Tobias Beard



Part II: Here's looking at you, Chief

Part II: Here's looking at you, Chief

   “Never admit to a fact, never deny a rumor.” – Chief Gordon   Despite the fact that her history with Chief is ultimately painful and traumatic, Debbie Wyatt feels indebted to him for hiring her in 1978 straight out of UVA law school. Debbie remembers that Chief’s law partner, John Lowe, was against the […]

The (Mostly) True Story of Fellini's

The (Mostly) True Story of Fellini's

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. “Never admit to a fact, never deny a rumor.” – Chief Gordon   He was a big fish in a small pond, a lover and a libertine, a charmer and a cheat. He became a living legend and then a […]

How Patricia Kluge's vineyard reached beyond its means

How Patricia Kluge's vineyard reached beyond its means

In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, one character asks another how he went bankrupt. "Gradually," he says, "then suddenly."*  Kluge strolls the estate with her third husband, Bill Moses.  In 2002, the Kluge Estate New World Red entered the world in an ebony trimmed wooden box designed by David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a. Viscount Linley, son […]

There will be bacon

There will be bacon

Three lifeless pigs hang from six hooks in the walk-in fridge. Split in two, their bright skin is waxy white, traced with miniscule purple veins. A small, pink pearl sliding down one ankle is the only visible sign of blood. Each carcass shows outward evidence of the animal it once was: little pink toenails, traces […]

The devil went down to FloydFest

The devil went down to FloydFest

It’s so much easier being a hippy these days. Case in point: FloydFest, a four-day summer music festival held just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Floyd.  Instead of Woodstock’s food shortages of 40 years ago, FloydFesters face a stupefying abundance of choices: local, grass-fed burgers, tempeh reubens, Thai coconut curry and, yes, sushi. Some […]

Monticello naturalization ceremony was Tom x 2

Monticello naturalization ceremony was Tom x 2

Last Saturday, under a cloudless sky, Congressman Tom Perriello addressed new citizens and onlookers at the 47th Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony on July 4th at Monticello. Sixty-six people from 35 countries took the Oath of Citizenship, becoming Americans in front of roughly 1,800 family members, friends, and well-wishers.

Raising revenue, the “lifestyle” way

Times, as we are constantly reminded, are tough. The Senate is trying to figure out how to pay for the 50 million Americans who are without health insurance, which means somehow scraping together some $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. The good news is they have a plan. The bad news is the plan […]

Trainspotting in Dillwyn

Trainspotting in Dillwyn

Some people really love trains. Railfans they call themselves. Train buffs. What the railway workers sometimes derogatorily call foamers because they foam at the mouth when they see a train. Railfans wear t-shirts celebrating their favorite railroads, they construct elaborate model train universes in their basements, and they travel long distances just to watch the […]

What would Bukowski drink?

If the early part of this century was an economic drinking binge, then the past year has been the inevitable retching that follows. With the average American city reporting a 12 percent increase in homelessness between 2007 and 2008, and unemployment hitting a 16-year high, many wine lovers may be staring at a future as […]

Biodynamic vintages: Hard to swallow, or not?

Biodynamic vintages: Hard to swallow, or not?

How green do you want to be? If you’re a real eco-oenophile, then you need to check out biodynamic wine. Part plain ol’ organic-ness and part hippie-dippy magic, biodynamic farming is mocked by some for following moon phases and for its use of creative fertilization. Mockery aside, the crazy thing is that some of the […]

Virginia vino gets the documentary treatment

Virginia vino gets the documentary treatment

Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry is going to be immortalized on film, yes, but no one’s exactly sure when. Footage, lots of it, has been shot for a new feature-length documentary by Charlottesville-based Silverthorn Films, called, for lack of an official title, Virginia Wine. Although there’s no release date yet, Bill Reifenberger and his partners have […]

Petit Verdot is ready for its close-up

One of the favorite questions for Virginia wine aficionados to ponder is this: What is Virginia’s red grape? Having a single varietal that you can bottle and sell is vital in today’s wine market, and it sure helps if that grape is big, red, and easy for consumers to remember. See, for example, California Cabernet […]

Trying to rise in the ranks of worldwide tennis, dozens of professional athletes, including Carly Gullickson, descend on Boar’s Head

Trying to rise in the ranks of worldwide tennis, dozens of professional athletes, including Carly Gullickson, descend on Boar’s Head

Carly Gullickson, who at 22 is a 12-year veteran of the game, returns a ball during a marathon match against Lindsay Lee-Waters in the semifinals of the Boyd Tinsley Women’s $50,000 Pro Tennis Championships at Boar’s Head last weekend. Lee-Waters ultimately took the trophy, defeating Ekaterina Bychkova in the finals. Out on the clay courts […]

Jefferson Vineyards and Andy Reagan parted ways last week. Reagan is working on his own venture, to be called AJUDE Wine Company. Photo: Ashley Twiggs

Andy Reagan connects the Marines to fine red wine

On a grey day in February, when the weather is still cold, I think I see the future of Virginia Wine. Cigarette hanging from his mouth, he’s cooking me lunch, flipping steaks on the grill with his bare hands. Andy Reagan, the 32-year-old winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards, will later pour me his 2007 and 2008 […]

Crunching the numbers for Virginia wine

Crunching the numbers for Virginia wine

In January the Virginia Wine Marketing Office sent a survey to Virginia’s wineries to gauge how well the state’s industry is faring, and how good a job the VWMO is doing at selling it. “We hear a lot of things anecdotally throughout the year,” director Annette Boyd told me over the phone: “Sales are up, […]

The receding passion of the NASCAR fan

The receding passion of the NASCAR fan

"Some fans are completely uninhibited, they’ll do whatever the hell they want to have a good time,” Rusty Speidel says over the phone. “They get geared up, they tailgate their brains out, they take the extra time out to travel.” Speidel should know. He’s one of the guys behind Rowdy.com, a NASCAR fan site based […]

The nation that cried loup!

I have written before that the best way to start learning about wine is to read the words on the label—types of grape, place names, vintage. These words matter, which accounts for my annoyance when people refer to sparkling wines from Virginia or Spain as “Champagne” though Champagne is a region in France. But is […]

Miss Manners, students rail against the rude boys

It is time, America, to be more civil. This was the message handed down on Friday, March 20, in the Dome Room of the Rotunda. America is lacking in manners, and one dead president, one etiquette theorist, and well-mannered college students everywhere are going to do something about it. “Timely and important to society” is […]

Kirsty Harmon is Blenheim’s new winemaker

Kirsty Harmon is Blenheim’s new winemaker

Kirsty Harmon is pouring her new wines; “new,” as in recently finished and bottled, but also new in that they represent the rebirth of Blenheim Vineyards. The winery, owned by Dave Matthews and family, has been shaken up since parting ways with original winemaker Brad McCarthy. Since its inception the winery’s reputation has been based […]

Hitchhiker's guide to wine

Hitchhiker's guide to wine

Wine is a wholly remarkable substance and one of its primary wonders is its ability to transport you, via taste, to far off lands. I am, I admit, a chronic hitchhiker on the wine trail, never content to stay in one place. But it’s a great time to be traveling, as wine is cropping up […]