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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Miracle for the Wine Dogs

Miracle Valley Vineyard
Delaplane, VA

Turbo, the Miracle Valley Jack Russell Terrier, hangs around with the Wine Dogs party.

Easter Weekend seemed a most fitting time for the Wine Dogs to officially check out Miracle Valley Vineyard, which opened its tasting room last August (Munchkin already had a preview).

We entered the converted farm house, with its wide--planked hardwood floors and beautiful stone fireplace, and were greeted warmly by owner Mary Ann Cunningham and daughter Michelle (as in Sweet Michelle, but more on that later). It's a family business at Miracle, with husband Joe serving as winemaker.

Michelle guided us through a tasting consisting of a Viognier, three Chardonneys (one finished in steel, one in Hungarian Oak, and one in American oak), a Cab Franc, a big Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Sweet Michelle.
Michelle told us she's not really a big fan of sweet wines, but when your Daddy wants to name a wine in your honor, you go for it, girl!

While the humans sipped the wine, Munchkin and Pomeroy joined local wine dog Turbo, a 2-year-old Jack Russell, on an exploration of the winery. Munchkin was most impressed with the full kitchen and stayed to supervise, while Pomeroy showed uncharacteristic independence and followed Turbo out to inspect the grounds. Miracle Valley makes all of its wines except the Sweet Michelle from its own grapes. All told, 7 acres currently are under vine, with plans to add Petit Verdot.

We chose a bottle of the Cab Franc to enjoy by the fireplace. Little did we know the surprises in store. Half-way through our first glass, Wine-making classmates Carrie and Elisabeth entered the tasting room. Small world, considering the growing number of area wineries. Turns out our teachers at Three Fox, the Todhunters, actually helped the Cunninghams get their winery started, and recommended the visit.

Then Mom went out to get some fresh air (and close the open top on the jeep... my seat got wet!). She came back in carrying a dog-on-a-stick. She said that Turbo was a perfect 8-lb weight and was going to start on her new exercise regime. Me, I prefer frisbee, which is also one of Turbo's favorite games.

The Wine Dogs are hoping to come back when the weather's warmer to enjoy the beautiful grounds, the nicely developing wines, and dog-friendly family atmosphere at Miracle Valley.

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