One of the best things about blogging is meeting fun people who share the same interests. At first glance Tonya, author of fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com, and I could not seem more different…she lives on a farm complete with chickens and sheep. I get nervous if I get too far from a city sidewalk. But we both love writing, reading, traveling, animals and yes…champagne! So I was thrilled when she asked me to present “Champagne, Sparkling Wine and All Things Bubbly” to her Book Club recently. (photo above: Tonya on the left and that’s me on the right)
Driving up to Tonya’s farm I was tickled to see the most adorable Scottish Blackface Sheep in the pasture next to the big brick farmhouse. I tried to get them to come up closer to me and called to them… “Kitty, Kitty!” which was met with sheepish indifference.
Tonya and her husband Scott had vision for this gem of a homestead, including the sheep ~ they know all of the sheep by name since they are their pets. Tonya tells the story of their home “Green Hill Farm” which her great-grandparents purchased in 1912. Over the past 100 years, the farm has been operated as a dairy, small grain, fruit orchard, and hobby farm. In 2003, Tonya and Scott were gifted her family’s homeplace and 20 acres. They completed restoration of the home in 2004. After visiting their lovely home complete with a formal parlor, four fireplaces, gorgeous kitchen and sun room opening up to a scenic view of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, I read Tonya’s amazing story about bringing the farm back to life. Their Green Hill Farm is obviously the result of a labor of love. Visiting this beautiful farm takes me back to days on my grandparents farm in Ohio where I listened to the raindrops on the tin roof…one of my favorite places. Here’s the link to Tonya’s lovely story:
Speaking of animals we love…allow me a short segue…We are finding that our newest addition “Maxine Andrews” likes to drink ice water…wherever she can find it!
Now back to the Book Club…the ladies and I talked about many facets of champagne and sparkling wine that day. Tonya shared something “new to me”…sparkling wine from England. Curious, I ran out the next day to purchase some and here’s what I found…
Fabulous Fizz, a book (2006) by Alice King shares this little nugget about sparkling wines from the United Kingdom: “Ten years ago, I would never have dreamed that English wines could in any way be described as “fabulous”. Such is the leap forward in winemaking and planting of better-quality grapes, including Chardonnay, that there are now several quite stunning sparkling wines. It makes sense, after all that the UK has a “cool” climate, and there are chalky soils across southeastern England, just as there are in Champagne.”
Ridgeview Sparkling Wines
Ridgeview is owned and operated by the Roberts family. Their wines have won numerous international sparkling wine awards. There is an adorable photo of their family on their website: http://www.ridgeview.co.uk
Here’s a link to a dandy story about English sparkling wines. The article shares with us that Queen Elizabeth II serves Ridgeview sparkling wine to her guests at State Dinners.