Category Archives: Wine

2017 Goals

No resolutions this year, just simple definable goals.

2017goalsHealth Goals:

  • Lose the last 20 pounds (be The Guy)
  • Keep my blood glucose within ADA ranges and work toward the lower ranges
  • Maintain a minimum of 150 active minutes a week

Creativity Goals:

  • Add six more songs to my guitar competence list
  • Finish a writing project
  • Create a minimum of one good photo a month

Activity Goals:

  • Bike the Cap2Cap from Richmond to Williamsburg
  • Explore the parks nearby
  • Log a minimum of 1000 miles on the bike

Fun Goals

  • Visit five more historical sites
  • Go to the beach at least twice
  • Visit 20 wineries

Real Life Goals:

  • Find a new job
  • Find a new church home
  • Get involved with community group(s)

All of these are doable, one (the 1,000 miles) is a real challenge.  But it will be a very good year if I can hit all of them.  Let’s see how we do.

Hoping that the new year is what each of us desire.


Filed under Creativity, Diabetes, Faith, Family, New Beginning, personal, Photo, RVA, Travel, Weight Loss, Wine, Writing

Enjoying Richmond – Some wineries

I started these posts as I explored the immediate Richmond area.  There’s still plenty to report and explore but I’m going to expand the actual search area.  One of the things that’s enjoyable about Richmond is that you’re so close to so many other cool areas.  So lots of potential discoveries.


The perfect hat for adventures!

Halloween weekend the lady of the house and I were bored.  To alleviate that boredom we decided to do some winery exploring.  There are few wineries in our immediate area but the real “mother lode” is to our west.  Charlottesville is only about an hour away and that puts you right into some interesting wine country.  So we pulled on our adventure hats and took off.

Should have checked the University of Virginia football schedule first.  Charlottesville was a bit of a zoo.  Just gave us an excuse to head out into the country faster.

We didn’t have a lot of time so we only hit two this time:

Pippin Hill Farm and Winery
– A stunningly beautiful location and a wonderful facility to go along with it.  The weather was just a touch cool that day so they had space heaters warming up the patio area.  With three tasting bars outside and the main one inside all going at once, so there wasn’t any wait or much crowding.  The staff person seemed pretty knowledgeable but was a little distracted since he was answering questions and issues with other staff people.  We tried their standard flight ($10/person) of four.  Their Chardonnay was very nice and a little oaky.  Probably my preferred upper limit on oakiness.  The Viognier was also nice.  For the reds we did the Merlot, the Cabernet Franc (one of my lady’s particular favorite grape varieties) and their Winemaker’s Select Red.  All very interesting, none that really took our breath away.  Certainly worth a second trip and little more extensive tasting.  They were set up for a wedding later that day and the backdrop was gorgeous.

The outdoor dining and tasting area at Pippin Hill

The outdoor dining and tasting area at Pippin Hill


Loving Cup Vineyard and Winery – Another gorgeous location not all that far from Pippin Hill but you have to drive back into the hills to get there.  Absolutely worth the drive.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect.  Loving Cup is an organic winery.  That could mean a lot of things, not all of them good.  What you discover is a winery very similar to the classic French château style.  Grapes grown there in a confined area (four acres) and fermented and bottled on the property as well.  They went organic for the simple reason that one of women in the family (it’s family owned and operated) was pregnant and they didn’t want to expose her to pesticides.  So they use naturally disease resistant grapes.  This means I was not getting the same flavor profiles I’m accustomed to tasting.  Turns out that’s a good thing.

This is a VERY small operation, so quantities of any given wine are small as well.  We had both reds and whites (both blends) that were very good.  They also have some very nice sweet reserves in both red and white.  We were very pleased with all of them.  The real surprise for me was a mulled wine they offered.  Using the Loving Cup Red along with their mulling spices, cranberry juice and orange juice concentrate they created a mulled wine that I actually liked!  That’s a first.

Because they’re so small you can’t guarantee what they may have at any moment.  What I will say is this – it’s well worth the drive and the exploration.  Really nice people, another incredible view, beautiful building for the tasting room and some very interesting wine.  My inner winery snob was very happy.

Loving Cup Winer

Loving Cup with the vineyard beyond. This doesn’t begin to give you the feel for the beauty here.

A good day of exploring!


Graphic courtesy of

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Life With a Good Head On It – beer blog #2

One of the new terms I need to learn is the IBU number for beer.  That stands for International Bittering Units.  It’s a scale to determine just that, the bitterness of the flavor of the beer.

Beer Steins

Bitterness is an integral part of the flavor of beer.  It’s also one of the first things that puts the new drinker off of drinking beer.  Out of that has arisen a variety of “light/lite” beers that are usually lower in alcohol (and therefore lower in calories) and inevitably lower in bitterness.  Think of them as beginner’s beers.  In the bad old days these would have been called “girl’s beers”.  I call them beer for people who don’t like beer.

At the same time, I am not a fan of the modern day rush to the top of the IBU scale (which is 100.  Theoretically it’s possible to exceed that number but why?).  It’s actually made a lot of the beer web sites less than useful.  Because so many of today’s afficianados only respect the more bitter flavors, more lightly hopped beers are consistently rated lower.  I won’t generally rate higher IBU beers (like an IPA) because I know I won’t like it and therefore can hardly give it a fair rating.

It always used to drive me crazy when certain consumer magazines would downgrade sports cars because they didn’t perform like family sedans.  It’s just idiotic and narrow minded.

I haven’t figured out where my tastes “top out” on the IBU scale.  That will be part of the fun of the exploration.

So here are my latest samples.  I’d try them all again with one exception.

  • Blue Mountain Lager – A Virginia beer to start. Generally a nice beer but it tasted a little sharp to me.  I would certainly give this another shot.  IBU is 22.
  • Shiner Bock –  this is a legendary Texas beer.  Don’t ask me to explain why.  You might as well drink water.  No flavor at all.  Beer for people who don’t like beer.  Never again.  IBU is listed as 13.  I don’t believe a word of it.  Gave it my wife and daughter (neither of whom like beer) and they both thought it was fine.  Seriously, no.
  • Steinlager Classic- A New Zealand beer and thier #1 export beer.  With great flavor, had it with a great burger and it was the perfect companion.  Enjoyed it a lot. IBU ~25
  • Legend Lager – another Virginia brewery.  Another beer that I enjoyed and would try again.  IBU 29
  • New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale – A Colorado brew but curiously ne of the first new beers I tried when I arrived in VA.  Hey, I was raiding a buddies frig, what can I say?  I’ve had several beers done in the tradition of Belgium and generally like them.  IBU 22

I’ve also had times when I routinely bought Foster’s and Red Stripe.

I also know that the hoppier beers don’t do much for me.  As popular as IPAs are these days I do not like them at all.  Hops up to a point is fine but only up to that point.  So this should be an interesting journey.

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Filed under personal, Wine