Today’s guest blogger, Katy, is sharing an event announcement for this weekend that sounds like an amazing way to send your Saturday! If you find yourself near Monticello, be sure to stop by this event!

As a University of Virginia student, I have a natural affinity for the public figure Thomas Jefferson.  I am expected to know general facts about the founder of my school and the strides he made for our country.  However, it was not until this past summer when I became an intern at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello that I started to appreciate and almost cherish the private man Jefferson actually was.  He introduced new varieties of plants to Virginia and to the United States.  Jefferson may have even introduced the tomato, a plant previously thought of as harmful, to the United States after observing its wide acceptance in Italy.  Today, tomatoes are a staple of the American pallet.

Jefferson even attempted to grow wine grapes to make wine at Monticello.  Although he was not successful, many Virginians today attribute the Commonwealth’s flourishing wine industry to Thomas Jefferson.  Another man who comes to mind is Monticello’s Director of Garden & Grounds, Gabriele Rausse.  Called the “Father of the Virginia Wine Industry”, Rausse continues Jefferson’s legacy in the gardens of Monticello and at his own vineyard, Gabriele Rausse Winey.  I guess we can call Jefferson the grandfather of Virginian wines.

Today, Charlottesville can boast about our love for local foods and beautiful wine country with its rolling hills and luscious landscapes.  Last year, Forbes Magazine called Charlottesville the “locavore capital of the world” and Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Virginia as one of the 10 best wine travel destinations for 2012.

To celebrate Virginia, Monticello is hosting its first ever “Taste of Virginia” on Saturday, September 29 from 12 pm to 4 pm, in the Monticello Museum Shop.  The event will showcase local foods and beverages such as Oakencroft Grape Juice, Gabriele Rausse wine, Starr Hill craft beer, Graves Mountain Preserves, and Virginia Chutney.  There will be a historic chocolate demonstration presented by American Heritage Chocolate and an educational presentation from the Center for Historic Plant about fall vegetables and forcing bulbs.  If you were not able to make it out for the Heritage Harvest Festival a few weeks ago, then this is your chance to visit Monticello and taste a little bit of our local flavor.  And don’t forget, it is FREE!

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