Raising a wine (or pint) glass to spring

Raising a wine (or pint) glass to spring

Spring’s sprung early everywhere this year and with the buds already breaking on the vines, wineries, breweries, and cideries are ramping up for the year with exciting events and happenings. Here are a few ways to get out this month to drink in the beauty of our backyard.

Easter weekend
Get closer to nature April 7 at Pollak Vineyards from 5-7pm, when Wildlife Center of Virginia president and co-founder Ed Clark brings his longest-standing winged ambassador, Junior the Golden Eagle, for a meet-and-greet in wine country. Tickets are $25 per person ($15 of which will be donated to the Wildlife Center, which, since its founding in 1982, has treated close to 60,000 animals) and will include a glass of Pollak wine and some nibbles. Call (540) 456-8844 to reserve your ticket and visitwildlifecenter. org for other Wings over Wine Country and Wings over Brewpub events.

On Sunday, April 8 from noon-3pm, enjoy a four-course, wine-paired Easter Sunday brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery for $65 per person (inclusive of gratuity). Call (540) 456-8000 ext. 108 for reservations.

Hump day fun
On Wednesday, April 12 from 6-8pm, head to Blenheim Vineyards to learn more about viognier, Virginia’s recently named state grape. Assistant winemaker Greg Hirson will discuss the history of viognier and then lead a tasting of examples from around the world to serve as comparison to Virginia’s style and expression of the grape. The class costs $35. Call 293-5366 for your reservation.

TJ’s birthday weekend
Celebrate the Prez’s 269th birthday a day late on Saturday, April 14 from 1-6pm at Jefferson Vineyards’ annual Meritage Vertical Tasting. Taste every vintage of Meritage it’s produced (that’ll be 10 this year) paired with hearty hors d’oeuvres while you chat with winemaker Andy Reagan about his blending and aging process. The event costs $40 per person and reservations are required. Call 977-3042 to secure your spot.

At Barboursville Vineyards on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 from 11am-4:30pm, sample the 2011 reds straight from the barrel for insight into winemaker Luca Paschina’s decisions on the oak and aging recipes for the valuable older vintages. Artisan cheeses from Caromont Farms and fresh-baked bread from Palladio Restaurant will keep your palate focused. The barrel-tasting costs $25 per person and does not require advanced notice.

Earth weekend
On Saturday, April 21 from 2-6pm, taste more than 90 wines from two dozen area vineyards at the first annual Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Wine Festival at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion. Live music, craft and food vendors, and 30-minute wine education sessions will keep everyone entertained. VIP tickets, which include parking, an early 1pm entry, lunch catered by C&O, a tasting glass, and time with participating winemakers, cost $75. General admission tickets purchased in advance are $29 and go up to $35 on the day. Buy a favorite bottle at the festival and bring it to dinner at Blue Light Grill, Cinema Taco, Mono Loco, Positively 4th Street, or Ten for a discounted $5 corkage fee.

Sunday brunch at Blue Mountain Brewery is always a treat (especially the Double H sausage gravy over buttermilk biscuits), but on April 22, the Nelson County brew pub’s offering $5 off every purchase of its 68-ounce growlers, which are better for the environment and for your fridge. From 2:30-5pm, listen to live bluegrass while you dine.

Earth Day’s as good a day as any to turn your focus from the wine to the vines and on April 22, Keswick Vineyards winemaker Stephen Barnard will lead walking tours through the vineyard (choose 11am-1pm or 2-4pm). The $50 cost ($40 for wine club members) includes a boxed lunch and glass or two of wine. Call 244-3341 for reservations.

Farm days
Get excited about the growing season on Saturday, April 28 from 11am-5pm when Foggy Ridge Cider hosts local growers from Fat Bear Farm to showcase its asparagus and fresh peas in two recipes that pair beautifully with Foggy Ridge’s range of ciders. The $8 cost includes some asparagus and early season greens to take home.