Episode 39: Lee Hartman, Bluestone Vineyard

Bluestone Vineyards
Courtesy: Bluestone Vineyard

We are exploring the Shenandoah Valley AVA on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. Central and Northern Virginia often get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to Virginia wine, but the Shenandoah Valley is also showing great promise for the fruit of the vine.

In fact, the Shenandoah Valley AVA is home to more than two dozen vineyards and wineries. Lee Hartman, the general manager and head winemaker for Bluestone Vineyard in Bridgewater joins me on the show this week.  Find out what makes this area so unique for viticulture. Plus, Lee is sharing his award-winning Chardonnay that was featured in the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup. Enjoy the show!

Visit Bluestone Vineyard

4828 Spring Creek Rd,
Bridgewater, VA 22812

Follow Bluestone Vineyard 


Episode 38: Jefferson Vineyards

Jefferson Vineyards
Chris Ritzcovan & Attila Woodward

We are going back to the beginning of Virginia viticulture to explore the history and legacy of Thomas Jefferson and Phillip Mazzei.  My guests this week are Attila Woodward, the co-owner of Jefferson Vineyards and Chris Ritzcovan, the winemaker at Jefferson.

The Woodward family has been at the helm of Jefferson Vineyards for three generations. Attila shares his family’s history, stewardship and preservation of the iconic property since the 1930’s. Attila and Chris share what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of Jefferson and Mazzei to create a new generation of viticulture in the heart of Virginia wine country. Plus, we are talking about Jefferson’s extensive wine portfolio, award-winning selections, 35 years of winemaking for the Woodward family and future plans for the new generation of leadership at the estate. Enjoy the show!

Visit Jefferson Vineyards

Award-Winning Wines
Courtesy: Jefferson Vineyards

Tasting Room Hours (As of April 1, 2017)

Daily: 11am-6pm
Tasting Fee: $12

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Episode 37: Katie DeSouza, Casanel Vineyards

Casanel Vineyards
Katie DeSouza
Katie DeSouza, Casanel Vineyards

We are exploring Casanel Vineyards & Winery in Loudon County, Virginia on this week’s edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. It’s a family owned and operated vineyard & winery in the heart of Leesburg in the Middleburg AVA.The winery opened for business in 2008 and specializes in small lot hand crafted wines.

Casanel winemaker Katie Desouza is my guest this week. From construction to agriculture, Katie will share her family’s journey into the Virginia winemaking business. As a young, talented female winemaker, Katie also discusses what it like to thrive as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

We also talk about Casanel’s vast portfolio including some unique selections such as Carménère that pays homage to her father’s roots and a classic Port offering. They are also committed to preserving the rich heritage of The Real American Grape by offering a Sparkling Norton. Many of the offerings are only available at the winery, so make sure to visit Katie soon! Listen in to hear my interview with the lovely Katie DeSouza.

Visit Casanel Vineyards & Winery 

17956 Canby Rd
Leesburg VA 20175

Tasting Room Hours

Thursday: 2pm-6pm
Friday-Monday: 11am-6pm
Tuesday & Wednesday: CLOSED

Follow Casanel Vineyards 

Episode 36: Monticello Wine Trail Festival Preview

Monticello Wine Trail Festival

The Monticello Wine Trail Festival has become the premiere spring wine event in Central Virginia. The festival features three fun-filled days of exploring the very best wine and food the region has to offer. From exclusive tours with the winemaker to a sparkling brunch and a grand tasting event, this festival offers something for everyone. Stephen Barnard, the winemaker from Keswick Vineyards, joins me in studio on this week’s edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country to talk about the festival. He’ll also share some of the history behind the Monticello Wine Trail.

Event Dates: April 13 – April 15, 2017

Participating Vineyards and Wineries
Afton Mountain Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, Blenheim Vineyards, Burnley Vineyards, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery, Chestnut Oak Vineyard, Delfosse Vineyards and Winery, Early Mountain Vineyards, First Colony Winery, Flying Fox Vineyard, Gabriele Rausse Winery, Glass House Winery, Grace Estate Winery, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, Kilaurwen Winery, King Family Vineyards, Loving Cup Vineyard and Winery, Michael Shaps Wineworks, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, Reynard Florence Vineyard, Stinson Vineyards, Stone Mountain Vineyards, Trump Winery, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, White Hall Vineyards, and Wisdom Oak Winery.

More Info: Monticello Wine Trail Festival

Episode 35: Jason Knight, Saudé Creek Vineyards

Saude Creek

We are taking the show on the road this week for a visit to Saudé Creek Vineyards in Lenexa, Virginia.   Saudi Creek is a member of Virginia’s Colonial Wine Trail which is also home to Williamsburg Winery, New Kent Winery and James River Cellars. The Colonial Wine Trail runs along the I-64 corridor east of Richmond.

The property is owned by John Britt and Jason Knight. Jason also serves as the winemaker for Saudé Creek. On the program Jason shares his vision for making wine in the Commonwealth. Currently, they are growing many varietals including Vidal Blanc, Traminette, Viognier, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot and Chambourcin. They are also sourcing grapes from other properties to add more diversity to their wine portfolio.

Like so many places in Virginia, this land has a lot of historical significance. Jason tells us about the connection between our first president George Washington and his property. Plus, we’ll taste his award winning Cabernet and discuss future plans for the vineyard and winery on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.

Visit Saudé Creek

6230 Cooks Mill Rd
Lanexa, VA

Tasting Room Hours:

Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat & Sun: 11am-6pm
Fri: 11am-9pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Episode 34: Patricia Hodson, The Retreat at Veritas

Retreat at Veritas
Retreat at Veritas
Patricia Hodson

Veritas Vineyards & Winery is a popular spot in the heart of Central Virginia wine country. The first vines were planted in 1999. Over the past two decades, the Hodson family has created a thriving businss and a cozy getaway for visitors near and far.

Veritas has a beautiful rustic tasting room complete with cozy leather sofas and a crackling fireplace. The award-winning wines and breathtaking views are the perfect respite from a long week. The property is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a vibrant wedding destination and they also host the very popular Starry, Starry nights summer concert series. But did you know that you can also enjoy a luxurious epicurean yoga retreat at Veritas?

To learn more about the other side of Veritas we are talking with Patricia Hodson all about The Retreat at Veritas and the importance of unplugging from all the distractions of life to nourish your mind, body and soul with yoga, hiking, award-winning wine and fabulous food.  


Episode 33: Joe Dombroski, New Kent Winery

New Kent Winery

On this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country, we are headed to the Colonial Virginia Wine Trail for an interviewNew Kent Winery
with Joe Dombroski at New Kent Winery in New Kent, Virginia.  If you are not familiar with New Kent, it’s one of the few vineyard properties southeast of Richmond. The Dombroski family purchased the property in 2014. They are producing some Virginia favorites like Vidal Blanc and many classics from Chardonnay and Merlot. The Dombroski’us are also pleased with their recent bottling of Norton (the real American grape), which they named For Pete’s Sake in memory of New Kent’s first owner.

Joe talks about his journey from law enforcement to winery owner. Plus, he shares his inspiration for getting into the business and future plans for New Kent and we are sampling the Norton  on the show.  It’s all hands on deck for the Dombroski family. Joe’s wife Jo Anna and their children play critical roles in the business. They also enjoy hosting wine dinners in the wine cellar and would love to welcome you the next time you are in the Colonial Williamsburg area. Enjoy the show!

A new episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country airs every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV. You can also stream the show nationwide on the Tune In app by searching for WCHV/

Visit New Kent Winery

8400 Old Church Road
New Kent, Virginia 23124
(804) 932-8240

Episode 32: Cathy Hughye, Enolytics

Cathy Hughye

Cathy Hughye Cathy Hughye, author and co-founder of Enolytics is my guest on Crystal Palate’s Wine Country this week. I caught up with Cathy at the 2017 U.S. Bev X in Washington D.C.,

Cathy was a featured speaker at this year’s conference hosting a discussion entitled, What Big Data Can Do For You. On the show, Cathy discusses the power and benefits of big data and how the beverage industry can better connect with key demographics by embracing enolytics.

She also shares some of the biggest trends regarding wine consumer behavior and sentiment and the new found importance of crowd-sourcing versus traditional critic reviews. Cathy also shares some of the most searched for wine regions in the world and discusses how American East Coast wines are stacking up to their global counterparts.


In addition to her role at Enolytics, Cathy is a contributor for Forbes and the author of Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass.  You can follow Cathy on Facebook and Twitter.


Episode 31: Andrew Hodson, Veritas Vineyards & Winery

Veritas Vineyard & Winery

Andrew Hodson, owner of Veritas Vineyards & Winery in Afton, Virginia joins me in studio for this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.

Andrew & Patricia Hodson opened the doors to Veritas nearly 20 years ago. The operation is truly a family affair with each one of their children playing a vital role in the business (Listen to my interview with their daughter and Veritas winemaker, Emily Pelton). Veritas is one of the most beautiful properties in the Commonwealth complete with more than fifty acres of vines, a tasting room nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a quaint Farmhouse Inn and will soon be home to a new wine school. The family patriarch Andrew Hodson earned his diploma certification with the Wine Spirit and Education Trust (WSET) and is now an Approved Programme Provider (APP) with the WSET. He plans on launching the school in 2018.

On the show, Andrew discuss the school, his favorite wines and how he made the leap from a pediatric neurologist in England to a  vineyard owner and winemaker in the heart of Virginia.


151 Veritas Lane
Afton, Virginia

Tasting Room Hours:

Monday-Friday 9:30-5:30
Saturday-Sunday 11:00-5:00
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day

Tasting fees are $10 per person

Episode 30: Jay Youmans MW, Virginia Governor’s Cup

Jay Youmans MW

Jay YoumansOur special guest today is Jay Youmans. Jay is a Master of Wine, Certified Wine Educator, Advanced Sommelier, owner of the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C., and the judging director for the Virginia Governor’s Cup.

The Virginia Governor’s Cup, now in its 35th year, is considered one of the most rigid wine competitions in the country. Nearly 500 Virginia wines were entered in the 2017 competition and 23 selections received gold medals. Jay talks about the rules of the competition, the judging panel and he’ll also share his thoughts on the growth and quality revolution of Virginia wine.

Jay is 21st American to achieve the prestigious Master of Wine title. He’ll discuss his wine education journey with us on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. Catch a new episode every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV and live stream the show by searching WCHV on the Tune In app.

Episode 29: Nicole Abiouness, Abiouness Wines

Abiouness Wines

On this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country, I am talking with Nicole Abiouness of Abiouness Wines. Nicole is a Virginia native turned California winemaker who is getting quite a reputation for her Pinot Noir. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to learn more about this elegant and seductive grape.

“When it’s great, Pinot Noir produces he most complex, hedonistic and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world…” Robert Parker

“..are sensous, often erotic, above rational discourse, and beyond measured criticism” Oz Clarke

“at their best, Pinot Noirs are the 3 most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic.”-Joel Fleischmann, Vanity Fair

“choke full of incredible texture and hedonistic pleasures”-Madeline Triffon MS

Nicole will talk about her Pinot portfolio and her passion for Burgundy. She will also tell us all about her winemaking journey that has taken her all around the world. She also dishes on the one wine in her line-up that her family won’t let her stop making. Enjoy the show!

Episode 28: Brad Hansen, Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery

Brad Hansen, Prince Michel

Brad Hansen, the winemaker and GM from Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery is joining me in studio this week. Pet Nat Prince Michel is located off Route 29 in Leon just south of Culpepper and they have been a mainstay on the Virginia wine scene since the early 80’s.

Brad is an esteemed winemaker compiling more than 400 award-winning wines  to his name over the past two decades. He’ll tell us all about the Prince Michel and Radian River collections. Prince Michel has plenty of offerings for just about every palate and price point. Plus, I am super excited because we are sampling one of Brad’s brand new releases – the Pét-Nat.

It’s an ancient technique that is making a big comeback. In fact Bon Appetit recently referred to Pét-Nat as Champagne’s cool kid sister.  Discover the charm of this unique bubbly with Brad Hansen on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.

Visit Prince Michel:

154 Winery Lane
Leon, VA 22725

Tasting Room Hours:
Sunday – Thursday 10am-6pm  
Friday & Saturday 10am-7pm


Episode 27: Norton, The Real American Grape


Norton Wine by Chrysalis We are taking the show on the road to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond this week to celebrate the legacy and cotributions of Dr. Daniel Norton and The Real American Grape.  This episode is all about the Norton grape and how many in Virginia are trying to preserve its rich history.

While Norton is hailed state grape of Missouri, its origins can be traced to Richmond and the innovation of Dr. Daniel Norton.  The Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery hosted a reception to honor the 175th anniversary of Dr. Norton’s death.  They will be erecting a new monument in his honor later this spring.

Dennis Horton of Horton Vineyards helped revive the beloved Norton grape with his bottling of Horton Norton.

Jennifer McCloud, owner of Chrysalis Vineyards has also fought valiantly to educate and inspire others about the Norton grape, in fact Chrysalis has the largest plantings of Norton worldwide. Learn more about the unique Norton grape by listening to my interview with Jennifer McCloud.


Episode 26: Stephanie Wright, Lovingston Winery

Lovingston Winery
Lovingston Winery
Lovingston Winery

Stephanie Wright, with Lovingston Winery stops by the studio for this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. The winery is located in Lovingston, Virginia. It’s a lovely 45 minute scenic drive south of Charlottesville. Stephanie discussed her family’s wine growing adventures in Georgia before they settled in Virginia wine country. We are also talking about Pinotage. It’s a grape variety we don’t see very often outside of South Africa. With so much talk about Bordeaux varieties thriving in Virginia, Stephanie shares their success secrets of growing this obscure wine variety in Virginia. The family bleeds orange & blue and they have a special wine that pays homage to UVA that’s perfect for a tailgate. Listen in to learn more.

Plus,  a little later in the show we are talking about D-Vine, “the keurig of wines.” Joe Thomas filed a special report from Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show about this new wine phenomenon and he’ll let us know when it will be available in the states.

Visit Lovingston Winery

885 Freshwater Cove Lane
Lovingston, VA 22949

Tasting Room Hours

January – March
Saturdays 11 to 5

April – November
Wed – Fri: 10 to 4
Sat & Sun: 11 to 5


Episode 25: #winestudio

Tina Morey

We are talking #winestudio on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. My guest this week is Tina Morey, a pastry chef turned sommelier who is changing the way people think about and consume wine.

#Winestudio is a twitter-based beverage education program that engages industry professionTina Morey #winestudio als, winemakers, bloggers and wine lovers from around the world. The interactive multi-week sessions explore the regions, cultures and cuisine and the role that all of these things play in creating a dynamic wine and food experience. It’s an opportunity to hear first-hand from winemakers and tastemakers.

On the show, Tina gives us a sneak peek at some of the exciting programs coming up in 2017 for #winestudio. We are also discussing the latest wine “trends” and the dangers behind falling into the trend trap. Remember what the movie Sideways did to Merlot sales? Listen below to hear our interview. Catch a new episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country every Saturday at 8:30am on Cville 107.5 & 1260 WCHV or stream nationwide by searching WCHV on the Tune In app.


If you would like to participate in #winestudio, follow the hashtag #winestudio 9pm EST Tuesdays on Twitter and join the conversation.