Month: May 2023

Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

An Introduction to Virginia’s Nebbiolo

By Matthew Fitzsimmons Few grapes are as synonymous with the region they come from as nebbiolo. Indigenous to the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, it’s the source of two of the world’s most famous (and expensive) wines; Barolo and Barbaresco. Powerfully tannic yet possessing delicate aromas and expressive fruit, wine critic Madeline Puckette famously quipped drinking nebbiolo was like “Getting kicked in the face by a ballerina”. Nebbiolo’s relationship with the mountainous Piedmont isn’t coincidental; even the name is a reference to its home. Many believe the word Nebbiolo comes from the Latin Nebula, which means ‘fog’ or ‘mist’. This fog inundates the region during harvest, helping regulate the temperature of the grapes. Such conditions contribute to nebbiolo’s reputation as a finicky, terroir-driven wine. Early budding yet late ripening, few places outside Piedmont are thought to have the near-goldilocks conditions to allow nebbiolo to mature to full ripeness. Its requirement for an especially long growing season gives many Virginia winegrowers pause when considering it for their vineyard, given the state’s erratic weather. So it’s somewhat surprising that nebbiolo is nevertheless gaining traction in Virginia. According to the 2021 Virginia Grape Report, 47 acres of nebbiolo are now grown in the state. While that’s nowhere near the acreage of Cabernet Franc or Chardonnay, neither is it an outlier found in only a handful of locations. A growing number of winegrowers seem to think nebbiolo is worth the investment. But why? Luca Paschina: The OG (Original Grower) of Virginia’s Nebbiolo Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards is probably the person most responsible for the grape’s introduction into Virginia. His love of nebbiolo is understandable. Not only is Luca a native of Piedmont, nebbiolo is the first wine he’s ever made. When asked to compare how the different growing conditions of Virginia and Piedmont impacts…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Why Young Savers Should Adopt a Long-Term Mindset

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Four key considerations could help young adults create a mindset to succeed with saving and investing for the future. Michelle Wan, Wells Fargo Investment Institute senior wealth investment solutions analyst, has met many younger clients who have had reservations about investing. “Young investors may find themselves delaying investing for retirement because it seems so far in the future. Alternatively, they may enjoy trading volatile investment instruments for rapid profits,” she says. “They don’t realize how important it is to methodically develop planning and investing goals at a young age. Time is a young saver’s greatest ally.” Here, Wan shares four key considerations for young savers when it comes to prioritizing long-term savings and investment plans. Adopt a planning mindset One key factor is having a planning mindset — a positive and proactive stance that could set savers on a path to positive financial outcomes. A planning mindset can provide a road map that can help strengthen a person’s financial future. Start with small changes Small changes in your financial behavior today could have a big impact on long-term success. Creating a budget, building healthy financial habits, and becoming more comfortable and familiar with investing could go a long way in contributing toward achieving long-term financial goals. Some practices to consider: Automatically transferring part of your income into a savings account or an investment account Paying down student loans to avoid late fees and damage to credit scores Begin saving and investing now Start saving for retirement as soon as you can. The sooner you start, the more time every dollar saved has the potential to grow. If dollars saved early in your working years generate investment gains year after year, they can have a much bigger impact on the size of your account balance…

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Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

“All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.”

By Timothy Long Did you know that? I didn’t. A trip to Cabo, Mexico last winter ended up not just being fun, but educational. Back in January, I wrote about finding a wonderful craft brewery in Cabo. I approached tasting the beer with much trepidation. But as I wrote in the article, “A Funny Thing Happened While in Cabo”, I was pleasantly surprised.  The beer was wonderful, and the trip to the brewery a fantastic experience.  I admonished myself for not being more open minded. Another tasting experience in Cabo was equally enjoyable, a tequila tasting. We participated in one at a bar at our resort. I approached this adventure with much enthusiasm. We were in Mexico. Why not learn more about tequila! Being a bourbon drinker, tequila has never been one of my first choices when it comes to cocktail hour. And to be honest, an experience with it in college caused me to not be able to drink, or even smell, it for years. That all changed over time. I’m wiser and have a much more refined palate now. God only knows what kind of rot gut tequila we college boys were drinking that night. My wife, brother-in-law, and I were seated at a circular outside bar that had a great view of the Gulf of California. Beautiful boats and birds were everywhere. People were water skiing and parasailing. In the distance, I noticed a spout of water shooting up by a cluster of boats. They were whale watching. Two humpback whales were within a few yards of their boats. I love whales. And you see plenty of them while in Cabo. I was so mesmerized that I almost missed the beginning of the bartender’s tequila lesson. He did a great job of explaining how tequila was produced….

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Catamarans and Cosmos, Sport Fish and Sazeracs, Boats and Booze

By Lani Gering You all are probably wondering what’s up with that headline besides being very creative J…I just wanted to get your attention since there are two “firsts” coming to the Harbor this month. The announcement of these events caught my attention since I have a keen interest in both. The Boat Show Being involved with an avid sailor who is always looking for the next bigger vessel, I am pretty psyched that the Inaugural DC Boat Show is coming to National Harbor! It will be here all weekend from the 5th to the 7th. May traditionally is the beginning of boating season in the DMV and this show comes in on the heels of the spring shows in Annapolis in April. At the time of this writing there should be 40 boat dealers who will be displaying over 300 boats on land and in water. Boat shows give you the opportunity to climb aboard a wide variety of vessels from sail to power (both pre-owned and new) and the chance to place an immediate sale or to order. Tour the boats,  grab food and drinks, listen to live music throughout the show, peruse the vendor tents  for the latest in boating gear, meet the experts, and commune with boaters from local  and far away harbors! The show will have a lot to offer in the way of entertainment with live music in three locations throughout the weekend. A beach party is scheduled for Saturday, the 6th where musician Shawn Owen will play off the back of a Lagoon Catamaran.  Bobby McKey’s Dueling Pianos will be performing in the afternoon in Spirit Park and more than 15 live musicians will perform throughout the weekend at various locations in the show! Pernod Ricard, the Official Spirits Sponsor, will be providing drinks from their vast portfolio…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Cheers to the Ladies!

By Doug Fabbioli We all have a mother…and while we are celebrating them on Mother’s Day, I thought I would muse a bit about the mothers and women in my life who have contributed in some way to help this wine business happen for us. First, I have to give credit to my own mother. She was never a drinker but she was certainly a foodie with a hypersensitive sense of taste and smell. I guess she’s where I get my palate. She referred to my first winery job in California as “working in the basement”—her expectations for me were a bit loftier. “No Mom, it’s a wine cellar.” As the years went by and we started our own venture here in Virginia, she clearly saw what we had achieved and the recognition we had received from the region. In the end, Mom was proud of her youngest. Certainly the mother of my children, my business partner, wife, and love of my life gets the most credit. She committed to working a steady day job so that I was able to break into and grow in the wine industry. We certainly encountered many challenges on our continuing journey (with four decades behind us now), but the one I remember the most was my abrupt transition to self-employment. In the spring of 2001 we were gearing up to plant our own vineyard on our property down the road from where I worked and we lived. I was terminated out of the blue and was left with no job, no home, and a large order of vines arriving that I needed to get in the ground and maintain. My immediate reaction was to cancel the vine order until our lives were on more stable ground. My wife’s words to me were “Don’t…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Cancer in Cats: A Cat Mom’s Story

By Cheryl Burns When your life path hasn’t involved children, Mother’s Day can feel like a reminder of something you didn’t do. But, while I know there’s an ineffable difference, I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as much like a mom as I did the day the veterinarian said “cancer.” This is my story; Smoky Tiggs Burns’s story. I’m not an expert, but I’m sharing these words with the hope that they help at least one pet parent feel less alone. Because, as I always knew but experiencing feline cancer confirmed, pets ARE family. Smoky was around 12 years old and had been with us for seven years when my husband noticed “bumps” on her neck. Although he was pretty sure they were new, he grabbed our second cat – we jokingly thanked her for being our “control group kitty” – to confirm it wasn’t normal. We got her to the vet that day. The bumps were swollen lymph nodes. The vet looked grim; while she needed to run some tests, it looked very much like lymphoma. They drained Smoky’s lungs, which were filled with fluid, and sent blood out for testing. Even before the results came back, the vet told us that Smoky wouldn’t have lasted the week if my husband hadn’t noticed the swelling and acted quickly. The first test confirmed cancer. The second classified it as large T-cell lymphoma. The vet was blunt, which we probably needed: it was the result they always hoped they wouldn’t get. It was a Thursday when we contacted a feline oncologist, and we felt lucky to get an appointment the following Wednesday. The gravity of the situation sunk in when our regular vet asked, “Can you get her in sooner?” We started Smoky on steroids and had her lungs cleared…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

A Rite of Spring – Pasta Primavera

By Charles Oppman Now that spring is in full swing we’re likely to see the seasonal springtime dish pasta primavera on Italian restaurant menus across America. It just makes sense―the word primavera means “spring” in Italian. But what is pasta primavera exactly, and what’s its culinary history? Let’s begin with the heart of the dish, the pasta. Long before they invented the mechanical clock, gunpowder and paper, the Chinese invented noodles, which would come to be called pasta, “dough” in Italian. Although the origin of pasta evokes much speculation, many historians credit the 13th century explorer, Marco Polo, with bringing pasta to Italy from China. During his 17 years in China the Venetian merchant probably dined with the likes of Kublai Khan, Polo must have sampled a variety of Asian pastas, which were generally made with rice flour or millet. The Chinese began using wheat for noodles about 3000 BC. The medieval Chinese didn’t eat dry strands of pasta like we do today. Instead they cooked fresh pasta. Pasta primavera is an Italian-American dish―created in New York City in the 1970s―consisting of pasta and fresh vegetables. There is no one recipe for this dish. It may contain almost any kind of vegetable, but cooks tend to stick to firm, crisp vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions and green, red or yellow bell peppers, with tomatoes. Pasta primavera is usually highlighted by light flavors, aromatic herbs and bright colors. A seasonal addition would be fresh asparagus, which is inexpensive and plentiful during the spring season. Chicken, sausage or seafood may be added, but the star of the dish is always the vegetables. A Classic primavera sauce is based on a soffritto (the Italian version of a French mirepoix) of garlic and olive oil, and finished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Making Every Minute Count

by Nicole Flannigan As a personal trainer and mother, I can appreciate being able to have an hour to myself to get in a good workout. This event rarely happens. It seems that by the time I actually have some time to spend on myself there is still a million things to get done. Exercise is always on my list of things to do for the day and I have found that the best way to fit it in is by doing a 15-20 minute workout at least twice a day. Fitting in a workout can be easier if you make it a part of your daily routine. I know this is easier said than done, but it is possible. Make your workout fun for you and for your kids. Try doing a workout video in the living room while your kids play. If they are old enough to move around have fun with them, you get your workout in and the kids get worn out too! When babies are too young to move on their own, it’s the best time to strap them in a stroller and go for a walk. If you are a runner, I highly recommend investing in a jogging stroller – it will make exercising fun and the jogging strollers fold up so you can take them just about everywhere. Exercising increases your metabolism, increases energy and will help you sleep better. You can complete an entire strength training routine in just under 20minutes using only your body weight.  The best part about body weight training is that you can do it anywhere! E: The following could be formatted independently from the text so it looks cooler. Total Body Strength Workout Warm-up: jumping jacks, walk in place for 1 minute Squat Jump -Stand with your…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Embracing Your Ageless Beauty

By Genevieve LeFranc As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright so deftly put it, “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” With Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to not only thank the women we love, but to also learn from them. Some of the best beauty advice comes from the women in our lives we respect and admire most for their inner and outer beauty. This month I reached out to beautiful women I know. I asked them to share their beauty knowledge and beauty tips, how they work with their different features and skin types, or a philosophy they swear by. These smart, savvy women tell us which products work for them, and the simple, seemingly obvious rules many of them live by. They represent different ages, races, and ethnicities across a wide beauty spectrum. From students and professionals to new moms and grandmothers, let’s join forces, share the girl power, and trade our tricks! Dolores M. – 56 On eye makeup and aging: Wearing eye makeup is getting more difficult as I age and wrinkles appear, especially around my eyes. Those fine little wrinkles are places where eye makeup settles and I end up looking like I’ve done a bad job applying eye shadow! As a result I am at the point where I just use mascara to enhance my eyes—rarely do I use eye shadow. Go-to product: I’ve used Oil of Olay (the original pink stuff) all my life and lately have been using their nighttime firming cream. Kyle A. – 20 Go-to product: My all-time favorite is Maybelline Falsies mascara. This little tube of magic makes my lashes fuller and longer. Who knew I could get million dollar lashes for less than 10 bucks! Favorite…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Living in 15-minute Increments

By Eileen Wacker I am the mother of four kids, aged 8 to 14 years old, and trying to launch a business.  I live life in 15-minute increments. Our house wakes up at 6:00 a.m. during the week. Getting everyone to eat something is a challenge so I let them eat whatever they want – leftover pasta, soup, mac and cheese, cereal, bagels, whatever. Then I either drive them to school, leaving at 6:45 or go to my office and start to work. I usually have appointments racked and stacked as I work with a team located across Korea, India, Vancouver, San Francisco, Mexico City and Honolulu. Today, I’m also trying to keep fish from dying. My son went to a birthday party and the party favor was a beta fish. I groaned when I saw it and secretly vowed to get even with the mom. Then my son named the fish Medallion because it was like gold to him. So, yesterday I went to the pet store to get some accommodations for Medallion and we left with six mollies and an aquarium.  Anyway, the six mollies are named – Blaze, Spike, Buster (girl), Anna, Crusoe, and Razor. This morning, I came upon our dog, Buster Brown, with the fish food container in his mouth. He had eaten nearly the whole can and I had to wrestle the container from him. Apparently, he had climbed up on the chair and snatched the food.  He was utterly remorseless standing there with fish flakes sticking all around his mouth. And he apparently scared a fish to death. Poor Spike met his demise. Buster Brown is also going to the vet today as his ears are infected and he has been chewing his paws. So now I add allergy medicine and pet hospital…

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