A Daytime Getaway: Autumn Around Charlottesville

Charlottesville’s rich cultural and natural history is celebrated by a selection of top-notch museums, galleries, musical venues, shops, restaurants, outdoor destinations and wineries.

Enjoy five of our favorite autumnal activities to complete your perfect fall getaway in Charlottesville!

 1) University of Virginia Grounds and Monticello

Rotunda Fall Jefferson's Monticello                                                                                                          For the historically inclined out there, you’re in luck! The Charlottesville area is brimming with exciting places that have each played a unique role in the history of our nation.

The original Grounds of the University, designed by Thomas Jefferson are still in use today! Grab a sandwich from Take it Away on UVA’s corner, pack a blanket and relax in Jefferson’s “Academical Village.” It’s one of our favorite places to see fall foliage at its finest!

While in C’ville, be sure to check out TJ’s mountaintop home, Monticello. Tour his home, and the surrounding gardens and plantations while learning about the rich history from expert guides.

2) Carter Mountain Orchard

carter-mountainNothing says fall like a mug of steaming apple cider.

Visit Carter Mountain Orchard and pick your own apples while overlooking panoramic mountain views.

Stop in the gift shop for the most divine apple cider donut you’ve ever had.



3) Blue Ridge Hiking

humpbackrocksTangles of scenic, winding mountain trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway await the outdoor enthusiasts of Charlottesville.

Perhaps the best representation of the natural beauty found so readily throughout the greater Charlottesville area is Humpback Rocks.

Emerge from the Humpback trail to sweeping views of Charlottesville and Piedmont; bring a picnic to enjoy with friends and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. We recommend packing cider from your afternoon at Carter’s Mountain for a warming beverage on the mountaintop.

4) Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards

JFariello-July-0033For a relaxing afternoon tasting signature wine pairings with seasonal foods, look no further than our Tasting Room just minutes from Charlottesville.

Enjoy our locally crafted wine at our hand-carved bar or on the covered stone terrace overlooking the vineyard and extensive valley views.

Inside our bistro-style seating area, nosh on fall favorites from our ever-evolving seasonal menu including Roasted Kuri Squash Tortellini and Warm Honeycrisp Apple Crumble.

Oh, and get excited – Pizzas from our wood burning oven will return at the end of October! Stay tuned.

5) Dinner at Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen 

Shannon-GillenFor the gourmande’s of the world… We strongly urge you to stick around for a quality dining experience.

New to the downtown mall is Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen, a little piece of Italy right here in C’ville.

The restaurant offers an Italian and Mediterranean menu featuring a classic wood-burning oven. The food is exquisite, and some may argue, the ambiance even better. Chic, romantic and  hip, it’s the perfect space to cozy up with friends and family this fall.

Photo Credit:
Photo 1: The Univeristy of Virginia, Photo 2: Darden School, Univeristy of Virginia, Photo 3: UVA Magazine, Photo 4: Virginia,org, Photo 5: Jen Fariello, Photo 6: Shannon Gillen for Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen

Topics: Charlottesville, Charlottesville Activities, Charlottesville VA Wine, Charlottesville Virginia, cuisine, culinary, Cville, Fall Cuisine, food and wine pairing, Hiking, Lunch, New Restaurant, On the Hill, Our Food, Tasting Room Lunch Menu, Things to Do, Virginia, Virginia Venue, We Recommend, Weekend, Weekend Plans, Wine, Wine Flights, Wine Tasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pippin Hill Farm Crushes its 2014 Petit Verdot Harvest


We are beaming with excitement!
Just last week our vineyard crew harvested a record number of grapes:
7.7 tons of Petit Verdot! 

We are thrilled, and look forward to sharing this wine that boasts a gorgeous dark plum color as is typical of this Bordeaux blending variety.

ben-jordan-pippin-hillOur Winemaker from Virginia Wineworks, Ben Jordan, shares,

“This year, we pushed the envelope and hung the grapes as long as possible to get optimum maturity. When we picked the grapes, we thought the flavors were just right and we were high-fiving each other when the skies opened and the rain poured out!

Now the PV is fermenting nicely. The flavors are already confirming that the wine is going to be something special.”

So, what is Petit Verdot? Translating to “little green,” petit verdot is a variety of grape that grows predominantly in the Bordeaux region of France.


The name refers to the difficult process winemakers have in growing and harvesting this grape. If the conditions aren’t perfect, the grape is small, green and seedless. The grape ripens later in the season than most, given it an increased chance of frost.

What makes our Petit Verdot so special is the favorable conditions Virginia has for growing this particular type of grape. The grape enjoys cooler temperatures, and ripens later than typical Bordeaux grapes. Long considered a mere blending grape in certain regions of France, Petit Verdot brings additional tannins, color and freshness, and a spicy kick when added to a blend. However, our Petit Verdot is becoming  a popular varietal all on its own. Let’s just say, our Petit Verdot is certainly not afraid to show its face. Here at Pippin Hill, we’ve managed to get the deliciously ripened grape into a wine you won’t want to miss.

pippin-hill-harvestAs for its flavors and aromas? Pippin HIll’s Petit Verdot greets you with sweet ripe mulberry notes and an elegant floral fragrance of white blossoms.

It is a dark, full-bodied wine, with higher tannins than other varieties on our menu.

It pairs delightfully with steak, lamb, duck, or other particularly rich dishes. Avoid pairing it with fish or cream based food, as they won’t bring out the full flavor of the wine. Spicy foods pair well with Petit Verdot and it’s perfect for a myriad of different hard and semi soft cheeses.

We look forward to sharing it with you in 2016!

Topics: Charlottesville, Charlottesville VA Wine, Charlottesville Virginia, Cville, On the Hill, Virginia, Wine Tasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wedding Wednesday – Winter Weddings at Pippin Hill: Top Five Reasons to Say “I Do” this Winter


There’s something ethereal about wintertime at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, and more and more brides are catching on to this magically romantic season.

The mountain air is fresh and brisk, the vineyards are glimmering with delicate frost, and the rolling, snow-covered Blue Ridge Peaks are majestic across the horizon.

This year, our Winter Wedding Collections Package is back by popular demand!

We can tell you why – in five different ways. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 1.05.19 PMAuthentic Winter Wedding Destination – We are all enchanted by vineyards as wedding destinations in the fall and spring, when the grapes are plump and the vines are vibrant and lush.

But, we think the serene snow covered mountaintops, brisk and clear starry nights and the sparkle of a light frost provides the perfect backdrop for a winter wedding. Imagine a winter wedding at our 5-star venue during one of the most romantic seasons of the year!

1187Memorable Winery Weddings  –  Situated between the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our venue has an authentic, naturally beautiful winery feel right here in Charlottesville, Va.

The Napa Valley of the East Coast, if you will.

Pippin Hill captures the essential elements of a grandeur wedding—precisely detailed landscaping, custom sound and lighting, majestic architectural detailing—all with surrounding panoramic mountain views visible both inside and out.

pippin-hill-farm-bespoke-wedding-service-packageBespoke Wedding Services  –   Your one stop shop for wedding essentials.  Our customized Bespoke Wedding Services package offers a range of wedding services available only at Pippin Hill.

We feature three different event spaces, all with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The package includes our professional Chef, a full in-house catering team, and a range of event spaces with state of the art cooling and heating, a stunning stone veranda and landscaped courtyard. It also features all of the tabletop essentials that include cream floor-length tablecloths, Schott Zwiesel Crystal Glass stemware and elegant bone china and cutlery. Our day of bridal loft is designed as a full suite with all of the requisite features.

unnamed-4Winter Wedding Package –  Our Winter Wedding Collections Package offers a plethora of complementary ways to inspire a warm setting during the chill of winter.

Meet with Easton Events, nationally renowned event designers and planners to conceptualize designs for your dreams day; greet your guests with steaming spiced cider and hot chocolate, and surprise them later in the night by serving nostalgic s’mores with all the fixings. We also offer a heated 90-foot custom veranda enclosure with clear sidewalls to expand our indoor space, candlelit twinkling lights accents throughout the Granary, and wedding event insurance to protect your special day.

All of these special elements will create a warm and inviting ambiance for your winter event!

pippin-hill-farmCreating Memories – Your wedding day should be as joyous and relaxing as possible–let us take care of the main logistics!

Our professional and passionate team will ensure that your special day is carried out as seamlessly as can be.

Our dedication to customized service for each and every bride will leave you with unique memories to last a lifetime.

Email meg@pippinhillfarm.com to book your winter wedding today!

Photo 1, 6: Jen Fariello Photography, Photo 2: Elisa B Photography, Photo 3: Dominique Attaway; Photo 4: Eric Kelley Photography; Photo 5: Jack Looney

Topics: Charlottesville Virginia, Cville, Easton Events, Events, Holiday, On the Hill, Photography, Private Events, Tips and Trends, Virginia, Virginia Venue, Wedding Wednesday, Winery & Vineyard Weddings, Winery Wedding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Recipe for Pippin Hill’s Petit Verdot Cupcakes

Over the past few years, cupcakes have become as ubiquitous as hot dog stands in American cities. With an influx of bakeries and cupcakeries, we have become obsessed with these heavenly mini-cakes.

Of course, we’ll be the first to admit that we are biased toward Pippin Hill’s Petit Verdot Cupcakes with decadent dark chocolate, thyme frosting and Merlot reduction.

Scrumptious, mini and downright magical, it’s the best way to end a meal…or let’s face it, start one.

With the cupcake frenzy persisting, we decided to share Pippin Hill’s recipe for Petit Verdot Cupcakes with our cupcake-loving readers. So decadent, so chocolatey and so undeniably delicious, we couldn’t resist.

A signature sweet dish here at Pippin Hill, Chef Bill Scatena reminds us why the famed cupcake has become a crowd favorite here on The Hill,

“The Petit Verdot cupcake is our signature Pippin Hill dessert. Much like our famous grass-fed sliders, the cupcakes have been on the menu since day one. The Merlot reduction drizzle is what truly distinguishes these cupcakes from the rest.” 

So what are you waiting for! Start preheating the oven now!

Pippin Hill’s Petit Verdot Cupcakes


Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ vegetable oil
1 ½ buttermilk at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Whisk all wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 small batches until the batter resembles a brownie batter. Pour into greased muffin tins, but only fill 3/4 of the way to the top of the tin. Bake for 18 minutes. Once cool, ice the cupcakes in your favorite homemade buttercream icing.

Pippin Hill’s Petit Verdot Cupcake Reduction Drizzle

Foodblog-23451 bottle of Pippin Hill’s Merlot 2011
1 1/3 cup cane sugar
1 sprig rosemary

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer until the sauce completely coats the back of a spoon. Generously drizzle reduction over iced cupcakes. Our Tasting Room Team recommends a glass of Meritage Reserve 2012 to perfectly complete this picturesque dessert.

photo by Kath Eats Real Food

Topics: Charlottesville, cuisine, culinary, Cville, Desserts, DIY, Lunch, On the Hill, Our Food, Recipes, Summer Cuisine, Tasting Room Lunch Menu, Uncategorized, We Recommend, Weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment