The Rapp for March 14

Visiter le parc

There are so many international visitors among the 1.2 million people annually visiting Shenandoah National Park — a mere 69 miles from the nation’s capital — that the park’s iconic brochure, created in 1977 and still in use today, is now available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and of course the language you’re reading.

Soggy grapes

“It was the worst year I have ever seen in 33 years,” observes Virginia Tech viticulturist Tony Wolf, a Winchester-based professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

As in 2018 being the rainiest year on record for much of Virginia, Rappahannock County included. Few segments of the state’s economy suffered as much as grape growers and winemakers.

Wolf says rain, particularly in the 30 to 45 days before the normal harvest, tends to result in the absorption of water by the grapes. This causes a dilution of the sugar and flavor compounds in grapes, resulting in wines not having the “concentration” of aroma and flavor they would under drier conditions.

“Furthermore, red grapes . . . might not develop the skin color density that we would like for a deeply pigmented red wine,” he adds. “Finally, the persistent wetting of grapes and grapevines leads to increased disease pressure, particularly fungal diseases.”

Sperryville Rammy?

Presented annually by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, the 2019 RAMMY Awards — to be bestowed June 30th at a black-tie gala — will honor the exceptional ability and accomplishments of individuals and organizations in the region’s restaurants and foodservice community.

In the category of “Rising Culinary Star of the Year,” the ultimate award winner will be an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent and shows leadership and promise for the future.

And the finalists are?

Javier Fernandez, Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly; Adam Howard, Blue Duck Tavern; Daniela Moreira, Call Your Mother Deli and Timber Pizza Company; Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin; and last but certainly not least, Sperryville’s own John MacPherson of Three Blacksmiths!

Rappahannock hemp?

Representatives of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation report that interest in the hemp crop is widespread and growing, and they are fielding questions about its cultivation and marketing from local farmers.

“VDACS has issued 140 industrial hemp grower registrations and 30 industrial hemp processor registrations since July, and more than 250 grower applications are pending renewal or approval,” says Erin Williams, of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In fact, the second Industrial Hemp Summit took place right here in Virginia, on the heels of the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage lifting restrictions on growing hemp. The Danville summit drew more than 300 people from 18 states, Canada and Great Britain. Entrepreneurs, university researchers, farmers and other stakeholders discussed establishing a supply chain and building markets for hemp products such as food, paper, clothing, building materials and personal care products.

“It may also provide a way to engage young people with returning to the family farm,” noted Kimley Blanks, agriculture and development director for Halifax County.

Currently, the U.S. is largely dependent on hemp imports, mostly from Canada and China. Grown in the U.S. until the 1950s, hemp had been a significant agricultural crop since Colonial times, when it was grown for making ropes, fishing nets and canvas sails.

Lipbone to Hollow

Make plans now for Gid Brown Hollow’s Quièvremont Winery, Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m., for a special concert with the one and only Lipbone Redding.

The renowned Lipbone Redding is performing at Quièvremont Winery in Gid Brown Hollow on Friday, April 5. Courtesy photo

Lipbone Redding is described as an organic soundsman, crafting a talent that must be seen and heard to be believed. He has taken his singular vocal instrumental style to a new level by playing guitar and producing all of the instrument sounds while simultaneously singing and storytelling without the use of electronic effects nor a loop pedal.

Limited tickets are $20 and will go fast. Visit

Harvey hopping in

The hilarious and beloved comedy “Harvey” by Mary Chase is about a happy-go-lucky fellow (Elwood Dowd) and his imaginary friend Harvey — a six-foot tall white rabbit. Elwood introduces Harvey to everyone he meets. His family, embarrassed by his eccentric behavior, commits him to a sanitarium. There’s a comic mix up, and his sister is committed instead — as they say, hijinks ensue.

Rappahannock County Supervisor John Lesinski appears in the upcoming RAAC production of “Harvey.” Courtesy image

Directed by Patty Hardee, the play features John Lesinski and Maureen Day. Performances are Friday, March 29, 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 30, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 6, 8 p.m.; and Sunday April 7, 3 p.m. (matinee). RAAC Community Theatre is at 310 Gay Street, Washington. Reservations: or call 1-800-695-6075.

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