Culpeper is capitalizing on the adoration of its homegrown adult beverages as part of the 2019 celebration of the 50th anniversary of Virginia is for Lovers.
Eight area establishments have partnered with Culpeper Tourism in promoting the region’s beer, cider, moonshine and wine as part of the ongoing Liquid Love Trolley Tour. The driving tour held its inaugural events in June, with both selling out. The third tour will be held July 27 with sipping stops and spirited tours at Mountain Run Winery, Belmont Farms Distillery and Far Gohn Brewery.
Culpeper Tourism Director Paige Read touted the tours at a recent town council committee meeting to which she brought examples of the liquid love, including a bottle of Gray Ghost Vineyard’s special rosé lovers blend. Other locally-operated 50 Years of Love adult beverage offerings include Beer Hound Brewery’s lovers kölsch, Belmont Farm’s LOVE-shine cocktail, Far Gohn’s lovers lager, Mountain Run’s white lovers blend, Old House Vineyard & Brewery’s red lovers blend and lovers lager, Old Trade Brewery’s lovers cider and Prince Michel’s lovers cider.
Gray Ghost participated in the June tour and it was a blast, said vineyard spokeswoman Amy Payette.
“It just seemed like such a wonderful opportunity to be part of something so historic,” she said.
Located in Amissville, the winery is celebrating its own milestone this year with a 25th anniversary bash taking place this weekend. There will be tastings, a wine library of old vintages, a barrel opening, live music and an opening reception at 10 a.m. on Saturday featuring remarks by Richard Leahy, author of “Beyond Jefferson’s Vines.” Winemakers and vineyard owners Al and Cheryl Kellert opened Gray Ghost in 1994, making it Rappahannock County’s oldest winery.
“I’m pleased and honored that the Kellerts have invited me to be their guest of honor to celebrate Gray Ghost Vineyards’ 25th anniversary,” Leahy said. “I have written about and followed the evolution of Gray Ghost from its beginning and am glad they continue to prosper. They were a model of hobbyists with a passion who made the leap to professionals, even transplanting their Vidal vines from a Northern Virginia backyard to their vineyard.”
As for the Virginia is for Lovers blend, it’s a rosé swirled with cabernet franc and chardonnay, Payette said.
“It’s a gorgeous red color—perfect for the occasion,” she said. “Our customers have been loving it.”
A native Virginian raised in Rappahannock, Payette said the state offers it all.
“It’s a great place for romanticists,” she said. “From the mountains to the beach to the four seasons, it’s the best of everything you can imagine.”
Over at Belmont Farms, they’re ready to be part of the upcoming Liquid Love Trolley Tour and to show their appreciation to their many longtime customers of the 30-plus-year operation. All this month, visiting customers can enjoy a free sample of the LOVE-shine cocktail, said Jeanette Miller, who helps manage the family-run distillery with husband Chuck Miller.
The special love drink is made with Virginia Lightning, cranberry juice and a slice of lime, she said.
“We are very excited to offer these cocktails free for the month of July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of LOVE in Culpeper,” said Jeanette Miller. “We opened our doors more than 25 years ago in Culpeper and wanted to do something special for our folks in Culpeper that have supported us.”
Culpeper Tourism has been on the road for weeks promoting what the town and county has to offer as part of the Lovers anniversary, Read told the town council committee. Statewide, the 50 Days Celebration started June 21 and runs through August 10.
“We’ll do 14 press events in 50 days to share about Culpeper as a destination,” she said.
A fourth and final Liquid Love Tour will be held August 3 with stops at a trio of Culpeper County area drinking sites. The July 27 tour will start from the Depot at 1 p.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. back downtown. Tickets are available at EventBrite.