I spent last Sunday making late-afternoon cocktails at home in Virginia Beach. I caramelized brown sugar-coated pineapple in searing butter, simultaneously stirred four different flavors of simple syrup, and strained pureed strawberries to create a pure, sweet juice. All of my Virginia-made spirits sat on the bar, ready to be mixed into four fabulous cocktails.

I just had to wait for Savor Virginia’s creative director, Dave, to arrive with his family so we could pop the Thibaut-Janisson Virginia FIZZ sparkling, toast to finishing up our first revamped issue, and get down to business.

Did I mention this was work? I know, I know … tough job. But someone does have to do it, and, let’s be real, I am thrilled it’s me.
I love to entertain, including my readers, so playing crafty bartender to come up with drinks made with Virginia liquors that are perfect for warm-weather parties was a pretty plum assignment. Dave and I created, photographed and, yes, sampled, my soiree-worthy “Spirits of Summer,” and the results of all of our hard “work” is on page 30.

Of course, tasty beverages are not all I got to savor this issue. I interviewed and learned plenty from the first legal moonshiner in Virginia—and the country—(page 15), reviewed a winery tasting room with the most splendid views (page 14) and researched the best wine-bike tours (page 27). Needless to say, I love what I do. Not only do I get to fill you in on all there is to savor in Virginia, but I get to experience it right along with you.

We actually started savoring back in 2007, as Virginia Wine Lover magazine, covering the commonwealth’s burgeoning wine industry. But as our imbibe scene grows and expands, so do we, and with this issue, we are proudly broadening our focus to include Virginia craft beer, distilled spirits and farm-to-table cuisine. Our new brand, Savor Virginia, aims to honor the people, places and products that make Virginia a fantastic place to live, travel, play, eat, imbibe and, well … savor.

Some things remain the same—you can find our 7th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards winners on page 47. And our complete resource guide to Virginia’s 10 regions, including winery, distillery and brewery listings; events; map; and recommended places to visit in each area beginning on page 51.

What’s new? More extensive and engaging content and photography. Don’t miss “A Crafty Commonwealth” on page 36, exploring the positive influence of major breweries choosing to open large facilities in our cities. The “Well Cultured” feature on page 41 focuses on Virginia’s artisanal cheese scene, and “Designing Benevolently” on 22 introduces you to the wonderful handmade furniture of woodworker Patrick Ryan.
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I adored “working” on it. Let’s all raise a glass to savoring the good life.


Melissa M. Stewart

Written By

Melissa Stewart