22 September 2015
The annual wine festival put on by the Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce has bounced around a bit since it got started five years ago.
The first two years it was at Zion Crossroads in front of what is now an automobile repair shop. The next year it moved to the pole barn at Pleasant Grove. But last year there was a scheduling conflict at the pole barn, explained Chamber President Scott Valentine, and the wine festival had to scoot up by the Pleasant Grove house.
But the new venue was such a hit, said Valentine, that the Chamber decided to embrace its new spot and go ahead and plan to have it there. The shade provided by the big trees around the house, the wide green lawn, and the fanciful stumps scattered about make for a pleasant spot to pull up a chair and sip a glass of wine.
So this Saturday (Sept. 26) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Chamber has invited any and all wine lovers to come to Pleasant Grove, try out some new wine varieties, and enjoy themselves.
Nine vineyards are coming this year, said Valentine, including Fluvanna’s own Thistle Gate Vineyard, and all of them are from around this area. For the price of admission, festival-goers will receive a wine glass and tastings of several varieties from each of the vineyards. “The goal of the wineries is obviously not only to promote their individual wines, but also to sell them,” said Valentine. “They’ll all have cases of the wine they bring for tasting. People can buy anything from a bottle to a case of that variety.”
“Getting ready for a wine festival takes some preparation,” said Leslie Cushnie of Thistle Gate Vineyard. “You have to select the wines you’re going to pour and get them all ready, plus get your volunteers ready. Often volunteers do the pouring. That’s always a fun thing – to include people who are customers, usually wine aficionados, who really enjoy coming out and talking with people about the wine.”
The wine festival also gives the vineyards a chance to connect with each other, said Cushnie. “It’s a fun camaraderie with the other vineyards,” she said. “We’re able to get to know each other a little better. It’s a very warm, happy wine festival – and it’s just the right size, where you can be with people and not feel like you’re in the midst of a big crowd.”