Salute to Women 2024 – Beverage Makers
Spring Event – Sunday, March 10th 2024
The Quirk Hotel – Charlottesville, VA
Join us for an Exclusive Culinary Experience Celebrating Women’s History Month!
Participating Beverage Makers for the March 10th Event
Kirsty Harmon – Blenheim Vineyards
Born in the Netherlands, Kirsty has spent a majority of her life in Charlottesville. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1998 with a degree in biology, Kirsty developed an appreciation for wine through a job that allowed her to apprentice for famed Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse.
After making wine for several years in Virginia, Kirsty moved west to pursue formal training at the University of California at Davis, where she graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture and Enology in 2007. After graduation, Kirsty spent six months at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits St. Georges, France as a recipient of the 2007 Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Scholarship. In Spring 2008, she worked as a harvest intern at Craggy Range Winery in New Zealand as recipient of the Doug Wisor Memorial Scholarship.
Kirsty officially joined Blenheim Vineyards as winemaker in June of 2008. She was promoted to General Manager in April of 2009 and in addition to making the wine, she now oversees the entire operation from the vineyard through sales.
Athena Eastwood – Owner, Eastwood Farm & Winery
Athena Eastwood is a commodities lawyer, recognized for her work helping agricultural clients develop innovative strategies to combat and adapt to climate change. She was recognized as a 2021 Trailblazer by the National Law Journal for her work designing products to support innovation in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Eager to transition to a more local community focus, she purchased a small farm just outside the Charlottesville city limits in 2016 where she, her daughters and partner started building what is now Eastwood Farm and Winery.
Kelly Knight – Director of Hospitality, Rappahannock Cellars
Kelly Knight, raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains, grew up in a family-owned winery, developing a deep love for the craft. Moving to Rappahannock County, Virginia, Kelly furthered her understanding of the wine industry, gaining expertise in all aspects of the business. With a natural talent for hospitality and administration, she now runs that side of her family’s boutique winery. Rappahannock Cellars produces approximately 20,000 cases of wine per year. Working alongside her sister and father, Kelly ensures that visitors have an unforgettable experience, showcasing her family’s exceptional wines. Combining her passion, knowledge, and commitment, Kelly continues to contribute to the ever-evolving world of winemaking, honoring her family’s legacy.
Rachel Stinson Vrooman – Winemaker, Stinson Vineyards
Rachel Stinson Vrooman is Co-Winemaker and Director of Operations at Stinson Vineyards. Vrooman specializes in small lot wines and takes inspiration from the “garagiste” wineries of France -both in wine making techniques and the winery itself, which is built into an old three car garage. Wines are made by the wine making team of Rachel and her husband Nathan Vrooman. Her previous career as a photo editor in Manhattan shares features with her current one. “I love that winemaking is a blend of science and artistry,” Rachel says. “This was familiar to me coming from a photography background. I also appreciate the idea of a vintage – the chance to start over each year and the challenge of not having complete control over harvest conditions.” The wines of Stinson Vineyards are enjoying growing critical acclaim, and the winery has become a visitor destination for its fine wines, stunning views and laid back hospitality.
Emily Hodson – Lead Winemaker, Veritas Vineyards and Winery
Emily moved to Virginia in 1999 with the intention of taking a year off of school to help her parents and sister Chloe transition as they moved from Florida to Virginia. While starting a vineyard in Virginia seemed like a far-flung idea to Emily to start, she quickly fell in love with the beauty of the industry and the area and decided to stay and pursue a career in the wine industry. Emily and Andrew worked alongside each other as a team in the inception of Veritas, and Andrew held down the fort when she went to Virginia Tech to get her Masters degree in oenology (fermentation science). Now fifteen vintages in, Emily has become head winemaker and proud mother of two beautiful girls, Lydia and Charlotte, who have grown up on the farm and watched the winery and the vineyard grow. Emily is one of the few winemakers who cut her teeth in the Virginia wine industry. She feels strongly that with select varietals and true Virginia-grown fruit our industry will be unstoppable. Her philosophy involves trying to achieve natural, balanced expression of the fruit by focusing on attention to detail and cultural practices. But most of all, she just tries to stay out of the way as she allows the wine to show off the beauty of where the grapes were grown.
Laura Lavallee – Owner, Wisdom Oak Winery
Laura grew up in northern Maryland’s farm country. After attending college in North Carolina, she moved to Philadelphia to start her career in the financial services industry. While working at various firms, she became involved in a spinoff firm which eventually sold and left her looking for something new. She landed a job in corporate accounts at the same financial firm as Jason shortly thereafter. The two worked together for an entire year before saying anything to each other, but eventually found common ground with food and wine. Laura is currently responsible for all aspects of the tasting room, compliance, human resources and events at Wisdom Oak Winery.
Bonnie Branding – Owner, Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery
Bonnie and her husband John are co-founders, owners, and operators of Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery, an estate farm brewery. While living in Munich, Germany for half a decade, their dream developed. They noticed there the connection between agriculture and beer was clear – breweries drawing from their immediate surroundings the ingredients for their product. Bonnie and John wanted to highlight the notion that beer, as an agricultural product, can and should express differently batch to batch, harvest to harvest – an idea obvious in wine, but foreign to modern beer. They wanted to take things a step further not only by sourcing locally, but also by farming their own ingredients.
March 10th –
Journey through Food
March 11th –
Salute to Women Think Tank
Attend Both Events!
Hotel Room Discount
Promotion ends Feb. 16th
Back to the Main Event Page
Plan your weekend around this great destination
Taste of Blue Ridge has special discounts you can use for your stay at the Quirk Hotel. Itinerary ideas will be added so you can plan a weekend around this Root to Table event.
Charlottesville, VA is about an hour from Richmond, VA and about 2 and a half hours from Dulles International Airport and Washington DC.
Top Dishes from the Root to Table Culinary Series
Let these dishes inspire you for what’s to come March 10th!