home to a luxury hotel in 1962, when a consortium of mainly Irish-American investors purchased the castle and

While the castle maintains an 1800’s look and feel, the modern refurbishments include the interior design of all bedrooms, brand new luxury en-suite bathrooms in each room, upgrades to all mechanical and electrical work, upgraded heating, replacement of all piping, specialized conservation and stone façade repair to the castle interior and


towers, new insulation, double-glazed windows, extensive roof repairs, and a new castle courtyard, including new limestone steps for the main entrance. Essentially, the guts of the castle are new, which means more comfort for guests. My renovated room, located on the fifth floor of one of the towers could most definitely make Rapunzel jealous. The cozy sitting area was perfect for a cup of tea and shortbread, provided complimentary in the room. A beverage and snack from the well-stocked mini bar was also an option. A desk which included both U.S and U.K electrical outlets and a USB port provided many more comforts and luxuries than I imagine Rapunzel had access to in her tower. Of course, there is no way to get an elevator into a

1000+ year old tower, but the staff was quite willing to carry my luggage up the winding staircase. My golden locks were not long enough to summon a handsome prince to scale the exterior wall. The newly renovated bathroom included a large soaking tub, towel warmer, and shower with a large rain showerhead. There is a hotel spa, but the ensuite bathroom was a very good start to creating an atmosphere of pampering and relaxation. Things to Do Golf An 18-hole 6845-yard championship parkland course re-designed by golfing legend J.B. Carr along with golf course architect Ron Kirby is part of the castle grounds. For golfers, this is the best


way to take in the 450 acres of breath-taking scenery. Clubs, buggies (what the Irish call golf carts) and any other equipment you might need are available for rent or purchase. No need to haul clubs across the pond, unless of course, you want to. Falconry Falconry is a quintessential castle activity, and another amazing way to enjoy the castle grounds. Guests experience live birds of prey on a guided “Hawk Walk,” where experts share their knowledge of the natural history of raptors, their role in the ecosystem, and the environmental threats they face. You can’t become a falconry expert in a day, but the basics of the ancient sport are taught. Darby, our Harris Hawk, was quite patient with our group of amateurs. Darby was clearly used to an audience as she posed for photos and flew to the gloves of her admirers, always in search of a culinary reward. There aren’t many sports and activities we can experience today that humans enjoyed 1000

years ago. Walking, Jogging, and Cycling There are numerous ways to move around the castle grounds. As spectacular as the castle is, it is the surreal landscape that must have drawn the original builders and architects to this place. Of course, castles weren’t built simply for luxurious living and recreation. Castles were defensive strongholds, build to protect the lives and land of its people. Today the grounds are a safe place for exploration. Whether you are a runner who moves through life in the fast lane, a walker who stops to smell the roses, or you wish to try one of the castle’s complimentary bicycles, getting out of the castle is part of the castle experience. The mature woodlands are full of native red deer, pheasant, partridge and many other local fauna. Clay Shooting, Archery, or Pony and Trap While there is lots of sight-


seeing to be done in the area, you can bet when the ancient royals made the long trip by carriage to Dromoland, they weren’t in a hurry to leave. So, what did they do with themselves? Perhaps they worked on their hunting prowess with a round of clay shooting. Or, they challenged each other in archery. Historians believe people have been enjoying archery for 15,000 years. Before jogging was a thing, a ride around the grounds on a pony and trap was a much more dignified way to get around for a lady in a long gown who still wanted to have a bit of fun. All of these activities exist today, along with the modern day amenities of an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and fully equipped gym. With or Without the Children? At first glance a Dromoland Castle holiday looks like a charming, romantic getaway. Or, perhaps a golfers dream with three of your best golfing buddies. However, children are welcome at Dromoland Castle too.

If you are contemplating blowing the wad on that “must do” family theme park holiday, consider skipping the make believe and going all in on the real deal. There are no animated characters or waterslides, but Ireland is a great place to learn about the history of fairy tales, and what really happened Once Upon a Time. The forest is magical, the ponies are real, and milk and cookies are part of the bedtime ritual. A kids club is offered during school breaks. Getting There Dromoland Castle is located just 12km from the Shannon International Airport in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, Ireland. For more information or reservations visit http://www.preferredhotels.com or http://www.dromoland.ie (Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Dromoland Castle and Failte Ireland, the Irish Tourism Board,)


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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course in Great Exuma By Tim Cotroneo

I

s it possible that a golf course’s beauty can hurt your game? Sandals Emerald Bay Head Professional Richard Gibson believes this could be the case with his Greg Norman-designed 18-hole layout which hugs the turquoise waters of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. “Whenever I speak with our golfers at Sandals Resort, they almost always say the front nine is harder than the back. When I see their scorecard, the opposite is true. What happens is that golfers get so caught up in the beauty of the back nine, they do more looking than golfing,” Gibson said.


Looking could be declared a national pastime on 37-mile long Great Exuma. The island’s turquoise water created an international buzz when it served as a backdrop to the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Now imagine this same extraordinary water lapping at your heels when teeing off on holes 11 through 17. If you also happened to sample one of the island’s legendary rum cocktails at the turn, your golf concentration levels are tested like nowhere else on earth. Birdies and Bogies in the Bahamas The Sandals Emerald Bay front nine is located inland, or at least a three-wood from the back nine ocean holes that beckon like a siren song. The front nine tests your golfing mettle with lake holes, a multitude of sand traps, and more mangrove vegetation than the best chapters in the children’s’ story, “Jungle Book.” Gibson especially likes the petite and reachable 260-yard Par 4, 4th hole. A 5-iron is more than enough club to provide a safe 100-yard second shot. The problem is, the driver distance from tee to green is so enticingly close that it’s easy to throw caution to the wind.

“Most golfers will pull out their driver and go for it. Keep in mind there is ocean running the whole length of the left side. This is a birdie or bogey hole, with a little creativity in between,” Gibson said. The Shark Rocks Greg Norman has carved quite a name for himself in the field of Caribbean golf course design. Of his over 100 golf courses throughout the globe, Norman includes four Caribbean courses in his portfolio. An avid outdoorsman, the Bahamas Out Island part of the world suits Norman the yachtsman, and Norman the fisherman, just fine. Emerald Bay’s back nine receives all the glory, but it was the Par 4, 499-yard, 5th hole that really challenged Norman’s back and budget. “We call the 5th the million-dollar hole. There is a huge expanse of limestone behind the 5th green. Trying to remove the that rock became too much of a construction challenge. Norman’s crew finally relented, and golfers can now see a natural stone creation behind the green,” Gibson said. Par 3’s for the Ages The two par threes on the back nine could be


termed short, but sweet, and a visual treat. The 11th hole is just 148-yards from the back tees. The 13th hole is a miniscule 122-yards from the back. The length is where the sweetness ends. The 11th hole features the Atlantic Ocean on the right side. Flip the mirror on the 13th and the Atlantic is now on the left. If the trade winds are blowing, you have a lot to think about. The beauty of these two short iron tests is jaw-dropping. A golfer’s goal is to commit to the shot. Par Fours Drenched in Turquoise The 14th, 15th, and 16th holes compare with any in the universe for beauty. All three par fours buttress the ocean. Keep in mind that the two resorts flanking the golf course are havens for sailors. On top of the raw natural beauty that Sandals Emerald Bay delivers, you must also contend with the sight of sailboats caressing the ocean just a nine iron away. As you head down the homestretch toward the clubhouse, you can’t help but savor what you’ve just experienced. Emerald Bay takes Caribbean


golf to a whole new level. Prior to your round you anticipated the palm trees, the world class beach, and the laid-back lifestyle. What you didn’t imagine was a golf course so beautiful that your handicap may take on a wee bit of saltwater. As your golf cart pulls up to the pro shop after the round, Gibson smiles and asks his two favorite questions. “What did you think of Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course, and which nine did you think was harder?” Scoring Rum and Golf in Paradise The good news is that you’re on vacation, so there are no wrong answers. Upon quenching your thirst with one of Sandals legendary rum cocktails, you may have a question of your own. How many times do you play island golf on a course that could be described as too beautiful? In the Caribbean game called life, who is keeping score? http://www.sandals.com/main/emerald/emgolf/


World’s Most Famous Wine Region

Bordeaux France by lori sweet

“Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil.” -Lord Byron

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esignated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, the city of Bordeaux is located 358 miles southwest of Paris. Bordeaux is not only the name of France’s second most visited city after Paris, but it is also the name of the region. Everywhere you go, people are drinking wine, talking about its history and how it’s made. A trip to Bordeaux is a bucket list trip for any wine lover, one my husband and I were happy to take. Oenotourisme, tourism whose purpose is or includes tasting, consumption or purchase of wine, is alive and well in Bordeaux. History and Tradition There is an incredible 2000-year tradition, starting with the Romans, of winemaking in the largest wine-growing region in France. There are over 120,000 hectares of vines and more than 7,500 different producers. 80% of the area is dedicated to red wine. Bordeaux is a port city situated along the Garonne River. As we made our way along the quays by the river, past the stunning 18th century Place de la Bourse, the water mirror, parks, restaurants and playgrounds, we couldn’t help but notice how straight the streets are. This is connected to wine too! The streets were designed this way so that the barrels of wine could be rolled to the ships waiting in port-


yards in Bordeaux. It was discovered that American rootstock was resistant to Phylloxera, and so started the grafting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the three primary grapes used in the production of red Bordeaux wine. White Bordeaux wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle also survived with the American rootstalk. Bar À Vin We started our visit in the city of Bordeaux with a stop at Bar À Vin. It’s located on the ground floor of the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux, the headquarters of the Bordeaux Wine Council. Housed in an 18th-century building, its shape resembles a ship’s prow. A nod no doubt to the city’s history as a port. Here we enjoyed a glass of wine from a wine list that offers only Bordeaux wines. The list covers the entire range-red, dry and sweet whites, rosés, clairets and sparkling wines. Children and non-alcohol drinkers are welcome and have a choice of mineral water or locally produced grape juice. Our wine was enhanced by a locally sourced charcuterie and cheese board.

Bordeaux vs Burgundy While vineyards in Bordeaux and Burgundy create different types of wine, they are also different in how the vineyards themselves have evolved. The Napoleonic Code, drafted in the early 1800’s, included a law that affected the way landowners divided their land amongst their heirs. It meant that over many generations, the land was continually subdivided until today, the vineyards in Burgundy are no longer owned by one family but by many, some having as few as just a few rows of vines to their name. In Bordeaux, the wealthy landowners worked around this law by incorporating their estates. The laws for shareholders is much different than for familial landowners. As a result, today many of the Bordeaux chateaux are very large and under one name. American Connection In 1869, Phylloxera, a tiny insect related to the aphid, destroyed a significant portion of the vine-

Musée du Vin et du Négoce/Wine & Trade Museum Located in the historic district of Chartrons, this museum is housed in the building of the Royal Broker of Louis XV. The displays are found in three vaulted cellars dating back to 1720. During our self-guided tour, we saw a collection of unique historical objects and exhibits explaining the Bordeaux wine trade system, the classification system and much more. We then emerged from the cellars into the wine tasting area in a shop situated in the old cooperage of the building. Here a knowledgeable staff member gave us a short lesson on the different grapes of the region along with some wine tasting. Bottles of wine were available to purchase as well. Something Other Than Wine? Bordeaux’s history may be based on wine, but there is so much more to see and do. There is no need for a car. Cars have been banished from most of the historic center. There is a tramway (streetcar) system that is easy to navigate. When we arrived in the city, we parked our rental car and didn’t move it again until we left several days later. A visit to the centrally located Bordeaux Tourism


Office gave us ample information about what to see. Using a CityPass gave us access to a bus tour, walking tour, unlimited access to public transportation and discounts/passes to 20 museums and monuments. Indeed, more than we could do in the time we were there. You can also book bus tours to various wineries at this office or online. Eating is an event in France and Bordeaux is arguably its culinary capital. In and around the centre of the city, you will find everything from Michelin Star restaurants, to cafés and boulangeries (bak-

eries). Rue Ste Catherine, the longest pedestrian street in Europe, has many quick-serve restaurants and cafés. If you are in the mood for a treat, try a canelé, a small French pastry, flavored with rum and vanilla. We were lucky enough to have a shop near our boutique hotel in the city centre. In fact, we had a restaurant on one side, a wine store on the other and Canelés Baillardran beside that. France is more than just wine. Its history, its food and especially its people are what make the many great cities like Bordeaux, a great destination.


TOASTING THE ENEMY IN MENDOZA’S EL ENEMIGO WINERY by elsa dixon MEET EL ENEMIGO - THE ENEMY l Enemigo…. The Enemy? I could not wait to get to the bottom of this enigmatic name for a wine estate. As the export manager, Constanza, welcomed me into the colorful Casa Vigil Restaurant attached to the winery, she had an intriguing story to tell. Two friends, Adrianna Catena, a historian with a Ph.D. from Oxford, and Alejandro Vigil, one of Argentina’s most talented winemakers, shared a deep respect for history, tradition and literature, and the divine inspiration of art and nature.

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They were fascinated by Greek and Hellenic philosophy, and in particular, Dante’s Inferno and how people face struggles within themselves. Being romantics with an attitude of “irreverence towards the sta-


tus quo”, they decided to make a wine that would reflect the credo: “We are our own worst enemy”. Alejondro Vicon is the chief winemaker for Bodega Catena Zatapa, and partner of Adrianna Catena, the owner of El Enemigo wines. She is also the daughter of the renowned winemaker Nicolás Catena and owner of the great Bodega Catena Zapata wine empire. The project was launched in 2008 at Bodega Aleanna where Alejandro lives with his family. The label on the bottle is inspired by an allegorical picture on the front door of Alejandro’s grandmother’s house in Sienna, Italy: a lion with wings and a serpent’s tail, representing the struggle between good and evil. PROFILING THE SOIL There are three main wine valleys in the Mendoza region: Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, and Uco. Bodega Aleanna is situated in the high-altitude wine region of Maipu, between vineyard, olive, plum and peach plantations. Constanza explained that as well as expressing himself creatively through El Enemigo, Alejandro


consults and researches soils and microbial composition. Nearby, she showed me an excavation, clearly exhibiting the two layers of the soil profile: a top layer mostly composed by clay, sand and lime that was created after many summer storms during millions of years, and a second layer consisting of round rocks from the Mendoza river, remnants of more than 20 millions of years ago when this area was part of the Mendoza river, now located 500 meters south. The soil on a winery needs to be analyzed to determine the drainage and how much irrigation is needed. Mendoza is a desert region, getting less than 200mm rain per annum. Three factors namely, soil, altitude and temperature, affect the grapes, while individual regions give each one of the wines its own unique taste. THE DEVIL IN THE WINE? Our tour continued to a vineyard of Malbec grapes and three large outdoor cement vats acting as fermentation facilities. The vats remain closed and the temperature is controlled. As we walked through the winery, a huge recreation of The Judgment became visible on one outbuilding. A devilish angel welcomed us at the winery entrance to The Inferno, reminding one of the vi-

sions of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Works of art were displayed among the barrels. An old book combining a bookkeeping ledger and sketchbook with original drawings lay on the one table. A mosaic pathway led through a narrow hallway with stone-bedecked walls to an artwork portraying the Virgin of the Vineyards. Rounding a corner, we faced the devil grimacing in a blood red alcove, representing Purgatory. Through the open door, a single Cabernet Franc vine, the winery’s flagship, bushed lavishly, symbolizing life and beckoning us to the flight of stairs leading to heaven and solid ground. The combination of art and wine barrels in the cellar sets the stage, while the Dante theme provides a dark contrast to the bright décor, bonhomie and beautiful setting of the wine-tasting facilities. EL ENEMIGO LABELS Although the winery is avant-garde, the estate focuses on traditional winemaking techniques, the wines rely on historical blends and some of the oldest vineyard sites in the region supply the grapes. The winery produces just two wine labels: El Enemigo and Gran Enemigo. Fifty percent of the production is exported to 28 different countries, such as Denmark, Brazil, Peru and the United States. The El Enemigo range is largely devoted to varietal


wines made from Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Bonarda, and Chardonnay, in addition to a Syrah-Viognier blend. The high altitude and Mendoza’s soil quality has given the Cap Franc grape a black pepper and mint taste, launching a unique Cap Franc wine. Ordinarily, Cap Franc grapes have a bell pepper flavor and are used as a blending grape. The four Gran Enemigo wines produced at El Enemigo are from single vineyards: Agrelo from vineyards planted in clay-rich soils at low altitude in the Lujan de Cuyo valley, and three from the Uco Valley: Chacayes (Tunuyan), El Cepillo (San Carlos), and Gualtallery (Tupungato). The grapes for the acclaimed Gualtallary production are cultivated in limestone soils high (almost 5000 feet) above sea level. After a month of fermentation, the wine is moved to century-old wooden oak cauldrons, bottled and left for a minimum of three years before release. Wines mix 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% special Malbec obtained from a high-density vineyard with 12 000 plants per hectare. ALE, THE SOUL OF EL ENEMIGO According to Constanza, Mendoza is a very special place where winemakers are good friends who share ideas and are open to new suggestions. That very night El Enemigo was hosting a dinner

for more than twenty producers. Alejondro, popularly known as Ale, is a convivial host who loves to welcome visitors to his house, mingle with the guests, and join in with the wine-tasting events. He has gained an international reputation and through his slightly eccentric approach at El Enemigo, he once again pushes the boundaries of Argentinian winemaking and so, in line with El Enemigo’s philosophy, conquers ‘the enemy within oneself, that is, the fear of taking risks’. LOCATION El Enemigo Videla Aranda 7008 | Mendoza, Maipu 5586, Argentina Ph: (0261) 4139178 http://enemigowines.com/ Wine tasting and wine-tasting tours by appointment.


Après-ski in the Alps

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welcome wood fire burns in the hearth as we shake off the snow and enter Kaffee Klatsch Lounge. We wind our way through the tables in the Kaffee restaurant to the adjoining Sports Bar where festive strobe lights shimmer and strangers happily make room for us to join them. The air is thick with laughter and chatter (‘klatsch’), glasses clinking and music thumping. It is après-ski time in Klosters, Switzerland when winter sports fans flock from all over the world to this region. Kaffee Klatsch Lounge is conveniently situated right next to Gotschnabahn (Gotschna station) from where a cable car ferries skiers up the mountain. The Davos-Klosters region offers off-piste and touring conditions as well as long trails for cross-country skiers. As we settle down, snatches of different languages come floating through the air: at our table, there is a mixture of English, German, Dutch, and Afrikaans.


Dominique’s dream takes flight It is this cosmopolitan atmosphere that warms owner Dominique Maier’s heart: “It reminds me of the days when I was a flight attendant for Swiss Air. When customers stream in during the winter season, it is like being on the airplane again. I love working with people.” Dominique grew up in Zurich, but family holidays were spent in Klosters. She went on to study business and commerce and then worked as a flight attendant. After raising two children, she settled in Davos with her partner who was running the Bardill Sport store in nearby Klosters.

She always had a dream of doing something special in her life, somehow combining enterprise skills with social interaction. An opportunity came up when the restaurant bar, Mountain Lounge, next door to the Sport store became available and they turned it into Kaffee Klatsch Lounge. At the same time, they opened Kaffee Klatsch Easy in center


Klosters. Dominique is happy that the bar business could extend to include the coffee houses: “By chance, my dream came true. The Kaffee is my passion.” Après-ski in the Kaffee, Sports Bar, and Sun Terrace Kaffee Klatsch Lounge caters for diverse guests, local and foreign, young and old. In the more traditional ‘Kaffee section’ one can savor the famous hand-brewed coffees, fine choice teas, a variety of baked goods and wholesome meals made with fresh seasonal ingredients. The adjoining Sports Bar has two levels, each boasting a well-stocked bar. For the more discerning palate, wines include carefully selected labels such as a Swiss Malanser Pinot Blanc from the Graubunden district, Chardonnay from the prestigious Hess Collection Winery in California, Sauvignon from St Michael Winery in South Tyrol, bold red Primitivo from the well-established Italian Villa Santera and Tempranillo from the Finca Antigua winery near Cuenca in Spain. Some of the fun-loving signature cocktails offered are the rum-based Mystic tropical mango, Vodka based Moscow Mule, Basil Gin Smash, Corona Campari and of course, the vibrant après-ski drink Aperol Spritz, an aperitif consisting of Aperol, an orange-based liquor, prosecco, a splash of soda water, ice cubes and decorative slices of citrus fruit.


The Sun Terrace outside, overlooking the Landquart river, offers beautiful scenic views and one can watch the cable cars going up and down the snow-capped mountain. Cushions and cozy blankets are splashed around on the ample seating to ward off the cold. Of course, one could also warm up with the novelty drink advertised behind the bar: ‘Jägerbomb’, a mixture of Jägermeister and Red Bull. During the busy winter months, Kaffee Klatsch Lounge hums with activity and a DJ offers additional entertainment in the early evening. The Sports Bar is used regularly for private functions and New Year is celebrated with fireworks and enthusiastic dance parties. Klosters Alp-chic ambiance Combining a coffeehouse and a

bar is a challenge, but Dominique succeeds in keeping all of her customers happy. Depending on the season, she employs between 8 and 18 staff members, expecting them to work as a reliable team, and also to show initiative and flexibility. Since there are many international customers, her goal is to provide ‘State of the Art’ service comparable to anywhere else in the world, as well as add something ‘Klosters’ in the mix: “People come here for the surrounding mountains, snow, blue sky, pure air, quiet and a stress-free atmosphere. Our Klosters Alp-chic-ambience is known all over this region.” This ambiance is enhanced by Dominique’s eclectic interior decorating style and personal flair.


Go Visit Location: http://www.kaffeklatsch-klosters. ch/ Kaffee Klatsch Lounge (Directly next to Gotschna station) Gotschnastrasse 21, 7250 Klosters, Prättigau, Switzerland Tel +41 81 417 68 40 Opening times: November to April: Daily 8:30 am to 6 pm In summer: open Friday/Saturday/ Sunday Kaffee Klatsch Easy (In the heart of Klosters directly next to the Coop) Bahnhofstrasse 8, 7250 Klosters, Switzerland Tel +41 81 422 66 30 Opening times: Daily 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Beauty sleep: 2 weeks in April or May

During her travels, she brings back objects that ‘touched her heart’ and finds a special place for them in Kaffee Klatsch Lounge. Pre-Ski, Après-Ski or without Ski Although Klosters is renowned as the playground for royalty such as Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, it has retained its character as an unspoiled traditional village. Besides having a reputation as a premier winter sports destination, its location between mountains and lakes and its proximity to nearby towns allow visitors to enjoy many activities in the warm season. At this moment, however, we raise another glass to camaraderie and friendship during après-ski moments in the Sport Bar. Pre-Ski, Après-Ski or without Ski - Kaffee Klatsch Lounge is the place to be.


Gabriele Rausse Text and Photos By Cat Holladay


“In my opinion, when the country is populated in proportion to its extent, the best wine in the word will be made here.” – Philip Mazzei on Virginia, 1774

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n 1976, if you had asked anyone with even limited knowledge of wine Virginia would have been the last place you’d go for a good glass. In fact, even today despite award-winning vintages, the reputation of Virginia wine remains heavily overshadowed by larger regions. But that is finally about to change, and Italian-native Gabriele Rausse played a big part in what is ripe to become an American wine revolution. 40 years ago, Rausse came to the United States to conduct an experiment in Virginia. Fellow Italian Gianni Zonin, heir to a century-old wine enterprise in the Veneto region, acquired land in the rolling hills outside Charlottesville with the seemingly impossible expectation of creating a vineyard. Rausse was tapped to get Barboursville Vineyards off the ground and remains in the country to this day. Though he didn’t know it at the time and blushes at the moniker even now, this was only the beginning of the ventures leading to Rausse’s designation as the “Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry.”


Problems with Virginia wine from the beginning “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson Upon arrival, Zonin and Rausse discovered they could only have 100 acres of land upon which to plant their vineyard. This was a problem because they couldn’t plant what they wanted where they desired. Eager to do what they could, they purchased grafted vines, but lost 50% of them in the first season. Rausse, having a background in soil and plants, began grafting vines with the help of Italian grafter Elvio Fornasin. Meanwhile, the United States government received word of their planned experiment. At first, representatives mentioned that if the vineyard wanted support, it would grow vines for jelly. The second year, they tried to convince Barboursville that the future of Virginia was tobacco, not wine. But it was 1978 that Rausse remembers as the most pivotal. In a small lecture hall in Richmond, members of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech met with Rausse and told him to stop. They made it clear to Rausse that if he wanted their help and support, he would tell his boss that a vineyard was futile. These experts went on to explain – for six

and a half hours – that wine could not be made in Virginia. They confirmed it had never worked, that the winery would fail, and that he needed to stop. Rausse stood after their lecture and pleaded his case. “I am in the land of freedom,” he said. “I don’t bother anybody. I don’t see why I should not be allowed to continue with my experiment.” The authorities relented, and he received permission to continue with the caveat that the winery would not utilize any government subsidies or grants. Today, Barboursville is one of the area’s top wineries. Knowing Virginia soil proved fruitful “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Jefferson At Simeon Vineyards (now called Jefferson Vineyards), home to the very plot of land where Thomas Jefferson helped to start the first vineyard in Virginia, Rausse successfully grafted and planted several varietals on two vineyards in 1981, making wine 3 years later. In 1983, Rausse grafted Thomas Jefferson’s 1807


varietals for Monticello, planting them the following year. Again, he was told the experiment wouldn’t work. However, after being in Virginia for nearly a decade, Rausse knew the soil. He planted 15 varieties in areas on Monticello grounds he identified as perfect for the type. This expertise led to much success. “Even the most delicate grape can survive when it’s done right,” Rausse says. “Nothing in my life has ever been 100% successful…but I have yet to find a variety that fails in Virginia, if planted in the right spot.” From here, Rausse went on to assist other start up vineyards in the Charlottesville area, eventually starting his own winery. In the last 40 years, Rausse has helped more than 100 vineyards and wineries via consulting, grafting, planting, and winemaking. For an area boasting just over 200, he’s certainly been a huge influence. Ask anyone familiar with Virginia wine, and Rausse’s name is sure to come up. His pressure for quality has pushed winemakers to new heights, and it’s paying off.

What’s next for Gabriele Rausse? “It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson Rausse is now the director of gardens and grounds at Monticello. A salary cut from working for area


vineyards and wineries, he took it because he wanted tranquility. He loves his job and enjoys working the land, planting with historical accuracy at one of the world’s finest plantations. The history of the grounds and Thomas Jefferson himself call to him, along with the owners of vineyards and wineries when his expertise is needed. Jefferson never gave up, he says. And he sees that same tenacity in the area’s current population. He recognizes the commitment of many Virginia winemakers – those who focus on the wine – and looks forward to seeing where the industry goes next. “I can’t believe where we are with wine in Virginia,” Rausse says. This sentiment is shared by wine critics. Like the Virginia creeper vine, Virginia has quietly surpassed well-known regions and wineries in one taste-test

after another, covering thousands of bottles with well-deserved medals. All signs point to a continuance of this trend. In fact, the 2017 harvest was the best yet according to winemakers in the Charlottesville area. Expansion is on the horizon, and now is the time introduce yourself to the area’s vintages. Links: Gabriele Rausse Winery: http://www.gabrieleraussewinery.com/ Barboursville Vineyard: https://www.bbvwine.com/ Monticello Wine Trail: https://monticellowinetrail.com/ Monticello: http://home.monticello.org/


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The time is ripe for Virginia wine FOUR STOPS ON THE MONTICELLO WINE TRAIL Text and Photos By Cat Holladay


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riving through gently rolling hills, with the sun casting a golden hue over bales of hay in the valleys and row after row of grapes on dales, it’s easy to imagine you’re in Tuscany. But you’re not. In fact, this region is an ocean away in Charlottesville on Virginia’s premier wine trail. If you’re thinking, “I tried Virginia wine 10 years ago, there’s a reason I prefer a California label,” well, it’s time to try it again. Slowly and steadily rising among the ranks of award-winning wines, Virginia is making headlines and the time is ripe to find your new favorite vintage. The Charlottesville area – along the Blue Ridge Mountains – has quietly offered something for every palate for years. But it’s their 2017 harvest that has experts taking notice. And it may be the catalyst that puts Virginia wine on the map as a top destination.

In the fall of 2017, the area experienced a severe draught. Most of the time, area vineyards harvest their grapes a tad early due to rapidly-cooling temperatures and freezes. But a dry spell with milder temperatures, such as that of last fall, means a longer growing season. Vineyards left the grapes on the vine longer than usual, picking at the perfect point of ripeness. This atypical season has everyone from coast to coast waiting in eager anticipation, and Virginia stands ready for the attention. For a meaningful visit with standout wines, these four Monticello Wine Trail wineries must be on your itinerary. Each offer award-winning vintages, a gorgeous setting, and an experience you won’t forget – something akin to the Southern hospitality for which Virginia is known.


Loving Cup Vineyard and Winery Location: 3340 Sutherland Rd, North Garden Known For: Organic vineyard and winery. Tasting Fee: $5 “It all started with crabapples,” says Karl Hambsch, co-owner of Loving Cup. The father-son team didn’t set out to make wine. They were businessmen who owned a strip mall with a crabapple tree in the parking lot. For years, a woman picked the fruit annually. The symbiotic relationship worked perfectly. She got fruit and the Hambsch’s didn’t have to worry about cleaning the parking lot or damaged vehicles. One season, she didn’t come. Not one to let the crabapples go to waste, the pair decided to make wine with them and the rest is history. 2018 marks their seventh grape harvest and things couldn’t be better. The tasting room recently opened, overlooking the vineyard and family farm. With chairs outside for visitors overlooking the perfectly manicured logo on the sloping lawn – you’re sure to feel right at home. Try the Dudley Nose Rosé. Light, fresh and fruity – it’s the winery’s passion project. Each year, the Hambsch’s select a Dudley Nose dog from the Almost Home Pet Adoption Center, a local no-kill shelter, to honor on the label. $2.00 from every bottle sold is donated to the shelter.


Grace Estate Winery Location: 5273 Mount Juliet Farm, Crozet Known For: Old-world estate feel. Tasting Fee: $9

don’t let its size turn you away. A stop here is a wonderful and scenic location for a picnic lunch before, during, or after your tasting.

Family is the theme at Grace Estate Winery. The owner of the property traces his lineage back to 1040 and William the Conqueror. Set upon 52 acres of vines, the vineyard is large for Virginia standards. According to tasting room manager Ben Bangley, Grace Estate produces about 2,000 cases of their own wine annually. But

Slide up to the bar to begin your journey through the wines offered. Your host for the tasting walks you through each vintage with care. Known more for their mature reds, go rogue and sip the Le Gras Cuve. The vidal blanc and viognier (Virginia’s state grape) blend is a perfect complement to the muggy summer afternoons.


Stinson Vineyards Location: 4744 Sugar Hollow Road, Crozet Known For: Garagiste-style, small batch wines. Tasting Fee: $10 This boutique vineyard feels like sneaking out of the house to have a drink. And in a way, you are. Modeled after the French garagiste-style wineries, Stinson Vineyards houses its winery and tasting room just off the side of an historic home in a custom-redesigned garage. A true small-scale winery, this father-daughter establishment packs a punch. “We let the wine speak for itself,” says Rachel Stinson Vrooman, winemaker and director of operations for Stinson Vineyards. And it has a wonderful story to tell. Just eight years old now, the winery boasts several acclaimed awards and isn’t slowing down. With the 2017 harvest, Stinson Vineyards is ripe to top the charts with their creative vintages. “Because we’re smaller, we can experiment with small batches and that’s really exciting,” says Stinson. Try the Wildkat 2015, only available in the tasting room and direct from the vineyard. A Rkatsiteli orange wine, this interesting and intense skin-fermented white is not at all what you’d expect from a Virginia winery.


White Hall Vineyards Location: 5282 Sugar Ridge Road, White Hall Known For: Fruit forward richer taste than is typical of Virginia wines. Tasting Fee: $5-10 In 1992, Tony and Edie Champ bought the property and worked with Father of Modern Virginia Wine Gabriele Rausse to plant vines. Daughter and general manager Lisa Champ recalls selling the first vintage off the crush pad. “What set us apart initially was our production level,” says Champ. “We were producing 2,000 cases of chardonnay 17 years ago, while other vineyards produced 1,500-2,000 cases total.” With that production, White Hall could have simply churned and burned. But the family-run vineyard has

Getting Around While you can easily drive the Monticello Wine Trail on your own, to get the most out of your tasting experience, hire a private car through Cville Tours. The company also offers an array of wine tasting packages with special access to vintages and vintners typically unavailable to the public. Cville Tours offers 13 experiential tours and more than 85 activities throughout the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Their most recent addition is sure

a motto: “It’s all about the wine.” With a focus on quality, they continually strive to see what they can do to better themselves. Winemaker Brad McCarthy says, “Our vintages continue to get better as we learn more about how to grow grapes on the East coast.” With their signature style, atypical of Virginia wines – a fruit-forward richer taste – White Hall vintages leave an impression. Offering ten wines, no visitor leaves dissatisfied. The tasting room sits atop a crest - providing gorgeous views, mountain breezes, and a homey feel. For something different, try their Gewürztraminer 2014. Made in the Alsatian style, the hand-harvested vintage makes a delightful aperitif.

to garner attention: the Hop On Craft Beverage Tour. 14-passenger buses run on several circular routes, passing a total of 14 breweries, four distilleries, five cideries, and more than 30 wineries.


Best Bar or Tavern THE BEST OF LAKE GENEVA 2016

• DANCING • COCKTAILS • • SALADS • CHILI • SOUPS • • DELI SANDWICHES • • APPETIZERS • • “CHARBROILED BURGERS” • • UNIQUE SPORTS MEMORABILIA • • POOL • DARTS • GAMES • OPEN DAILY 10:30 A.M. ’TIL 2 A.M. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ’TIL 2:30 A.M. SERVING FOOD ’TIL MIDNIGHT 747 MAIN ST. | Lake geneva, WI | 262.248.6008

champslakegeneva.com /champssportsbarandgrill

Taste the Excellence at Lake Geneva’s Only Winery

Studio

Winery

401 Sheridan Springs Road, Lake Geneva, WI . 262-348-9100 . www.StudioWinery.com


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September 2018  

Texas Resorts, French Wine, and Bahama Island's Golf!

September 2018  

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