Chester Gap column for Aug. 21

Rappahannock Cellars’ anniversary and awards

If you’ve visited Rappahannock Cellars lately, you may have noticed the construction underway in the back of the building. The long awaited unveiling takes place this weekend (Aug. 23-24), as part of the winery’s anniversary 13th celebration. This weekend, visitors can tour the new barrel room and sample some of the best wines Rappahannock County has to offer. The winery is open 11 to 5 Sunday through Friday, and 11 to 6 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the winery’s 2012 Cabernet Franc took home “Best in Class” at the 2014 Indiana International wine competition. The Indy wine competition has over 300 entries from 40 states and 15 countries. Rappahannock Cellars was awarded 20 medals in all, ranging from double gold to silver. Some (but not all) of the award-winning wines included the Chardonnay, Seyval, Rose, Noblesse Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage and Port.

Winning a medal at this competition is significant not only for those who make wine, but those who buy, write and recommend wine. Rappahannock Cellars’ wines also won medals in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition back in March. The 2012 Black Label Chardonnay and the 2012 Cabernet Franc (again) were awarded double gold, and six wines were awarded silver, including my personal favorite, the 2013 Chardonnay Viogner.

Virginia wines date back almost 400 years. The most famous winemaker in Virginia’s history is Thomas Jefferson. Though his vines did not survive due to disease, his vision of Virginia wine and what it could be are alive and thriving in the hillsides surrounding us. If you are looking for something to do this weekend and want to support the local wine economy, stop by Rappahannock Cellars, take a tour of their new facilities and sample some of best wine Virginia has to offer.