Destination race in Virginia wine country

By Theresa Coates / Team SFMC — The grape vines were climbing and the runners were sweating in the very-hot half marathon at Doukenie Winery in Purcellville, Va. on Saturday morning.  A low morning fog hovered in the Short Hill Mountain creating an eerie backdrop for 2,500 runners participating in an event sponsored by Destination Races.

Team SFMC George Ellis raced to the finish with a good time and a big thirst. The race medal was heavy and functional with a cork screw and bottle opener. Wine tastings were set up throughout the vineyard.

The Doukenie Winery lists a variety of award winners:


2014 The Winemaker’s Challenge
Silver Medal 2012 Pinot Grigio
Silver Medal 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.

2013 Virginia Wineries Association Governor’s Cup
Silver Medal 2010 Dionysus
Silver Medal 2011 Chardonnay

Bronze Medal 2011 Cabernet Franc
Bronze Medal 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Bronze Medal 2011 Merlot
Bronze Medal 2012 Pinot Grigio
Bronze Medal 2011 Vintner’s Reserve

This destination race was a great place to run and later relax on a patio with views of a ponds bridges, mountains and of course, rows and rows of beautiful draping vines.

What is your favorite Virginia winery and why?

Frost free! 10 top sun-loving flowers to plant in Va.

If you were holding back your green thumb from sowing seeds and planting flowers outdoors, start digging when the sun starts to shine.  The state of Virginia is split in two planting zones: Zone 6 and Zone 7.  The last frost date — a fear to young plants — ranges from March 31 to April 30.  Prepare your shovels, spades and hoes, time to get down and dirty.

Here are the top full sun flowers to sow or plant for the spring and summer season:

flower pet






1.  Petunia (annual)


flower salvia









2.  Salvia (annual)












3.  Daylily (perennial)








4.  Marigold (annual)








5.  Coreopsis  (perennial)








6.  Geranium annual








7.  Coneflower (perennial)








8.  Zinnia (annual)








9.  Cosmos (annual)








10. Sunflower (annual)


What is your favorite flower to plant in your garden?