Wineries, Breweries Adapt to COVID October
It’s not quite business as usual at local wineries and breweries, as growers and brewers struggle with current conditions. Usually October is one of the busiest months for both: It’s traditionally Virginia Wine Month as well as the month for the Octoberfest beer celebration. October arrives this year with a scaled-down schedule but still some reasons to celebrate, despite pandemic restrictions and a disappointing grape harvest.
Pro Re Nata is celebrating its fifth anniversary all month. “The community has been amazing in its response,” said Jena Greer, who is acting as general manager through the COVID interim. More tables and chairs have been added outside, the Hops Kitchen has added some tailgate-style food for the weekends, and the college student patrons are cooperating with crowd numbers, masks and social distancing, for the most part, she said. The brewery will continue its very popular outdoor live music events. Best of all, she said, Pro Re Nata is back on its brewing schedule, which was disturbed by the pandemic restrictions; and is releasing three new beers. For information on the live music and the new beer releases, go to prnbrewery.com.
Devils Backbone Basecamp and Meadows has scheduled a walk-in music series for October 16, 17 and 18 at its base camp in Roseland. The event is outdoors and live, with tickets and more information available at dbbrewingcompany.com.
In Afton, Brewing Tree Beer Company was overwhelmed by the popularity of its lobster rolls and will offer them again on October 25, and on the last Sunday of each month thereafter. The Scratch Kitchen has baked Pumpkin Whoopie Pies just in time for fall, all to go with the rotating selection of beers offered. Find details at brewingtreebeer.com.
Blue Mountain Brewery’s brewmaster Taylor Smack held a German beer class in late September, and to continue the German theme, the Afton brewery offers live “oompah” music October 3 and 4. Everyone is invited to a family pumpkin party Oct. 20. Details at bluemountainbrewery.com.
Starr Hill continues to invite food trucks to pull up to the patio, and the popular Farmacy Food truck will be featured there on Friday, Oct. 9. The Crozet brewery is offering a “Teacher Appreciation Day” every Friday, has new merchandise available, and is all geared up for football season. To check other food truck appearances as scheduled, call 434-823-5671.
Wineries inherently have a great deal of outdoor space, and those wanting to gather safely have been flocking to their events. Paul Summers, the owner of Knights Gambit Winery, said that due to the late May frost, there hasn’t been much of a harvest, but people have enjoyed the “Sunset Saturdays” with food trucks and outdoor wine service. With cooler nights, he’s put out more heaters for those farthest from the fire pit, and plans to continue the outdoor event through October. Check wines and schedule at knightsgambitvineyard.com.
The weather has been great for polo at King Family Vineyards, and the “Wine Wednesdays” (which also have food trucks) and “Food Truck Fridays” (which also have wine) have been extremely popular. Food trucks also visit on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can check out the schedule, which rotates between popular local and regional mobile kitchens on the winery’s website, kingfamilyvineyards.com. The last polo match will likely be Oct. 4, but check to make sure.
Afton Mountain Vineyards has finished harvesting with Petit Verdot, and the patio, lawn and pavilion are open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. From the family vineyards of winemaker Damien Blanchon, the winery now offers Beaujolais-Villages from France in addition to their own wines. Call Afton Mountain Vineyards at 540-456-8667.
Pollak Vineyards offers reserved porch and patio seating or a private picnic in a scenic area Wednesday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. As with all the wineries, wines are also available for takeout. 540-456-8844.
Veritas has a number of options for outside picnics and dining, including seating under a tent, table service on the deck or inside from the vineyard’s restaurant, appropriately named Phase II, which is now open every day. Hours vary, and reservations are necessary for the restaurant, so call ahead, 540-456-8000. No reservations are needed for lawn seating.
Grace Estate has an innovative portable tasting flight that patrons can bring outside to a table, Wednesdays through Fridays. The patio has views, corn hole and picnic tables as well as cheeses and crackers available. Parties of six or more are asked to reserve, 434-823-1486.
Septenary Winery has a “Second Saturday” celebration planned. On October 10, the Crozet winery will tentatively feature live music by Two of Us from 3 to 5 p.m. and food truck Thrill of the Grill. Check for timing on the food truck: septenarywinery.com.
Urban Art Celebrated in Waynesboro
The colorful art on Waynesboro’s walls has made the city a destination for those interested in street art, a form that’s best viewed from afar, totally outdoors, and unlikely to draw a crowd at any one time. As we head into a pandemic autumn, the city celebrates the creative use of its buildings, both abandoned and in use. There’s an app for those wanting more details about each mural: Download “Traipse” from your app store for the Waynesboro Street Art Tour, with directions and descriptions.
Just as intriguing as seeing the giant works on old industrial and office buildings is watching the artists at work. That’s the inspiration behind the Virginia Street Art Festival 2020, the second of the annual festivals started by Ian MacRae, president and CEO of E-N Computers in Waynesboro.
The Waynesboro Family YMCA joins E-N this year as a sponsor, offering two walls for the artists: one facing South Wayne Ave to be painted by Nils Westergard, who painted the monumental girl with tulips on the old ice plant; another, facing Arch Avenue, to be painted by Julia Chon, who painted the wall west of the Wayne Theatre parking lot. Children will also be included in painting a community mural on a lower fenced area. All the murals will have as a theme the South River, just to the south of the YMCA.
The festival, October 11 at noon, will be in the corner lot of Arch and Wayne Avenues, adjacent to the Y’s main entrance. With social distance measures in place, the nationally recognized muralists will demonstrate the logistics as well as the creative process involved in their much-larger-than-life portraits and collages.
While the murals take shape above them, families who attend can pass the time with dance performances, children’s art, and family drum circles and, in the evening, food trucks, live music and beer.
General admission is free, but there’s a charge for the concert and beer garden seating. Reserve in advance by calling the Y at (540) 943-9622.
Virtual and Live Events for Crozet’s Second Saturdays
Crozet Artisan Depot, Two Owls Pottery and Sarah Tremaine Design will hold live events, while the Crozet Fall Arts and Crafts Festival and the Hamner Theater events will be virtual on October 10.
The Depot presents “From Richmond to the Blue Ridge: New Takes on Familiar Landscapes” by Sanjay Suchak, senior photographer for UVA. Suchak presents a show and sale of his independent work. The show focuses on photos of the region, some with aerial photography to capture familiar scenes in a unique perspective. Suchak will be at the Depot Oct. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m., and the show continues throughout the month.
Crafters take their wares online when the Crozet Fall Arts and Crafts Festival presents a virtual craft festival Saturday October 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival features virtual artist booths, live face-to-face chats with artists, an interactive livestream, and a silent auction. For full details visit www.crozetfestival.com/fall-2020-festival.
The Hamner Theater goes live at 5, presenting “Boomtown, a virtual Second Saturday Community Conversation,” written by Royal Shiree, and inspired by the Newtown community in the aftermath of the Greenwood chemical plant explosion. The show, first performed in August, has been reworked with new cast members and an additional piece. It can be viewed on the Hamner Theater Facebook page, followed by a facilitated conversation on Zoom afterwards. The focus of the event will be on the post-performance conversation. There is no charge, but donations to the Hamner Theater are welcome. See Why, page 6.
Fold, stitch and dye with Sarah Tremaine at a live Shibori workshop in the morning from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sunset Farm Studio. Shibori is a traditional Japanese dying technique that involves folding and stitching fabric before dying. Participants will try out several different stitch shibori methods on cotton and linen fabrics and learn how to dye with indigo. There is a $50 fee for the workshop. The workshop will be limited to 4 people to allow for social distancing. Sign up at sarahtremaine.com.
Meet artist Roslyn Nuesch at Two Owls Pottery, with pottery demonstrations throughout the day by this veteran Crozet potter, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A map to participating venues is available at: www.SecondSaturdayCrozet.com and more details can also be found by following Second Saturday Crozet on Facebook and Instagram.
Venues are all following Department of Health guidelines by limiting the number of people allowed inside each venue, and regular cleaning. Masks are required.
There are happenings in Waynesboro to fill the gap left by this year’s absence of the Virginia Fall Foliage art show. The city continues to present Apple Days, as it has for 45 years, and this year’s dates for the arts and crafts show at Willow Oaks Plaza are Saturday and Sunday, October 3 to 4, with downtown merchants also offering sidewalk sales Oct. 3.
Stone Soup Books, which operated a cafe and book store in Waynesboro before closing five years ago, has opened a new book store on Race Avenue, while continuing its online services.
Duners is now serving take-out, Thursday through Sunday. The popular Ivy restaurant posts menus daily on its website and Facebook page, with call-in orders 3:30 to 7:45 p.m., and pick up from 4:30 to 8:15 p.m. Future plans are to offer limited inside seating, and construction is underway for an outside dining area.
Megan Lipari is the new chef at Restoration Crozet in Old Trail, with responsibility for the restaurant as well as the banquet and catering operations for private events. Lipari has 13 years of experience, including working with former White House Chef Walter Scheib.
Fardowners has extended the outdoor dining season with a tent in The Square parking lot.
Sam’s Hot Dog Stand plans to open its dining room in early October, with safety protocols in place. The downtown Crozet restaurant promises some surprises for its patrons, and it continues to offer deck service and delivery.
Stuart Rifkin, one of the owners of The Ivy Roadhouse, told the Gazette that the opening date nears, but he can’t yet disclose any details about the operation of the long-awaited restaurant at Routes 240 and 250.