Loudoun's Wine Wednesday
Northern Virginia-Piedmont earn regional distinction
The Middleburg American Viticultural Area (AVA) was recognized in earnest March 26 with a celebration at Boxwood Winery featuring first lady of Virginia Maureen McDonnell and Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore.
For those unfamiliar, an AVA is a grape-growing region known for distinctive geographic features affecting the character and style of wine grown there. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau officially signed off on the local AVA in late 2012, roughly six years after the application was first submitted. Middleburg becomes the seventh AVA in the commonwealth and the first in Northern Virginia region.
The Middleburg AVA spans approximately 200-square-miles and stretches deep into Loudoun and Fauquier counties.
Boxwood Winery Executive Vice President Rachel Martin was an ardent lobbyist for the designation.
McDonnell, Johnson sign on as Epicurience co-chairs
And speaking of Virginia wine advocate Maureen McDonnell, the county's tourism arm Visit Loudoun has officially locked her and Sheila Johnson in as co-chairs for the inaugural “Epicurience” celebration coming Labor Day weekend.
As the Times-Mirror reported in February
, “Epicurience: An Epic Food and Wine Event” is a Visit Loudoun creation estimated to draw 10,000 attendees to various host locations. Morven Park will be the main tasting pavilion for the four-day fete.
Johnson is a revered businesswoman who owns Salamander Hospitality, the group opening the luxurious Salamander Resort in Middleburg later this year. It's anticipated the new Salamander will host an “Epicurience” affair.
"The vision and mission of Visit Loudoun includes the goal to elevate Loudoun to the status of becoming the premier East Coast wine region,” Patrick Kaler, president of Visit Loudoun, said in February.
Loudoun County Supervisors Geary Higgins and Janet Clarke will serve on the “Epicurience” steering committee, according to Visit Loudoun. The two elected officials voiced high marks – and high expectations – for the county's new and potentially signature event.
“Epicurience [a combination of 'epicurean' and 'experience'] Virginia is a landmark event highlighting the best of the county from Loudoun’s pastoral rural landscape to our exemplary food and wine industries. Without a doubt, it will put D.C.’s Wine Country on the map,” Higgins said.
“I am pleased with the excellent work Visit Loudoun has done in developing this new annual event that showcases some of the best of Loudoun,” Clarke noted.
“This event will be kicked-off at a beautiful, new, high-end resort in the Blue Ridge district, the Salamander Resort & Spa, and follow with events through Labor Day weekend at historic Morven Park and many other locations in western Loudoun.”
'Virginia Uncorked' at local restaurants
The Tuskie's Restaurant Group has launched a local wine promotion allowing patrons to savor their own bottle of Virginia wine with dinner or lunch corkage-fee free.
The only stipulation for the “Virginia Uncorked” promotion requires diners to present a same-day proof of purchase – a receipt will do – for the bottle they bring in.
Tuskie's restaurants include Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville, South Street Under in Leesburg (below Tuscarora Mill) and Fire Works pizza, which has locations in Leesburg and Arlington.
“We support the Virginia Wine makers and want to encourage folks to visit our state’s fine wineries, and taste and purchase these fine wines,” Tuskie's owner Kevin Malone said in a prepared statement.
Tuskie's restaurants will offer the promo for the foreseeable future.