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. 

Five Ways to Give to Tennis on Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, it can feel hectic trying to figure out the best ways to give back. You want  to make the most of the day and ensure you are contributing in a meaningful way and know that your contribution will really make a difference. Now is a great time to think about how you want to celebrate Giving Tuesday and prepare to get involved, especially to support your  passion – tennis! 

Giving Tuesday is a popular day to give back to many types of charities and organizations. While most associate this day with making a monetary donation, there are other actions, in addition to making a gift, you can take to show your support to the causes you are passionate about.

We’ve rounded up a list of five ideas for you to help make giving back to tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region easy. 

1. Make plans with a friend to play tennis! Hit around at your local court and have some fun. Snap a pic and share it with us on social media by tagging us and using #GivingTuesday and #USTAMAS. Go one step further on Giving Tuesday and plan to sign up to play on a local league or join the fun in our low-pressure social tennis events. When you join us out on the courts you strengthen the fabric of the Mid-Atlantic tennis community.

 2. Make a Gift! On Giving Tuesday, you’ll feel great giving a gift to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section knowing it will support the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic and help increase access to the sport for all people. Simply go online and make a tax-deductible donation. Need some motivation? Check out why this local tennis player chooses to donate. Bonus reason: Your gift will be matched! 

This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to get DOUBLE the match! USTA Mid-Atlantic has an anonymous donor match this year for $10,000 and funds are still available to help exhaust this match! In addition, Facebook has also announced it’s 2019 Giving Tuesday match of up to $7 million! To take advantage of the Facebook match and our match set your alarm for 7:55 AM EDT on Dec. 3. At 8 AM, get online and go to USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Facebook page. The Facebook match will go LIVE at 8 AM so make sure you are there and ready to donate! All gifts made after 8AM EDT on Giving Tuesday will be matched up to $100,000 per charity and up to $20,000 per individual. This is a great opportunity to amplify your impact and help bring tennis to those that need it most! 

3. Help Teach Tennis. USTA Mid-Atlantic delivers high-quality after school and summer camp tennis programs in our region. Our programs help kids learn tennis skills, build character and give kids a healthy activity they can do for life!  We’ve helped thousands of children learn tennis in these programs and are looking for individuals that can coach with us – don’t worry, we fully train coaches and any tennis experience level is welcome! Learn more about working with us and open opportunities.

4. Start a Fundraising Page on Facebook. This is another easy way to get involved on Giving Tuesday. Use our guide to create a fundraising page on Facebook and rally your friends to donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section and help more kids get access to tennis. Gifts to your Facebook fundraising page can also be matched!

5. Spread the Word about Tennis. You follow us on all the major social media platforms, right? If not, then plan to give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On Giving Tuesday, an easy way you can show support is to share a social media post from us with your friends and encourage others to follow along to find out more about tennis (and maybe why you are on the courts so much)! 

Any action you take to support tennis and USTA Mid-Atlantic Section on Giving Tuesday is one that will make an impact. Your support may mean that one more child gets the chance to learn tennis for the very first time, when before they had not been able to play. Your gift may help with a tennis court refurbishment project that will make a community court a safe place to play, or you may be helping support a scholarship to a junior player that enables them to pay for a high-level tournament they wouldn’t have been able to afford. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is a 501c3 non-profit on a 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 ALL children to the sport. How will you show support on Giving Tuesday? 

Find out more about our mission and why you should support USTA Mid-Atlantic this Giving Tuesday.


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.