Serving Off Court: Taste of the Mid-Atlantic With Keswick Vineyards

You’ve baked bread, you’ve binge-watched shows, you’ve cleaned out the junk drawer, you’ve organized all your photos, you’ve finally finished that puzzle you started in March, you’ve played all the board games, you’ve attempted to video your best tennis trick shot. Now what? 

The coronavirus pandemic continues and while we are making a return to some daily activities outside of the home including playing tennis (safely), it is still important for people to find ways to maintain social distance and follow prevention measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

And for many of us, that means continuing to stay at home, which also means finding new ways to stay entertained while continuing to stay at home.  

USTA Mid-Atlantic has a fresh way you can add some fun to your at-home activities AND give back to support the growth of tennis when you do! 

Our “Taste of Mid-Atlantic” virtual wine tasting event

This event is part of USTA Mid-Atlantic’s #ServeItForward campaign. #ServeItForward celebrates the power of tennis in the recovery process and provides opportunities for individuals to lend support to the sport and charitable tennis programs that help improve lives in our region through tennis. 

We are partnering with Keswick Vineyards in Charlottesville, Va., for the event on Saturday, June 27.  They will donate 15% of sales for the virtual wine tasting event to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section to support our charitable tennis programs (more details follow about how to RSVP and order the wine tasting package).

We recently caught up with the Winemaker and Tasting Room Manager at Keswick Vineyards, Stephen Barnard to learn more about Keswick and prepare for the upcoming event. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: How did you get involved with wine and this winery? What do you do for them?

Stephen: My journey into wine began while studying at Elsenburg College in South Africa.  I needed a part-time job so I started working in the tasting room at Groot Constantia Winery, the oldest winery in South Africa. 

In 2002, I received an opportunity through The Ohio State University to intern with Keswick Vineyards. At the time, Virginia was not known for wine because wine production was fairly new in the state. It was a very interesting opportunity.   

Keswick Vineyards first planted in 2000 and had its first vintage in 2002. I had the opportunity to work with the first harvest and first wines Kewswick ever produced. I learned quickly that there is a lot more to making wine than what I learned at university. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What do you think people should know about the winery? What makes it special?

Stephan: Keswick Vineyards is owned and operated by Al and Cindy Schomberg and family. Everyone in the family is involved in the business and has a role – from daily operations to marketing to even growing and producing the wine. 

We are all very passionate about wine. We recognize that first and foremost that we are in the hospitality business and work hard to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to experience the wine and the atmosphere. Hopefully, you can taste our love for making wine in every bottle. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: If someone is new to wine, what would you tell them when trying wine?

Stephan: We help deconstruct the wine during tastings so that it is approachable because at the end of the day it’s just fermented grape juice! So don’t be afraid of wine. Trust your palette and trust your nose.  Drink what you enjoy. Finally, what makes it an experience is sharing a wine you enjoy with someone you enjoy. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What if someone has tasted lots of wine, what would you tell them?

Stephan: What you want you to taste in the glass is how the grape was grown. Wine should communicate a sense of place. You want to make a wine that smells and tastes of where the grape is grown. The soil, elevation, and everything that goes with the grape needs to be expressed in the glass of wine, that is what makes it unique. Wine should be both emotional and intellectual. 

At Keswick, we seek to challenge the stereotype of a varietal to highlight what makes the grape distinctive and unique. You may know what you like or think about a particular varietal but we want to challenge that by helping you discover something new. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What are your top tips for a good tasting experience?

Stephan: Enjoy the wine – should be fun, engaging, and informative. Also, a good wine needs a good glass; stemware is important!

USTA Mid-Atlantic: How do you approach making wine? 

Stephan: At the end of the day we are farmers and at the mercy of the weather. We are winegrowers, not winemakers; that is at the core of what great wine is. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What is your favorite part about working in the wine industry?

Stephan: People and interactions are the best part of working with wine. I get the most satisfaction from people experiencing and enjoying the wine. That is what makes wine intriguing. I love meeting people that don’t know anything about wine and helping them find what they enjoy. It’s also exciting to challenge a seasoned wine drinker by helping them change their mind about a wine they thought they maybe didn’t like as much before. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What is the biggest misnomer or myth to debunk about Virginia wine?

Stephan:  Virginia doesn’t produce a lot of wine so it isn’t as widely distributed, but that doesn’t mean that Virginia doesn’t make world class wine!  There are some great varietals that Virginia does very well and better than other places. Also, Virginia wine is very competitively priced especially since there isn’t as much produced in the state as compared to California. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Do you play tennis? Or have you played tennis?

Stephan: I have played some tennis recreationally. Both my father and grandfather played back in South Africa. I have long supported South African players. I love watching it, there is just so much skill involved!

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What do you admire about the work of USTA Mid-Atlantic?

Stephan: Tennis teaches you a lot about dedication, discipline, and hard work. I love how grassroots the youth tennis programming is and how USTA MAS really is following through to develop and promote the growth of the sport. It’s easy for kids to get involved with sports like football, baseball, or basketball, but USTA MAS does a great job getting more younger players involved in tennis. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Do you think tennis has the power to change the world?

Stephan: Yes, because sports don’t discriminate.  Tennis can bring so many backgrounds and people together. It fosters a sense of community in challenging times and in happy times. It is healing for those that play sports and those that watch them without a doubt. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Do you have any final thoughts ?

Stephan: We are very excited about this opportunity and bringing people together through wine and tennis and being together as a community! 

EVENT DETAILS 

To learn more about Keswick Vineyards, please visit: https://www.keswickvineyards.com/

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Amir F: USTA Mid-Atlantic is for Everyone

Amir Head ShotThis month we caught up with USTA Mid-Atlantic volunteer, Amir Frydman.  Amir shared what he loves about tennis, why he thinks it is important to support the growth of tennis and why he donates to USTA Mid-Atlantic.

Why do you choose to support USTA Mid-Atlantic Section? 

Amir F.: I support USTA Mid-Atlantic because it is an amazing organization. There is nothing like seeing the joy people of all ages get from playing tennis. When they say tennis is a sport for life, it is absolutely true. USTA Mid-Atlantic has done a great job getting kids involved from the time they can hold a youth racquet to adults of every age playing tennis. There is no age limit especially when you fall in love with the sport. 

For me, the catalyst for a love of tennis has been the USTA and in particular the Mid-Atlantic Section. The Section is highly organized and makes it easy for every player of every ability and socioeconomic status to enjoy tennis, whether it is to socialize or to compete.

Make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year to support USTA Mid-Atlantic and our  effort to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region so that EVERYONE can play. 

Why do you feel we make a difference? How so? 

Amir F.: USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis is tennis for everyone. The Section has made tennis an activity without boundaries, especially through its after school and summer camp program. Whether there is a tennis court available or just a parking lot or a school gym, USTA Mid-Atlantic makes it accessible for everyone to play the game. They provide the equipment: racquets, nets, and the balls – all of it. They make it so fun and easy to get involved. There are few sports or activities that are not restricted by age, language, gender, race – tennis brings people from all walks of life together. That is why it is growing; and with the support of USTA Mid-Atlantic there are no limits.

Make a tax-deductible donation today and support the power of tennis to bring people together and change lives in our region.

What do you think about our after school and summer camp program? What do you think is different about this youth program? 

Amir F.: I absolutely love the program. I had the chance to visit the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis summer camp program this past summer. I was expecting a small group of children playing. Instead I saw a large group of children actively participating and learning with the program coaches. I could not believe how well organized the program was. It is never easy to get 30 kids of all levels excited and participating. Without exception everyone was having fun and everyone was engaged. The coaches did an amazing job teaching without making it look like they were teaching. 

One wonderful aspect was that while I noticed some different levels of talent or experience, the instructors made every kid feel great about themselves. The enthusiasm from the coaches and program director was contagious. I love tennis and seeing Alex, associate director of recreation programs for USTA Mid-Atlantic, get so excited when describing the programs made me a bigger fan than ever. KUDOS to Alex and the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section for getting so many kids excited about tennis from all over! 

Since 2016, USTA Mid-Atlantic has been introducing youth to tennis through summer camp and after school tennis programs and is committed to subsidizing the program so that the cost is lower and more children can participate. Generous donations help us bring more tennis programs to children all across the region.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to USTA Mid-Atlantic? 

Amir F.: If you love tennis whether actively participating in it or you have a child playing tennis or just love to watch tennis, think about why you love it so much. You probably fell in love with it watching the amazing athletes who make it look so effortless or taking a friend to a tennis court and hitting some balls or playing in a tournament or for one of so many many other reasons.  

Tennis opens up so many opportunities for so many to become part of a sport that lasts a lifetime. It provides opportunities to meet people from all walks of life who share the same passion for the sport regardless of age, gender or background. Giving to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section opens doors to more people, like yourself, to be a part of the world of tennis and the amazing benefits everyone gets from the sport.  

A donation of any size really does make a difference. Just visit a USTA Mid-Atlantic youth summer camp or watch a USTA League match and you will see why USTA Mid-Atlantic Section makes such a difference in so many lives in a fun and healthy way.

Tell us more about you. How long have you been playing tennis? What do you love most about the sport? Where are you from and what do you enjoy when you aren’t playing tennis?

Amir F.: I started playing tennis in lower school, but by 9th grade I fell in love with the sport. 

I think I got most excited about tennis when we lived in North Carolina and hosted a junior team from Israel. At the time, Israel was just developing their tennis program. The kids participating were all 12 and under. I was hoping to play with some of the 12 year olds and show them a thing or two that I, as a Junior in High School, knew about tennis. Well, I got schooled. These kids were amazing and were the best of the best. I just loved the fact how all the kids interacted and became friends so easily with each other and yet still competed fiercely.

I play tennis every chance I can get. It not only satisfies my need to exercise but there is no better way to let some steam out than hitting a tennis ball. Playing singles gives me the opportunity to decompress. The amazing thing about tennis is I can compartmentalize any work problems or other issues that come up during the day. When I am on the court, it is my time to just enjoy. Playing doubles gives me the opportunity to socialize and have fun!

When not playing tennis… when is that?  I love being with my wife, kids and dogs. My wife loves tennis too, so when we travel we usually bring our racquets.

It is through the love of tennis we can change lives together. You can help us continue to make tennis accessible to all in the Mid-Atlantic Section, and help us deliver more after school and summer camp tennis programs to ALL children in our region. With the year coming to an end, now is the time to make an annual gift. You can give a tax-deductible donation today!


USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Make a Difference: Try a Facebook Fundraiser for USTA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic tennis community has one thing in common – a passion and love for the sport of tennis that is so infectious you cant help but want to play the sport!  Meet any Mid-Atlantic tennis player and they will share all the reasons why tennis is so great, and then they will recruit you to play on their team too! It is this passion for tennis and influence that is so inspiring.

As a non-profit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic depends on this enthusiasm – and donations – to help us achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. We aim to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and our highest priority is to introduce tennis to all children.

Our youth tennis programs bring the sport to kids who may not ever have the opportunity to pick up a racquet. These programs are directly provided by USTA Mid-Atlantic and need support to grow to reach even more children with the benefits that only tennis can deliver.

This is where the Mid-Atlantic tennis community enthusiasm, creativity and passion can come in! We know there are many tennis players and enthusiasts that want to do more to support the mission. So here is a way you can get involved…

Rally your friends and family through a Facebook Fundraiser! 

By doing a Facebook Fundraiser in support of the USTA Mid-Atlantic you help put a racquet in the hands of a child, and help connect them with a sport for life! Facebook fundraisers are really easy to do and can be done to celebrate your birthday, a special occasion or just to do something good! 

Here are 3 easy steps to getting your Facebook fundraiser off the ground!

  1. Visit our USTA Mid-Atlantic Facebook Page and “like” our page!
  2. Click “Create Fundraiser” on our page or follow this link (https://www.facebook.com/fund/ustamas/) and follow the steps to create your own personalized Facebook Fundraising Page!
  3. Share your fundraiser with friends and family by inviting them from your friends list!

Just getting 10 friends to give $10 equates to $100 to support local youth tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section and that will make a big difference in a young child’s life. Doing good can be easy, fun and feels great! Give a Facebook fundraiser a try! 

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.