Virginia Wine, Oh-So Fine

“…wine [is] a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”
Benjamin Franklin, The Posthumous and Other Writings of Benjamin Franklin … Volume 1 of 2

When I’m not immersed in politics, I enjoy what my adopted home state has to offer.

Apart from being a gateway to Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia has a lot of great places to visit and things to do. (Yes, there’s a world beyond the concrete jungle.) That’s why I decided to venture out to Wine Country this past weekend.

One of the Commonwealth’s best hidden secrets is Wine Country. (Disclaimer: I’m not a wine expert; I’m just a connoisseur. All subsequent thoughts are purely subjective.) This was my third time visiting vineyards in Virginia. Since moving to Virginia in June 2012, I’ve been to Rappahannock Cellars near Front Royal (May 2013), Doukenie Winery, and Hillsborough Vineyards (August 2013). All these vineyards were unique and had individual appeal. I wouldn’t recommend going to Front Royal to sample wine–I found Rappahannock’s wine tasting option to be pricey and its premises to be too small. (Good wine, but certainly not worth the drive or price.) The other locations, both based in Purcellville, were reasonable and had better amenities for guests.

This past weekend, I visited Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia–an hour drive from Alexandria and Arlington. Middleburg and the surrounding areas comprise Virginia Wine Country. (I hear that Charlottesville is also a great spot. I hope to sample wine there in the future!)

For $10, you get to sample about 10-11 varieties of red and white wine. (One wine–called Schitz and Giggels–is chuckle-worthy.) Also, this winery popularized the Norton grape:

Of particular interest to Chrysalis Vineyards is the native American grape, Norton (sometimes also known as Cynthiana). Recognized among North American varieties for its unique ability to produce premium quality red wines, the Norton was internationally recognized in the 1800′s as the source of distinctively robust reds with overtones of berry and pitted fruits. Today the Norton is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, and a key element of the Chrysalis Vineyards program is to restore this grape to its position of eminence among fine wines. Presently we have the largest planting of Norton in the world.

Overall, I was impressed with this vineyard and its amenities (which included picnic areas and corn hole.)  Below are pictures:

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Complimentary wine glass you keep after wine tasting

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Grapes!

You might be thinking, “Virginia has wine?” Growing up in California, I was in disbelief to hear that Virginia had good wine. However, this August 2013 article in Forbes put things into perspective and made a convincing case in dubbing Virginia the “East Coast Napa Valley”:

Over the past 30 years winemakers have steadily notched improvements. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation and is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. As of 2012, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 individuals and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy annually. More importantly, Virginia wines are surprising critics, winning awards and fans across the globe. World-renowned U.K. based wine critic Steven Spurrier characterized Virginia as a “national contender, producing wines of bright fresh character that call for a second glass.” In blind tastings the wines consistently beat out candidates from other parts of the globe (read about the Breakfast of Champions tasting here). Virginia has momentum, but concerns over grape supply, distribution and growth demands will keep things interesting. Yet, it’s a safe bet that the combination of strategic vision from the Cases and local winemaking zeal will keep the energy headed in the right direction—straight for the tipping point.

If you ever make it out to Virginia and want something fun to do, I recommend checking out the wine scene in Northern Virginia.

Check out Virginia is for Lovers and VirginiaWine.org to learn more about the Commonwealth’s wine selection!

Sic Semper Tyrannis: Photo Voter I.D. Goes Into Effect Here in Virginia

Today, a photo voter I.D. law went into effect here in Virginia. (More information on the new law from the VA Department of Elections can be found here.)

Here’s a summation of the new provision from WDBJ2:

The new ID will be available in July for voters who do not have other acceptable forms of identification.

Other acceptable forms of photo ID include a Virginia driver’s license, a U.S. passport or any other photo ID issued by the United States, Virginia or one of its political subdivisions, a student ID issued by any institute of higher learning in Virginia or any employee identification card.

The new IDs will be for voter identification only and cannot be used for anything else.

Poll taxes are unconstitutional, so states with voter ID laws have to provide photo identification to voters for free.

Under the new law, documents that do not contain a photograph of the voter are no longer acceptable forms of identification when a person is voting in person.

The new law allows voters without photo ID to cast a provisional ballot but they must present identification to their local electoral board within four days following the election for their vote to be counted.

This is a good step in the right direction for our state. Protecting the integrity of voters is crucial to vibrant and transparent elections. If you need an I.D. to board a plane, purchase alcohol, purchase firearms, check into hotels, set up bank accounts, et al., you shouldn’t be bothered with presenting an identification card at the polls.

Sic semper tyrannis!

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You’re Not a “Plan B” Kind of Girl

Gabriella Hoffman:

I really like this article. Ladies, never discount your worth!

Originally posted on The Messy Life:

DeathtoStock_Spring7You deserve better than someone who is afraid to commit to you. It may seem like enough for now. You’re just taking things slow. Oh, how I know those little phrases of “one day” and we just need time.

You believe them.
And I’ve believed them.

But you’re not a plan B kind of girl.

You need to know that you’re not the invisible one standing in the back who gets chosen last.

You’re the girl who the team captain will be frantically hoping doesn’t get picked by someone else before he gets a turn. You’re a first-pick kind of girl. And no one worth having sits back and lets those girls wait around.

‘Cause every good man knows that the good ones get gone fast.

He should be jumping out of his skin in anticipation to call out your name and say “I pick you.”

“But he’s…

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Hail to the Redskins

This morning, it was revealed that the U.S. Patent Agency cancelled the Washington Redskins’ trademark because the name is “disparaging” to Native Americans.

This doesn’t come as a surprise. What government agency hasn’t tried to ban speech or ideas that don’t fit their big government mold?

 

As a result, I felt inclined to respond to the hysteria on Twitter.

Then several of us were prompted to troll the #NewRedskinsName Twitter hashtag, so I contributed several tweets to it:

Where’s the left’s priorities? Facts? Clearly they’re nowhere to be found.

Additionally, government has no right to determine “right” speech or ideas.

But but but, the Redskins name is so offensive? Only 17% of people in this country think that way.

Shame on the U.S. Patent Office for cancelling the Washington Redskins’ trademark. This is a very bad precedent that emboldens government to control and discourage private businesses.

Not surprised…50 Democrat U.S. Senators recently wrote a letter to the organization pressuring them to change their name. (Because, priorities!) Anything that doesn’t fit the big government mold is deemed offensive. (Yay to restricting free expression!) I don’t know anyone here in D.C. who feels distraught over the Redskins name, except for few thin-skinned “progressives” who complain about everything. (Even an AP poll from January found that 83% of people approve of the Redskins name.) Might as well rename them as the Washington Whiners or the Beltway Barnacles to better reflect D.C…

Historically speaking, the Redskins name was chosen to honor Native Americans and their bravery in battle. How does this disparage them? How are their rights being undermined? Might as well be consistent and rename the Cleveland Indians, Florida Seminoles, Oklahoma, Minnesota Vikings, and all other “culturally-insensitive” athletic teams?

But hey, America is weak here and abroad. Who cares? The cause of fighting imaginary bigotry must continue! (Sigh.)

Those who disparage the Redskins are nothing but a bunch of tyrants. As a resident of the DMV, I will continue to support the Redskins and their name.  Hope others continue to do so too.

#HTTR

Year 2 in DC: Making DC Listen

Two years ago today, I boarded a DC-bound plane from Orange County, CA to begin my post-graduate life on the East Coast. Following my arrival, I began an internship at a reputed media organization and was then hired by LI a few weeks later. (I was very lucky to get a job straight out of college.)

You might be asking me, “Why would you leave sunny California for DC/NoVA?” Moving from the West Coast to the East Coast was certainly a big change in my life. I left family, friends, and all things familiar behind in California to advance my career in conservative politics. The DC-area gets a bad rap for being an incestuous, corrupt cesspool (which it is), but thankfully there are many good elements here.

Funny thing is, ever since I moved the to Washington, D.C. area, my disdain for politics as usual and the status quo has exponentially grown. Here in Virginia, I now pay fewer taxes and am working towards becoming a gun owner–which are foreign concepts to most Californians. Additionally, I’ve had more opportunities to enjoy the finer things in life like fishing, shooting guns, traveling, and relishing a quasi-Southern lifestyle. I’ve made some life-long friends, met some interesting people, and have done my part to #MakeDCListen in the process. I have no regrets moving here.

Thank you to my family, friends, coworkers, and everyone else who helped and welcomed this wide-eyed Southern California girl to the East Coast!

New Counter Cultured Article: Proposed Women’s Museum Isn’t Inclusive

I’ve penned a new column at Counter Cultured called “Proposed National Women’s History Museum Fails to Honor All Women.

Here’s an excerpt:

The late fashion icon Coco “Gabrielle” Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.

The female establishment continues to hold our gender hostage by refusing to acknowledge and accept our differences. Not every woman is a man-hating, “empowered” pro-abort. Not every woman believes in neutralizing gender differences. Not every woman relies on government for empowerment. As a result, I must express my disappointment with the proposed National Women’s History Museum (NWHM).  

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently voted 383-33 on H.R. 863 to create a bipartisan commission to review the proposed museum, its placement on or near the National Mall, and potential affiliation with the Smithsonian. 191 Republicans joined all House Democrats to approve the commission. A vote is expected in the Senate soon.

The museum’s goals are outlined on its website:

The National Women’s History Museum’s vision is to build a world-class museum at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The National Women’s History Museum currently raises awareness and honors women’s diverse experiences and achievements through its dynamic online museum, educational programs, scholarship and research. Once housed prominently among the other great museums of Washington, D.C., it will create better understanding and greater partnerships among men and women. The National Women’s History Museum will be the first museum in any nation’s capital to show the full scope of the history of its women and will serve as a guiding light to people everywhere.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

New Counter Cultured Article: Stand Your Ground Against Gun Grabbers

I’ve penned a new column at Counter Cultured discussing new gun control efforts by the newly formed “Everytown for Gun Safety” organization being propped up by nanny statist Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s an excerpt:

Gun grabbers masquerading as crusaders for “sensible gun safety” are relentless in their efforts to undermine the Second Amendment. Since the gun control movement is losing stream, they are seeking ways to remain relevant.

Recently, former New York City mayor and notorious nanny statist Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million to defeat the National Rifle Association (NRA) this November under a new organization called “Everytown for Gun Safety.” In an April 15th interview with the New York Times, Bloomberg said he has a place in heaven for his efforts to disarm Americans:

“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Gun control groups such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have been consolidated under the umbrella organization. Interestingly enough, over 50 mayors have defected from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and one of its members was jailed for gun-related crimes in January.Moreover, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is nothing more than a group vested in promoting defenseless victims. The Blaze’s Dana Loesch confronted group founder Shannon Watts at NRA Annual Meetings in Indianapolis this past weekend after Watts slandered her as a “prop” of the evil “gun lobby.” Not surprisingly, Loesch was met with armed security guarding Watts and her posse. Gotta love leftist hypocrisy!

What’s even more telling about this latest gun control flop? Even former Pennsylvania governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge defected from “Everytown for Gun Safety,” citing its efforts to disarm law-biding gun owners. Ridge told the Daily Caller:

“When I signed on as an adviser to Everytown, I looked forward to a thoughtful and provocative discussion about the toll gun violence takes on Americans,” Mr. Ridge said. “After consultation with Everytown, I have decided that I am uncomfortable with their expected electoral work.”

How do we best combat these hypocrites who want to force more government control on us?

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

UPDATE: Linked to Right Wing News.

A Closer Look at the Life of a Young Conservative, Gabriella Hoffman

Gabriella Hoffman:

I was recently interviewed by a pastor interested in profiling young conservatives. Check this out!

Originally posted on America, Look Up:

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered I enjoyed interviewing people and posting answers about their lives on my blog. I started with some of the primary actors/actresses from “God’s Not Dead.” Now I hope to share several entries from Conservatives who work diligently to wheel America back to the Right.  Please take a moment to become more acquainted with Gabriella Hoffman

I don’t know much more about you than your Twitter Bio which reads, “Dangerously conservative. Northeast Regional Field Coordinator @LeadershipInst.  Angler. Blogger.  Gun girl.  First-generation American.  These are my spicy tweets.”  Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?  For starters, where are you from?

I’d be happy to! I’m originally from Orange County, CA but currently reside in Northern Virginia.  I’m a young conservative blogger and grassroots activist.  My parents are Lithuanian immigrants who came to this country 28 years ago and my sister is Anna…

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It’s November in Virginia: Vote Ken Cuccinelli and the Rest of the Ticket

Can’t believe it’s already November…Within a few days, those of us here in Virginia will be voting for our next governor. This race not only matters to our state; it matters to this country. There is one candidate who is a Washington outsider, constitutional conservative, and defender of freedom. That man is Ken Cuccinelli. (I will have two more posts here before Election Day explaining my support for Cuccinelli.)

What about McAuliffe and Sarvis?

Terry McAuliffe is a big government, cronyist stooge eager to turn Virginia into California or New York. He models his policies after the Clintons and President Obama. He’s currently under several federal investigations too. He’s pro-woman? Quite the contrary. He left his wife and newborn kids in the car to go raise millions of dollars for the DNC; and he recently declared getting an abortion after 20 weeks is a constitutional right. The guy is as corrupt as they come.

Robert Sarvis is a moderate progressive masquerading as a libertarian. This guy ran for office in 2011 as a Republican, lost, and is bitter. Heck, he even campaigned saying he’d model himself after Cuccinelli. In several recent interviews, Sarvis revealed that he likes higher taxes (i.e., gas mileage tax), Medicaid expansion, no regulations on abortion clinics, and is in favor of mainstream economics (not much of a free marketeer). A vote for Sarvis is a vote for McAuliffe.

This is not a repeat of 2012. Cuccinelli has never flip-flopped on issues, and he was the first Attorney General to file an injunction against ObamaCare. He has stood up to the federal government on numerous occasions.

Fellow Virginia voters: Please vote smart. Vote for limited government – vote for Cuccinelli and the rest of the ticket.

#StandWithKen

Odd…I Got Quoted in FishbowlDC

Just saw this…apparently I was quoted in FishbowlDC on October 1st?

Here’s what they wrote:

Words to live by…

“Know what keeps me sane living in the DC area? Boasting an outsider mindset in the Beltway. Resist urge for power and remember your roots.” — conservative blogger Gabriella Hoffman. Just moments before this whopper of wisdom, she wrote, “My page is 8 likes away from 1,100. Connect with me on FB if you haven’t already.”

 

It’s quite odd that they pay attention to minute details. Still, I find it neat that my tweets and quotes about conservative politics  continue to land in publications.

Don’t be afraid to speak out.