Day: March 1, 2019

Business Profile

Dida’s Distillery – Pressed…Not Mashed!

By Bob Tagert Dida’s Distillery – Pressed…Not Mashed! As a number of Virginia wineries have sought ways to create new profit centers, some have turned to creating their own breweries while others have decided to put their grapes to use creating spirits and building a distillery. Rappahannock Cellars is one of those. This winery, opened in 2001, is one of Virginia’s top producers and award winners. Owner John Delmare brought his wine making skills from California as well as his young family. Those kids are now grown and son Allan proposed the idea of a distillery at Rappahannock Cellars. His dad backed him and in October of 2017, Dida’s Distillery open their doors. Unlike Allan’s mentor, Rick Wasmund, and his successful Copper Fox Distillery a few miles down the road in Sperryville, Didas’s spirits are made from grapes while Copper Fox is made from pot stilled grains. This gives Dida’s a distinct advantage…they are already producing grapes that serve as the spirit source that is pressed into intense wines and then small batch distilled in their custom 100 gallon stainless pot and column hybrid copper stills. This is why Dida’s says, their spirits are “Pressed, Not Mashed”. From their grapes they are making luxurious brandy, groundbreaking vodka and refreshing gin. Since the distillery is relatively new, the majority of the brandy now offered is of the “immature variety”. In order to have a mature brandy it must age in an oak barrel for at least two years. “We will be offering some classic mature brandies in the very near future,” Delmare tells me.  They do have a limited amount of mature brandy and when we tasted the brandies there is a marked difference between the immature and the mature. Although the immature brandy was very good, the mature brandy had…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Chelsea Dagger – We’ll Have Some Fun

By Ron Powers Chelsea Dagger – We’ll Have Some Fun In a world full of ulterior motives, fake news, and alternative facts, it’s refreshing to come across a straightforward rock and roll band. There’s something bracing about an artist that employs tried and true methods with a steady and knowing hand. That’s what I found in Chelsea Dagger’s new EP. With intelligent and simple arrangements that include classic chord progressions, buzzing lead guitar, rumbling bass lines, and cracking drums, Chelsea Dagger selects picture perfect tone, balance, and melody to make any rock fan happy. Simply letting songs speak for themselves is a quality not often found in today’s over polished music, but Chelsea Dagger achieves this with effortless style and taste. The first track on the EP is called “Somebody Told Me You’re A Mess”. It’s about a relationship gone bad. The lyrics are open to multiple interpretations, but I see them as the singer reflecting on the happy moments of a failed relationship with the knowledge that he would ultimately hurt the person he was with. On the chorus we hear… “Yeah we’ll have some fun but when it’s all done I’m gonna make you cry and when the day comes you’ll wish you had run I’m gonna make you cry” On their face the lyrics are a bit of a downer, but when coupled with a catchy melody and driving upbeat music “Somebody Told Me You’re A Mess” delivers an intriguing irony that rivets the listener’s attention. This is the type of song you know is going to be good the second it begins. Chelsea Dagger knows how to write a good hook. I found myself humming the melody when waking up in the morning and getting ready for work.  The verse to chorus movements are picture perfect…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Rites and Refusals

From the Bay by Molly Winans Rites and Refusals I refuse to burn my socks. It’s a quiet refusal. I’m not trying to mess up anyone’s rites of spring or to rally support for an anti-sock-burning movement. It seems to me that my quiet rebellion, exercising my right to just be me, is in the spirit of the season. I’m not the only sailor in Annapolis who will attend a sock-burning gathering for the vernal equinox and walk away still wearing socks. I’ve seen a few shamelessly sock-clad friends participate by pulling old socks out of a pocket and dropping them into the bonfire. As if removing and torching one’s footwear as a seasonal ritual isn’t quirky enough, imagine what the outside world would make of such cheating. As well as a fondness for the occasion, the sock-in-pocket crowd and I share a preference for warm feet on damp, chilly March days. Besides toasty toes, I have other reasons for clinging to my socks. I don’t have that many pairs. If I’m wearing them to a bonfire party, it’s likely that I consider them part of my sailing gear. I’m not trying to perpetuate the stereotypes of the frugal sailor or the starving writer. I can afford new socks, but I choose not to buy them often. Why? I’m not desperate yet. My feet are still warm. I have enough pairs of socks to get by—just not enough to sacrifice to the equinoctial gods for fun. I think a lot of sailors have this sort of attitude toward their gear. They hang on to it until it’s lost, destroyed, or so leaky that they suffer for one bitter day before throwing it away, if they can part with it. Imagine a sailor friend blowing out a toe in his old…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Mentoring Should Never Stop

By Doug Fabbioli Mentoring Should Never Stop When I look back at my career as a winemaker, I realize it started without a real mentor. I had a boss at the vineyard that overlooked one of the Finger Lakes so many years ago, but he was trying to figure out what he was doing as well. One of the reasons we moved to California was to hopefully find a position where I could learn winemaking while earning a paycheck. Leo Hummer ran the cellar at Buena Vista Winery. He took on the mentoring role without ever making it seem like work. My first harvest, I was one of 20 temporary workers hired to help turn those grapes into wine. I was fortunate enough to keep my job through the year and when my second harvest season came around, I was leading the night shift crew. I not only learned to be mentored, but I was then teaching others the skills that I had learned the year before. There are a number of winemaking education programs in the country, but none of that counts if you don’t have the experience. Cleaning tanks, connecting hoses, washing barrels, sorting grapes and using the forklift are all important skills that must be learned by doing. Mentoring is a practice of giving others an opportunity to make small mistakes in a way that they can learn, grow and improve. Once I learned the cellar operations, the work ethics, and fundamental pieces needed to get the grapes through the process and into the bottle, I was ready for another level. I was guided by our head winemaker to run the barrels program covering the fermentation and aging of 4000 barrels. This gave me plenty of responsibility, but I had the guidance I needed to keep me…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

Firsts and Lasts

By Peggie Arvidson Firsts and Lasts Firsts get a lot of attention, but lasts can sneak up and take your breath away. What is it about “Firsts” that grabs our attention? You know, “Aw, it’s our first holiday season with the new puppy!” kind of first. There are first kisses that get books and songs written and first days on new jobs and seeing our first byline in print. Firsts, are like springtime. They pop up and delight us with the scent of something fresh and green in the air. The sky seems bluer and less cloudy when we’re in the season of firsts. Getting to start over is a delightful part of being alive, isn’t it? I think that’s why we track our firsts from Instagram captures to Facebook stories, to good old scrapbook notes. Firsts, of course, are tied to beginnings. However, they are not tied to being a beginner. No one seems to like being a beginner. I had lunch the other day with a friend who was lamenting the fact that she’d never learned to play the piano and now that she’d inherited one, she really wished she could play. I looked up from my wilted arugula, “Why don’t you take lessons?” “Lessons!?” her eyes wide and a sheepish grin across her face, “I hate being a beginner.” That seems the general consensus about being a beginner these days, unless we’re tracking firsts. My friend is never going to play her first sonata and document it on social media if she doesn’t get started, right? After a year or so of firsts, you find yourself in the long slog of daily-ness. Unless you take off for a new destination or challenge yourself to have a new adventure regularly, you lull yourself into that long, hot summer…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On The Road

Lucia Coffey, soon to be Mrs. Chris Pearmund, relaxes near the beach at Placenia, Belize on a pre-honeymoon trial excursion.  This photo was very fittingly taken on Valentine’s Day. Along with this photo Chris muses, “Alexandria to Belize…the oceans connect but they are worlds apart.” Pearmund is the proprietor of Pearmund Cellars and managing partner of Effingham and Vint Hill Wineries in Northern Virginia. His wineries have been featured several times over the years in the Grapevine Column of the OTC.

Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Pets of the Month Cali, Spayed Female, Senior, Calico, Domestic Shorthair Cali will warm your heart and your home with her presence and affection.  She will be absolutely devoted to her humans, especially the ones who know where the treats are. This older calico girl needs a bit of extra attention and care from her humans. Cali is in diabetic remission and suffers from kidney disease. She needs daily under the skin fluids, which only take a few seconds to inject. She’s used to injections so doesn’t make a fuss about it. We’ll make sure you know exactly how to do this before you take her home. Cali is well worth the extra effort to keep her healthy. Once she gets past some initial shyness, gets used to her new home and humans, you’ll learn what a sweet and adorable girl she is! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of DeSilva Studios Emma, Spayed Female, Adult, Black and Tan, Doberman Pinscher Meet Emma, a well-mannered, darling lady! Her 2019 goal is to find a lovable new family. If she was a dessert, she would be a warm apple pie – comforting and sweet! Her perfect day would include indulging in a special treat or two and a calm, relaxing evening with her family. She’s a sensitive gal, and would love to be in a home that helps her connect with her inner zen. Once she gets to know you though, she’ll be your biggest cheerleader! If you’re looking for an intelligent and sweet companion, Emma is ready and waiting Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography Speedy, Female, Adult, Red Ear Slider When Speedy isn’t zooming around her tank, she spends her time basking under her heat lamp and playing with her toys!  A curious gal, she…

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History, History Column

Thomas & Parker Read Across America

Written by Parker A. Poodle ™ Copyright ©2019 Sarah Becker Thomas & Parker Read Across America “Books are boring,” the green frog said.  “Dude, books are fascinating,” the orange frog replied, “Especially this one.”  The frogs were discussing Newbury medalist Kwame Alexander’s Surf’s Up.  Read Across America Day is March 1st and I, Parker A. Poodle a Reading Education Assistance Dog encourage you to participate.  Did you know Thomas Jefferson—author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Minister to France, first Secretary of State, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia—was fascinated with books? “A world of knowledge was in his personal library,” children’s author Cheryl Harness wrote.  “During the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson heard that British troops…burned the Capitol and, with it the government’s library.  Thomas, who believed that only an educated people could fully take part in democracy offered his beloved collection [of 6,700 books] to the nation…The people got the beginning of the Library of Congress.” Cats read books.  Fish stories especially.  If you don’t believe me just ask children’s authors Curtis Manley and Kate Berube.  Together they wrote The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read.  I wonder if Nick and His Cats have read Dr. Seuss’ One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.  Or Vicki Myson’s Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story.         As of 1783 Thomas Jefferson arranged his Monticello library books into three main sections: History, Philosophy and Fine Arts.  His list was adapted: from the three categories English philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) referenced in The Advancement of Learning: Memory, Reason, and Imagination.  Whereas I, Parker poodle am property—a lap loving pet—Parker A. Poodle ™ is my mistress’ Imagination made real. Libraries are primarily for humans.  Poodles are admitted only by permission. …

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Your Estate Planning Checklist: 10 Documents to Get Started

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Your Estate Planning Checklist: 10 Documents to Get Started If you’ve been dragging your feet when it comes to estate planning, you aren’t alone. According to a 2017 survey by*, nearly six out of 10 American adults lack even basic estate-planning documents. Even if you’ve put some documents together, are you sure you have what you need? “Anyone who has assets needs to get organized and engage in estate planning for the benefit of those they leave behind,” says John F. Padberg, Planning & Life Events Specialist at Wells Fargo Advisors. “While each person has unique circumstances to plan for, there are some key documents that can form the foundation for most estate plans.” The 10 documents outlined here can serve as that base set. Six of the 10 are best kept as signed hard copies; the remaining four can be stored digitally (if you wish). Signed documents to safeguard as hard copies: 1. Will. This important set of instructions directs assets that you own individually (with no beneficiary designation), can designate a guardian for minors, and appoints an executor to administer your estate after you pass. You may opt to send copies to certain interested individuals, but keep the signed original in a secure place, like a safe deposit box, that’s known to people who will need access to it, such as an executor or close family members. 2. Power of attorney (POA) for financial matters. This POA names someone you trust as the person to help manage your financial affairs. It could be structured to become effective at the time you sign it or could be triggered to take effect upon becoming incapacitated. 3. Durable power of attorney for health care. This POA appoints an agent to make medical decisions for…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

New Orleans’ Po Boys

By Charles Oppman New Orleans’ Po Boys With Mardi Gras fast approaching in early March, we thought it only fitting to publish the recipe for a Nawlin’s favorite.  Every so often a marvelous dish is created, one that is so special, so memorable it becomes a classic. The famous New Orleans’ po boy is one such creation. But what is a po boy exactly? Let’s start with what it isn’t. It isn’t a hoagie, a sub or a grinder. Those are northern creations made with soft, gummy bread. Po boys are made with baguettes that have a crunchy crust and a soft, tender crumb. Po boys are uniquely New Orleans. They symbolize the city’s social and cultural heritage. Po boys have an interesting history. Bennie and Clovis Martin left their Raceland, Louisiana, home in Cajun country in the mid-1910s for New Orleans. Both worked as streetcar conductors until they opened Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant in the French Market in 1922. The years they had spent working as streetcar operators and members of the street railway employees’ union would eventually lead to their hole-in-the-wall coffee stand. The streetcar workers’ strike began on July1, 1929. It was a protracted and vicious labor dispute. The sympathetic Martins provided large French bread sandwiches to the strikers. Bennie Martin said, “We fed those men free of charge until the strike ended. Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, “Here comes another poor boy.” The name stuck, but was quickly shortened to “po boy.” Also called an “Oyster Loaf”, the oyster po boy is one of the most popular varieties of this legendary New Orleans’ sandwich. Po Boys can have a variety of fillings; seafood, roast beef, turkey, ham, chicken or egg salad…………….. My favorite is the…

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