Month: September 2021

Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

From the Vine to the Vat

Exploring VA Wines By Doug Fabbioli From the Vine to the Vat The harvest season in the wine industry consumes time, energy and focus of the winemaker and the team in a way that is difficult to describe adequately. This process of crop preservation has happened since the beginning of agriculture and civilization. In a very short time, all the effort of the growing season is transferred from the vine to the vat. Hot days, rain storms, equipment malfunctions, exhausted staff, long days and nights, and critical decisions all add up to an opportunity to give the job everything you have and to set the bar for the quality of the vintage. I am deep in the middle of this annual event as I write this so you may see a different side of my thoughts.   The weather this season has been inconsistent: hot, cool, wet, dry. This means more challenges and transitions in the vineyard. I could have done better this year: being a little overextended kept me and the team a little behind this year, mainly when the weather shifted and I didn’t react quickly enough. With challenge comes opportunity, though, and I am very proud of how my staff has been working this year. We incorporated some of our Ag School students in with the regular team, which has worked out well. My regulars got a chance to teach and lead more as a result, and to work with people they were not used to working with. I also have had more opportunity to teach and nurture some fresh folks, as well as encourage seasoned team members stretching out of their comfort zone.   In addition to the harvest season, this is normally our busiest time in the tasting room. September and October have traditionally been…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

The Village Brauhaus – The Premier Place for Post Oktoberfest Feasting

By the Gastronomes The Village Brauhaus – The Premier Place for Post Oktoberfest Feasting If you read our newest column, Let’s Get Crafty, in the September issue you probably already have a pretty good idea of what Oktoberfest is. However, as a recap, it is tagged as the world’s largest Volksfest (folk festival). It is a 16-18 day festival running from mid-or late September to the first Sunday in October with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Here in Old Town Alexandria we have our own Oktoberfest headquarters at 710 King Street. The Village Brauhaus was opened three years ago by Bill and Chelsea Gross and it has been a hit since day one. Located at the east end of the block, Brauhaus is surrounded by Nando’s Peri Peri, Signature Thai, King’s Ransom, Five Guys, Pita House, Magnolias Restaurant, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub and the Light Horse Restaurant. The 700 Block – on its own – is a dining mecca. During the middle of Oktoberfest, we thought it a good time to visit Brauhaus and have dinner and join in the celebration. The physical area of the restaurant is actually the combination of two former popular restaurants that occupied the space several years ago. The result was a huge space with accommodations for large groups as well as secluded hideaways like the Paulaner Bar on the second floor. On this Monday night the place was very busy because of Oktoberfest, so we opted for a table in the bar area for our dinner. After ordering two small (16 0z) drafts of German beer we decided to start with the Giant Bavarian Pretzel. When they say GIANT, they are not kidding. The pretzel is at least an inch in…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

A Great Reason to Visit St. Barth in Early November

By Caribbean Journal Staff A Great Reason to Visit St. Barth in Early November Early November is one of the best times to visit the remarkable French Caribbean island of St Barth. You won’t find the crowds of December and January, but the villas, hotels, restaurants and hotspots are open. Here’s all you need to know about where to stay on the island – and here’s how to get there The weather is just about perfect, that unparalleled hybrid between summer heat and winter cool. But there’s one particularly great reason to visit St Barth in November: the Caribbean Rum Awards (, set for Nov. 2-7, 2021 in St Barth. Now in its fourth year, it’s an epic, week-long celebration of the greatest rums (and cigars) on earth, a gourmand’s delight that indulges in all of the things that make fine rum such a magical Caribbean product. While it’s anchored by a panel of international judges testing the world’s leading bottles of rum, this is an event that’s really designed for travelers — a way to journey the Caribbean by sampling its finest gastronomic export. Every day is filled with indulgent experiences — chances to try the rarest rum and rhum agricole; to explore the nexus between rum and cigars; and to embark on culinary odysseys in one of the world’s true culinary capitals. Just imagine yourself in your WIMCO villa, sipping on rare aged rhum from Martinique, peering out at the bustle of Gustavia or the placid waves of Grand Cul de Sac, followed by an evening at the Caribbean’s most legendary rum bar for rum and Davidoffs. Or imagine enjoying a multi-course pairing of molecular gastronomy and rum cocktails at the island’s buzzy eatery, the Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab. Whether you’re attending master classes from world-renowned rum companies…

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Business Profile

Get Fixed at The Physical Therapy Zone

By Bob Tagert Get Fixed at The Physical Therapy Zone Leading an active life can sometimes result in accidents where medical treatment is necessary and then physical therapy to return our bodies to the condition prior to the accident or incident. In 1968 I fractured my right femur in a motorcycle accident. I was six weeks in traction, six weeks in a body cast. The cast didn’t work so the doctors decided to insert a rod inside the femur and graft a portion of my hip bone around the break. When all of this was over, I could not have physical therapy to get my knee to bend more than 30 degrees for fear of causing a separation of the break. Over time the break healed, the rod was removed and I became active again even to the point of wrecking another motorcycle (only broke a tooth) and learning to play rugby. By constant use I achieved 90 degree movement over the next 50 years. Seven months ago I had my knee replaced. I was standing on the leg a day after surgery and even taking some steps. After the use of a walker for a few days, I was walking on my own but I had limited movement in the knee due to scar tissue. I needed physical therapy. Through therapy we got the knee to bend as much as 110 degrees and that is where it stands now. My therapy began in Calvert County near the hospital where I had the surgery but also near a friend’s house where I spent the first two weeks in rehabilitation. When I returned to Old Town I continued my therapy at The Physical Therapy Zone in Old Town. Dr. Lori Alexander began her career as a physical therapist working for the…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge


To the Blue Ridge By Julie Reardon FROM COW PATTIES TO HORSE APPLES Virginia Tech studies the ins and outs of pasture grazing at research farm in Middleburg From cow nutrition to diapered horses, Virginia Tech has quietly been conducting agricultural experiments in Middleburg for almost 75 years. Surrounded by some of the highest priced real estate in the area, the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center lies one mile south of the quaint town of Middleburg. It’s one of 13 agricultural research farms maintained by the cooperative extension program throughout the state. In 1949, the late local landowner and philantropist. Paul Mellon of Upperville, VA, made a gift of 420 acres of farmland to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University along with financial support to help establish the Virginia Forage Research Station. Mr. Mellon envisioned forage systems that would promote animal productivity and, at the same time, maintain the integrity and fertility of the soils and the livestock they supported. Research activities began in July 1949. For the first 40 years, research at the Virginia Forage Research Station focused on cattle nutrition derived from grazing Virginia pastures. Part of the charter of Virginia’s land grant universities Virginia Tech and Virginia State University tasks them with educating Virginians and helping them improve their lives by providing research based educational resources through a network of campuses, research farms and educators at county offices. Virginia Cooperative Extension is a product of cooperation among local, state, and federal governments in partnership with tens of thousands of citizens. Throughout the first 40 years of the Virginia Forage Research Station, the number of cattle farms decreased while the number of horses and horse farms in Northern Virginia steadily increased.  Mellon, a horseman as well as philanthropist, began discussions with a panel of distinguished scientists…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On The Road

One of the many Old Town Crier favorite traveling couples, Jeffrey and Joanne Fisher took their OTC on their latest trek through France. Jeffrey and Joanne in front of and about to ride the Giant Mechanical Elephant in Nantes and checking out the OTC while waiting in line. “You can ride an elephant in Nantes. Not a real one, mind. The forty-foot-high, moving, mechanical beast can carry forty-nine people, and is one of the city’s most famous attractions. The Grand Elephant, as it’s known, is one of several robotic animals who roam at the Machines De L’Île, a project founded by French artists François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, which opened in 2007 and occupies old shipyards. It has been significant in building Nantes’s contemporary cultural image. France’s sixth-largest city lacks Paris’s sophistication and Marseille’s edginess, but since the 1990s, a campaign for cultural regeneration has reimagined it as the seat of surrealism, proudly embracing the words of André Breton who famously declared the city a place “where I have the impression that something worthwhile may happen to me””   Jeffrey in their hotel room in Sete’, a maritime town in Southern France on the Mediterranean. “The town has a strong cultural identity. It has been the seat of Provencal jousting using boats for over 500 years. Each boat has 8 or 10 oarsmen, a couple of musicians aft, a a few jousters on the prow, waiting to take turns. On each pass of the boats past each other, the jouster on the prow tries to knock the other jouster into the water. You root for the red team or the blue team.  Over years the town has had to reinvent itself economically. Now, there are oyster beds and deep sea commercial fishing mostly for tuna.” Many thanks to Jeffrey for providing such informative captions….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Rethink Your Exercise

Rethink Your Exercise We all have mental hurdles that we need to jump before getting into workout mode. For some of us it’s just getting up and out of bed and making it to the gym first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s the end of the day exhaustion that you have to convince yourself will go away once you get on the elliptical. Whichever problem you may be having here are a few ways to rethink a pre-workout hesitation. Don’t think: “The scale doesn’t budge, why bother working out” Do think: “Keep up the good work and it will pay off” Stick with the scale: Love it and you’ll probably lose pounds. In a study at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, of 3,026 adults who were watching their waistlines, those who weighed themselves more frequently lost more weight over two years or regained fewer pounds. Plateaus are part of the process, Stay motivated in the meantime by giving yourself credit for how much better your clothes fit and for improving your overall health. Fix the problem by changing up your routine. As your metabolism changes to accommodate your smaller size, you are going to have to change what you’re doing to keep your body responding and shedding fat.  If you’re eating light already (around 1,500 calories a day), don’t cut back more; turn up the intensity and/or increase the length of your workout session a smidge. This will not only burn more calories but also increase your cardio capacity, meaning that everything feels easier to do, so you can keep exercising. Crank the resistance on your stationary bike, push the pace of your walk or run for one-minute intervals, or add step-ups or jumping jacks between sets of toning moves: The cardio-strength mix of circuit training burns 512…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm

By Bob Tagert Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm This month’s Road Trip was a first….we invited guests to join us for a two night stay at The Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm in Bentonville, Virginia. The Todhunter’s and the Condon’s were the perfect pals to extend the invitation to. Lots of good eats, drinks and laughs! Bentonville is halfway between Luray and Front Royal along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The Lodge is a magnificent five-story escape nestled on 64-acres along a bend in the river. There is more to this property than a getaway, it was formerly the home of Tom and Bettina, a couple who started out in the cabin up the hill where their love story began and the concept for the Lodge was born. As I write about our adventure I will write some excerpts from a book we found at the property called The River Oak Suite by Tom and Bettina’s friend, Tony Baker. The excerpts will tell the story from the beginning. “For years and years, in the minds of those who were privileged to visit there, River Oak was the small hunting cabin, which sits high on a hill above a wide turn in the Shenandoah and the lovely river meadow that runs alongside it. But always the plan had been to build a big fine house, just down the hill from the cabin. In May 2010, we few friends met at River Oak to celebrate the opening of this new house. On the river side of the house rises a fifth-story enclosed tower, which Tom and Bettina dubbed the Skybox. It would be, for the short time left him, the place where Tom would take Bettina and the dogs of an evening to drink wine, watch families of deer emerge…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

4th Annual Caribbean Rum Awards

4th Annual Caribbean Rum Awards When: November 2nd through 7th Where: Rhum Room in St. Barth Contact Info: Presented in conjunction with the St. Barth Rum Festival, this competition of a blind-tasting of the most elite field of rums of any festival on the planet is sponsored by WIMCO Villas, Tradewind Aviation and Accutron. “We’re so excited to be back for another edition of the Caribbean Rum Awards, following what was one of the world’s only in-person rum events last year,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards. “This year’s event has an exciting lineup of some of the world’s leading rum producers. If you love fine rum, this is an event not to be missed.”

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Back to Exercise Reality!

From the Trainer By Ryan Unverzagt Back to Exercise Reality! Today’s lifestyle seems busier than it was this time last year now that we are able to return to work, are taking our kids to school and headed to many activities we couldn’t participate in last year due to the pandemic. You might find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough time to exercise.” But the reality is everyone has 24 hours in a day, and it’s just a matter of prioritizing your schedule to fit in some daily exercise. I know that getting to the health club is half the battle, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what to do when you finally get there? As a result, you need to find ways to help maximize your time at the gym. There are a few ideas I would like to share to help get you going. Develop a plan of action: Your individual goals will determine a plan of action. Since the majority of us are seeking to lose weight, try to burn at least 500 calories per day through cardiovascular exercise (i.e. treadmill, bike, rower, or elliptical machine) at least five days a week. Two of those days, you should add 10 to 12 resistance training exercises that work the entire body. Perform two sets of 15 to 20 repetitions for each exercise. This will help increase your total energy expenditure. Superset your exercises: Pair up two exercises that work opposing muscle groups. Perform these back-to-back without rest in between. For example, the bench press could be followed by lat pull-down. By doing this, your chest and triceps (bench press) will be getting a break while you’re working your back and biceps (lat pull-down). This will eliminate the time spent resting between sets that work the same muscle…

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