I only drink champagne when I…

I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty. - Lily Bollinger My name is Paula De Pano, and I am addicted to bubbles. Prosecco, Cava, Sekt, Sparkling Wine, Franciacorta, Cap Classique, and especially Champagne – as a certified bubblehead, I love them all the... Full Post >

Why I love my job…

To start with, The Fearrington House Restaurant team has an amazing dynamic. Without that kind of camaraderie and support, it’s quite hard to make things happen properly in a fine-dining environment. There is also great work-life balance. Over the years, the experiences that I’ve gained while working the floor helped me in achieving my Advanced Sommelier certification. Aside from that, it’s fun to have access to a lot of wines that I would normally not be able to experience and share... Full Post >

The Art of Blind Tasting

I get it. I really do. I understand why it may seem impressive or look like a magic trick to people who get to see someone who can pinpoint a wine’s provenance just by looking, sniffing, tasting and spitting out a wine. Out of the thousands of different grapes in the world, a gifted wine taster can tell you what grape a wine is made of, where it’s from, which vintage it came from, and if it is worth its salt to have that price attached to it in a wine list. I remember my jaw dropping... Full Post >

Affordable Luxury with New Wines by the Glass this Fall

It is that time of the year again when the cooler air of the fall season descends upon us here at The Fearrington House. One by one, we exchange the crisp and refreshing white wines of summer for the richly textured red wines more suitable for the cooler months. This year, Max and I are delighted to be able to offer our guests some iconic wines that are rarely seen on any restaurants’ wines by the glass offerings -– Guido Porro’s Vigna Lazzairasco Barolo, and Angelo Gaja’s highly... Full Post >

Fall Time Beer

After much success with our summer collaboration with Sean Lilly Wilson and Chris Davis of Fullsteam Brewery, last week we released the Fearrington Fall Beer at a release dinner on our Garden Terrace.  We also had the release of the great art work that Win Crannell from Georgia created for the Fullsteam Fearrington Beer series label, an oak tree in each season.  Thanks to Sean at Fullsteam we will be featuring the art work at the entrance of The Fearrington Granary.  Each season as we... Full Post >

Mas de Daumas Gassac Wine Dinner

Mas de Daumas Gassac is not your everyday wine. You will not see it at your local grocery store, you will not easily find its scores in your favorite wine magazine, and you might just have a hard time placing it in your wine vocabulary -- yet, to taste these wines is a necessity for any wine lover. These wines represent the very essence of what makes wine great.  On September 19th we will have Vergile Rousseau, National Brand Manager for the winery, and Thomas Meunier its importer, joining us... Full Post >

Experience the Wine Pairings at The Fearrington House Restaurant

One of the best things about dining at Fearrington House are the custom wine pairings that we offer to our guests. Max and I believe that it enhances the complete dining experience – the perfectly executed cuisine complemented by the perfectly chosen wine. Most restaurants tend to list down the particular wines they will be automatically serving their guests on their menus – while that is convenient, it loses that element of adventure – of trying new things. I, personally, do not believe... Full Post >

A Big Congrats to Paula

Paula de Pano has been working with me at The Fearrington House Restaurant since 2010.  When she started she had just graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York (the other CIA), and I could tell that she had a serious passion for wine.  In the beginning the majority of her experience was in the back of the house (restaurant speak for the kitchen), at first she was timid, shy, but always driven to get better.  She was always full of questions, and as soon as she got an... Full Post >

RDV, The Future of Virginian Wine

I arrived early at DC's Union Station; it was a cool morning with a constant drizzle of rain. I met up with my group, and we shot out of town toward the countryside west of DC.  One of the group members was Adi Badenhorst. He is one of my favorite winemakers from South Africa, whose Badenhorst wines from the Swartland are taking the American wine world by storm at the moment (as they should).  With a long salt-and-pepper beard, hair to match, and a "t-shirt for any occasion" style, Adi... Full Post >

A Collaboration in the Name of Beer

A few years back I remember reading an article about a brewery that was opening up in Durham.  They were going to make beers with a "Plough to Pint" philosophy, and they were making beers like a Hickory Smoked Porter, that was made for Barbeque, and a Lager made out of sweet potatoes.  The name of the brewery was even better: Fullsteam.  I thought "I have got to meet these guys." Fast forward a year, and one afternoon I meet up with Sean Lilly Wilson to taste some of their beers.  Right... Full Post >