Tobias Beard



Polo is my life

Polo is my life

Crozet is gettin’ right fancy these days. A few years ago, the town was crawling with movie stars, and now the urban sprawl is getting so bad, it won’t be long before it’s all freeways, road rage, and smog-enhanced sunsets. With at least four wineries in the immediate vicinity, the Californication of Crozet seems to […]

Wine before milk

Wine before milk

Bartholomew Broadbent’s father, Michael, is considered the world’s foremost authority on old wines, and as founder (in 1966) of the wine department at London auction house Christie’s, he’s probably seen more old and rare wine than almost anyone alive. As one might expect, Bartholomew Broadbent was introduced to wine at an early age, but just […]

End of an era

End of an era

Felicia Warburg Rogan, founder of Oakencroft Vineyard and Winery, is one of a handful of people who can rightfully be said to have helped create the Virginia Wine industry.

Capitalist fools

Capitalist fools

Fake wine is all the rage lately. In April of this year, 22 bottles from top Burgundy producer, Domaine Ponsot, appeared for sale at a Manhattan auction with a hoped-for price of $603,000. But the wines were withdrawn when the winery owner, Laurent Ponsot, pointed out that several of the bottles were dated up to […]

No Spoof for you!

No Spoof for you!

The bed was an island in a sea of open wine bottles and sloshing spit buckets crowded into a room in a modernist high rise in Paris. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and outside, tout le Paris seemed to be enjoying the weather. Inside, however, three Virginians were following their dream, a dream that […]

Mourning wood

Mourning wood

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah.” That’s Mike Panczak, the winemaker at White Hall Vineyards when I ask him if he’s paying more these days for the oak barrels he uses to age his wines. Barrels that used to cost $700 or $800 each are now at about $1,000, he tells me. I put the same question […]

Get on the bus

Get on the bus

The bus is 45 minutes late picking me up due to the ladies on board needing Starbucks, but I don’t mind. The Washington Wine Academy and Reston Limousine have started bringing groups from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville to tour wine country, and intrigued by reports of Long Island wine tours gone mad (drunken bachelorette parties! […]

Cue Lionel Ritchie

Cue Lionel Ritchie

As this year’s All Night Long after-prom party begins at midnight, music pounds throughout U-Hall, which feels empty despite the hundreds of kids from Western Albemarle, Albemarle, Charlottesville and Monticello highs

Former addict gets Cavalier encore

Former addict gets Cavalier encore

He hadn’t received this much applause from a UVA crowd in 34 years, and hadn’t had this much attention “since the police in the Bahamas weren’t real thrilled about me trying to bring marijuana into their country.” In those 34 years, he went from being a basketball star to being practically homeless, from being a […]

A Clockwork Grape

A Clockwork Grape

Making wine is incredibly scientific and complicated, yet its marketing still emphasizes the pastoral. The country estate, the family dog, the dirty hands and worn Barbour jacket; it’s farming as reimagined by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The truth is that today’s winemakers might just as easily wear lab coats as Carhartts. The head-on collision between nature […]

The pursuit of happiness   

The pursuit of happiness   

A 46-year-old Thomas Jefferson seemed different when he returned to America after five years in France, stepping off the boat wearing “silk suits, ruffles, and an unusual topaz ring.” In Paris, living, as Patrick Henry put it, “in splendor and dissipation,” our man TJ really came into his own. Reading John Hailman’s 2006 book, Thomas […]

Judge not!

Judge not!

The eight judges arrived at Keswick Hall at 9am on a beautiful day last week and, except for lunch and two small breaks, didn’t stop tasting wine until around 3:40pm. This year’s Monticello Wine Cup competition featured 95 wines—soon to adorn tasting rooms and be bragged about in newsletters—from the Monticello AVA (the American Viticultural […]

The Vine Whisperer

The Vine Whisperer

Grapevines are everywhere Chris Hill goes. The first thing he says, standing tall and white-haired beneath the great terraced slopes of Delfosse Vineyards, wearing a Virginia Tech hat and aviator sunglasses, is “Are you familiar with how a grapevine grows, Toby?” Not really, and so at 9am on a chilly February morning, one of Virginia’s […]

In the name of God, leave salvia alone!

In the name of God, leave salvia alone!

More features: Up in smoke Practically unknown, salvia will soon become the latest casualty in the War on Drugs Salvia 101 What is it? It might be legal, but there’s still a stigmaA high school newspaper censors a student journalists attempt to write about salvia use John Whitehead says that bills like HB21, Del. John […]

“It’s called ‘Chateau Whatever’”

“It’s called ‘Chateau Whatever’”

People often ask me how they can learn about wine. They usually do so nervously and with some self-deprecation, as if they believe there’s a secret door behind which we wine experts meet to sniff corks and wave monogrammed hankies at each other. That belief is, of course, entirely correct. “Filthy peasants,” I think, as […]

Up in smoke

Up in smoke

More features: Salvia 101 What is it? It might be legal, but there’s still a stigmaA high school newspaper censors a student journalists attempt to write about salvia use In the name of God, leave salvia alone!The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead weighs in I am still unable to comprehend that the drug has taken hold. […]

Salvia 101

Salvia 101

More features: Up in smoke Practically unknown, salvia will soon become the latest casualty in the War on Drugs It might be legal, but there’s still a stigmaA high school newspaper censors a student journalists attempt to write about salvia use In the name of God, leave salvia alone!The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead weighs in […]