Grapevine & Vintner Profile

DUCARD VINEYARDS: One of Virginia’s Top Winery Destinations.

The scenic foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains in Madison County are home to DuCard Vineyards, a boutique winery that produces over a dozen varieties of elegant premium wines. DuCard is well on its way to becoming one on Virginia’s top winery destinations.

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Scott Elliff, DuCard owner, started the vineyard as a hobby 15 Grapevine - Oyster FestGrapevine 1years ago, planting seven acres of such noted varietals as Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Norton. He has since added Cabernet Sauvignon to the mix, as well as several acres locally with additional varietals including Chardonnay and Merlot. Elliff also brought on board Julien Durantie, formerly of Bordeaux, France, as DuCard’s vineyard manager and winemaker.


One of the admirable things about DuCard is the focus on green and sustainable principles. The tasting room floor and bar were constructed of reclaimed lumber from 100-year locally sourced barn wood, and the siding came from poplar trees eco-harvested on the property. The tasting room is powered by a bank of solar panels, making it Virginia’s first solar-powered winery. Also, the winery boasts its own artificial wetland system that filters wastewater to protect the environment. Composting, recycling, use of non-plastic picnic ware, lighter weight bottles, reduced use of chemical sprays and other practices all contribute to reducing the winery’s carbon footprint. It’s no wonder DuCard continues to win the Virginia Green Travel Star award as one of Virginia’s two “greenest” wineries.


In addition to breathtaking views and elegant wines, DuCard boasts a full calendar of special events. Among the many activities are music on the patio performed by a variety of area artists, a murder mystery dinner, a winemaker’s brunch, Wineappalooza Arts & Crafts, a music festival, cigar and wine pairings, vertical tastings, chocolate pairings and the popular Oyster Festival, coming up on September 26. Oysters are from the Rappahannock River Oyster Company and the music is by Kat and the Travelers.Grapevine 3


DuCard Vineyards’ food and wine pairing program has gained the attention of a number of top food and lifestyle bloggers, garnering rave reviews. A new event room and patio are popular for private functions and weddings.   Obviously, the winery is a busy place, but there are also plenty of quiet days just to relax, enjoy a bottle of wine on the patio, and experience the excellent service of the friendly staff.


As the saying goes, “Virginia is for wine lovers” and DuCard has some excellent wines to love.” They have won numerous awards, including doing oh-so-well in the Virginia Wine Summit competition where their 2010 Viognier was put up against a French Condrieu in a Virginia vs. the World competition. “We don’t like to brag about our awards,” says owner Scott Elliff, “because we think you should be the ultimate judge. Come out to DuCard Vineyards, taste our wines and judge for yourself.”


For additional information about DuCard Vineyards and a schedule of events, visit the website at



40 Gibson Hollow Lane

Etlan, VA 22719


Balsamic Glazed Salmon Fillets

Pair with DuCard Quaker Run Chardonnay

(Makes 6 servings)



6 (5 oz.) salmon fillets

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon white wine

1 tablespoon honey

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Coat a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook and stir garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Arrange salmon fillets on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with oregano.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Brush fillets with remaining glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil.

Grapevine Recipe  Salmon

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