Lost Colony Vintner’s Dinner features classic food, wine

By on September 25, 2017

Combining a love of history with outstanding wine and cuisine the first Lost Colony Vintner’s Dinner will be held this Friday at Duck Woods Country Club in Southern Shores.

Pairing the wines of Virginia Dare Winery with a chef prepared four-course dinner, the Friday evening benefit for The Lost Colony should be something truly special.

One of the oldest names in American wine history, the Virginia Dare Winery is now part of the Francis Coppola family of wines.

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The Virginia Dare Winery name traces its roots to the very beginning of the American wine industry when Sidney Weller founded a vineyard in Brinkleyville, N.C. in 1835. Until the Civil War, Weller’s Medoc winery was one of the most successful in the state and well-known nationally.

The Civil War changed all of that, and in 1865, North Carolina agriculturalist and businessman Charles Weller and his brother Dr. Francis Weller purchased the winery. The family business was passed along to the doctor’s son, Paul, who created Garrett & Company and began marketing his wines under the Virginia Dare label.

Paul was tremendously successful and at one time may have been the largest wine producer in the country. Using primarily Scuppernong grapes, he had vineyards in Plymouth, Aberdeen and on Roanoke Island.

Even early 20th century state and federal prohibitions against alcohol consumption couldn’t close winery and after the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, Virginia Dare Winery came back stronger than ever with the catchy phrase and jingle, “Say it again, Virginia Dare.”

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It was the memory of that jingle that attracted filmmaker Francis Coppola to the label, remarking in an interview, “As a child I remember the Virginia Dare wine because of the pretty blonde girl on the label and the ‘Say it again, Virginia Dare’ jingle they used to advertise on the radio.”

Virginia Dare wines regained some popularity after prohibition. Although Garrett & Co. had extensive holdings in California, all Virginia Dare wines were based on the scuppernong grape, the sweet flavors of the wine appealing to the American palate of the time.

But if the vineyards could survive prohibition, they could not survive the 1940 death of Paul Garrett. By the 1960s Virginia Dare wines ceased production, although the company has survived as Virginia Dare Extract Company making flavoring extracts.

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The Virginia Dare wines of today are nothing like the sweet scuppernong-based wine that won the sparkling wine prize at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition for their Paul Garrett’s Special Champagne.

The wines are very well crafted wines from classic wine grapes. The labels of their chardonnay and Pinot Noir recall the vintage labels of the Virginia Dare Winery. Their blends suggest the history of The Lost Colony: the White Doe, Manteo, Two Arrowheads and The Lost Colony.

All wines will be available at the dinner. The menu has not been made public, but Myra Ladd-Bone, owner of Atlantic Realty, who is the chair of the Dinner Committee for The Lost Colony did sample the pairings.

Without giving away any details, she passed along an evaluation. “The desserts are to die for,” Ladd-Bone said.

Coppola Wines and the Virginia Dare Winery have partnered with The Lost Colony for a number of events over the past two years. Partnering with organizations that highlight the history of the United States has been a priority of the winery over the past few years.

The Vintner’s Dinner kicks off a weekend of celebrating wine and food with The Lost Colony.

On Saturday, OBX Trio, the wine, beer and cheese specialist in Kitty Hawk, will host the Wine and Culinary Festival at The Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.

Featuring over 120 wines from North Carolina and around the world as well as the creations of some of the Outer Banks’ finest chefs, a beer garden, wine seminars and live entertainment.

VIP Tickets have already sold out, but there are still general admission tickets available. at www.tlcwinefest.com, or call (252) 473-2127.


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