All in the family: The Smiths strike again!

A launch party for Monticello Wine Company, Afton Mountain Vineyards’ second label, takes place Thursday evening, January 16, at Champion Grill in Stonefield. Photo: Courtesy Monticello Wine Co. A launch party for Monticello Wine Company, Afton Mountain Vineyards’ second label, takes place Thursday evening, January 16, at Champion Grill in Stonefield. Photo: Courtesy Monticello Wine Co.

Afton Mountain Vineyards announced a second label this week: Monticello Wine Company. Founded as a winemaking cooperative in Charlottesville in 1873, the historic brand became the largest winery in the South before it shut down with the onset of Prohibition in Virginia, in 1916. Michael Macfarlan, the winemaker at Glass House Winery, and his brother, Luke, relaunched the brand in 2013, and Afton Mountain acquired rights to the name in 2019. Leading the current incarnation are Tyler and Andrew Greeley, daughter and son-in-law of Elizabeth and Tony Smith, who own Afton Mountain, where the Monticello wines will be made. A launch party takes place from 6-8pm on Thursday, January 16, at Champion Grill (which is owned by Tyler’s brother, Hunter Smith). The Shops at Stonefield,

We told ya so!

We shared back in November on our social media channels that Staunton’s Skipping Rock Beer Co. was in talks to take over the space vacated late last year by the Hardywood Pilot Brewery and Taproom on West Main Street. Skipping Rock made the news official last week, but has not announced an opening date.

All fired up

S’mores, grilled cheese from Kitchen Catering and Events, and wine. That’s the menu at Hark Vineyards in Earlysville, on Friday, January 24. From 5:30-8:30pm, visitors will chow down and warm up with a bonfire by the vines. 1465 Davis Shop Rd., Earlysville, 964-9463,

What would you do with $3 billion?

According to, that’s the amount of gift cards that go unused each year. An inaugural shopping holiday cleverly named National Use Your Gift Card Day takes place Saturday, January 18, reminding consumers to use those cards before they expire in a drawer somewhere.

Barracks bites

We were saddened by the recent exit of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza from the Barracks Road Shopping Center. It was a place of good cheer, great deals on local draft brews, and solid, moderately priced pizzas and salads. • Coming soon to Barracks Road: a fifth (count ’em, five!) Charlottesville location for Chick-fil-A (with a drive-thru) and the first local franchise of Mahana Fresh, a made-to-order bowl shop with a tropical vibe.

In other news…

Croby’s Urban Viddles, a family-owned restaurant on Mill Creek Drive, has been named No. 60 among Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2020. Yelp calls its selections “quirky, interesting and unique.” • Pantops has a new upscale-casual restaurant, Riverbirch, in the recently opened Shops at Riverside Village.

Green thumb not required

Everybody loves weeding, right? Well, here’s an opportunity for some next-level garden cleanup. From 8:30am-12:30pm on Saturday, January 25, join a platoon of volunteers at McIntire Botanical Garden to clear walking paths and hack back invasive plants. The goal is to make the 8.5-acre site viable for events and programs before multi-million dollar construction of the impressively designed MBG begins. BYO boots, work gloves, and safety glasses. Preregistration is highly encouraged. Visit

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