Spotlight: Harris Hill Ski Jump
Jan10

Spotlight: Harris Hill Ski Jump

The Harris Hill Ski Jump, New England’s only Olympic-sized, 90-meter ski jumping hill, hosts its annual two-day ski jumping event Feb. 20 and 21, 2016. The event features the Brattleboro-specific Fred Harris Memorial Tournament and the Pepsi Challenge. The weekend also serves as the U.S. Cup Finals of the United States American Ski Jumping (USASJ) series. Founded in 1922, the competition attracts several thousand spectators each year to cheer on local jumpers reaching great heights and watch world-renowned jumpers soar in the sport of ski jumping. Seven nations sent their best to compete in last year’s event. A family-focused event, the Harris Hill Ski Jumping Competition weekend includes opening ceremonies featuring local musical artists, appearances by Jumper the mascot, food and drink vendors, a bonfire, and more. The anticipation and excitement of the spectators, focus and friendliness of the athletes, and festive atmosphere make the southern Vermont ski jump a favorite among jumpers. Gates open daily at 10 a.m.The first trial jump is at 11. Ticket sales for the event will commence in January 2016. Admission $20 adults, $15 youth (age 6-12). Kids 5 and younger free. Harris Hill Ski Jump For more information, and to take advantage of early ticket sales, visit http://www.HarrisHillSkiJump.com or find Harris Hill on Facebook or...

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Inner Fire: Healing the soul
Jan10

Inner Fire: Healing the soul

Inner Fire offers a different approach to mental illness and addictions: art By Katherine P. Cox They reach rural Vermont seeking peace from the tumult of their lives and healing from the illnesses and addictions that feed that turmoil. At Inner Fire in Brookline, adults suffering from mental illnesses and addictions spend a year in an intense farm-based, artistic program that helps bring order back to their lives through various therapies, diet, work, and outdoor experiences in a bucolic farmhouse setting amid meadows and fields. It’s all done while tapering off or even foregoing the psychotropic medications traditionally prescribed as the first course of treatment for those suffering from mental illnesses. And because words matter, Beatrice Birch and her husband, Tom Kavet, who founded Inner Fire, say “mental illness” is a reductionist view. They refer to such challenges as “soul illness.” “Inner Fire is all about choice,” Beatrice Birch says. “It’s a community for people recovering from debilitating traumatic experiences without the use of psychotropic drugs.” The key, she explains, is rhythm and order: “You can’t create inner order if your outer life is chaotic. Everyone has a schedule. Everything is therapeutic. When you garden, for example, you tend something and nurture it and create beauty. Food feeds the body but beauty feeds the soul.” It is the soul that is out of balance when a person is dealing with mental illness, abuse, trauma, and addiction, she says. Inner Fire’s six patients, or seekers, as they’re called here, are working their way through a yearlong day program that began in September. Their day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Depending on the season, they work in the gardens and forests on the property. They cook, using all local and organic food, and tend to housekeeping chores — “learning how to take care of their shelter,” Birch says. After a rest, during which time the seekers receive liver compresses, they participate in group counseling and one-on-one sessions that include art therapy. The arts, central to the healing process for the seekers at Inner Fire, include music, spacial dynamics, eurythmy, speech arts, and biographical work. Birch, who has been working in Europe and the United States with Hauschka Artistic Therapy for more than 30 years, explains the art therapy is a non-analytic, proactive process that works with the relationships between the individual’s body and soul. She says her experience enables her to recognize the needs of the individual in relation to the medium that would be most supportive in their journey of healing. Typical media used here are watercolors, clay, pastel, and charcoal. They help rebuild a life....

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Wild Madder Design: Paring down to the poetry
Jan10

Wild Madder Design: Paring down to the poetry

Interior designers help their clients find the simple beauty in their home environment Native fall foliage in an antique ceramic vessel Interior designers help their clients find the simple beauty in their home environment By Katherine P. Cox Chatting over a picket fence in Grafton, they became friends. It’s a perfect metaphor for the two women who also became business partners two years ago with their Grafton-based home design firm, Wild Madder Design. The aesthetic of Kate Conklin and Molly Leuschel combines a picket fence’s natural charm with the modern sensibilities of good design in what they call modern rustic. “We bring a different option that’s fresh and original. It’s an eclectic blend of vintage, contemporary, natural, and handmade,” Leuschel said. Conklin and Leuschel draw their inspiration from two books, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren, and Wabi Inspirations by the Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt. Wabi-Sabi, Leuschel said, is basically a Japanese concept based on observing nature. “Nothing’s perfect, permanent or complete,” she explained. The Wild Madder Design approach “is about a feeling that comes with simple beauty,” Conklin said. “People are drawn to working with more natural materials and things that age — repurposing salvaged wood or a salvaged piece of linen; using flowers from the garden rather than exotic blooms from a florist.” Likewise, they said they would rather work with what their clients have tucked away in the attic — or use the work of local artists and craftspeople — than decorate their homes with mass-produced items. “We all need functional objects. It’s about making choices that have meaning. It might be something in the attic or at a yard sale down the street,” Conklin said. Building relationships with local artists and craftspeople further expands what Wild Madder Design can offer its clients. According to Leuschel, the design process is not about replacing furniture but rather enhancing peoples’ surroundings. It’s not just choosing colors but instead considering depth of color, she added. Connecting indoor and outdoor spaces is important, as are textures and surfaces, paints and finishes. Stressing that their design aesthetic is not “country,” Conklin added, “We like the idea of having a broad range of clients, both rural and urban, residential and commercial. We believe that access to beauty and good design is a basic service and should be available to all.” As a designer, Leuschel said she wants to help clients reassess their lives, simplify, and “edit out the stuff that isn’t important; that’s a burden.” She’s guided by a quote from Leonard Koren: “Pare down to the essence but don’t remove the poetry.” In New England, there’s poetry...

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A quality of warmth: R. John Wright’s collectable dolls
Jan10

A quality of warmth: R. John Wright’s collectable dolls

A Bennington company lovingly produces felt dolls the old-fashioned way By Bonnie J. Ross R. John Wright was meeting up with his wife, Susan, to cast their votes for Jimmy Carter in the presidential election of 1976. John, who had just lost his job at a hardware store in Brattleboro but who had spent several years becoming fascinated by the world of doll making, held something wrapped in a blanket. “Want to see?” he asked Susan. She peered down into the black button eyes of a crude doll hastily made from yellow flannel and sheep’s wool and stitched from her husband’s own imagination. Little could the couple imagine that this first doll, comical and pale, would one day be insured for $1 million and occupy a crystal case in Japan, where it would be viewed by reverential doll collectors. The Wrights are now the president and vice president, respectively, of the R. John Wright Company, a collectible doll manufacturing company that is renowned worldwide and nestled in a little white house and brick schoolhouse building just outside of historic Old Bennington, where they have produced the limited editions of dolls since 2004. There, the Wrights have translated their interest in the historic art form into a firm that has created more than 30 series of dolls inspired by the work of illustrators in classic children’s literature: think E. H. Shepard (Winnie-the-Pooh), Sir John Tenniel (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), and Beatrix Potter, creator of children’s books with charming drawings. The company focuses on the intrinsic challenge of creating a well-known classic character in doll form, as if it stepped right off the page or screen. But it’s not merely the dolls’ design that conjures another era. The company’s approach to dollmaking is something of a lost art, as Susan Wright points out. Susan notes that the Wright doll company is the first modern producer of collectible dolls to use molded felt, the method used to make the comical German Steiff character dolls or sideways-gazing Italian Lenci dolls. Both styles of doll saw a peak in popularity during the 1910s and 1930s, respectively. In both cases, felt gave way to the more malleable vinyl or plastic. Felt dolls are formed through a complex sequence of modeling and molding that begins in the R. John Wright Company’s second-floor design studio. The studio is populated by Canadian author/illustrator Palmer Cox’s caricatural Brownies paper dolls; different stages of molded and cast doll arms, legs, and shoes; stuffed animals in various prototype stages; and a richly illustrated library of classic children’s books. On a nicked and comfortably untidy worktable, John Wright uses a series of...

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Cozy-casual Four Columns Inn lives again
Jan10

Cozy-casual Four Columns Inn lives again

Luxury stays, fine dining, gardens, and you Four Columns Inn has been the touchpoint of southern Vermont’s cultural, artistic, and culinary scene since 1965. That tradition is honored in the newly renovated and reopened Four Columns. In the 1960s, when the Inn was first opened as a guest house, it was imagined as a top-level lodging and dining destination. Operated by Rene and Pierrette Chardain, the Four Columns was the first true farm-to-table restaurant in the United States, preceding the legendary Alice Waters by four years. The pond was stocked with trout; the garden abounded with vegetables and herbs; chickens and pigs were raised on-site; game birds were sourced from local hunters. The Inn became a top-notch national destination. Executive Chef Greg Parks built on that foundation for 35 years. The Chardains sold the Inn in 1981. Loyal patrons were heartbroken when, after seeing a change in owners several times, the Four Columns Inn closed its doors nearly two years ago. Looking at the jewel — located in gorgeous Newfane’s square and so easily accessible from New York City, Boston, and Hartford — Charles Mallory, founder and CEO of the Delamar Hotels in Connecticut, saw an opportunity to restore what he boasts as “a treasure we couldn’t lose.” Together with Chef Frederic Kieffer, Mallory decided to put Four Columns back on the map by pairing it with Artisan Restaurant and continuing the inn’s commitment to support sustainable practices. Renovations have been underway for the past 18 months. Today the inn enjoys a contemporary look rooted in its peaceful Vermont heritage. All 16 rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed, many with oversized bathrooms, soaking tubs, and fireplaces. Each is an oasis of tranquility and luxury. Mallory says he and Kieffer wanted to maintain all that people loved about Four Columns, and took great care to further enhance their experience. To complete the Four Columns’ renaissance, a wellness center and spa were added, with a European-style steam room and a fully stocked gym that complements the outdoor pool. Hiking and snow-shoe trails let nature lovers traverse 138 gorgeous acres. A natural stream and magnificent gardens provide the ultimate country wedding and event destination. Here guests will see that no effort was spared in proving due respect to the inn’s — and the village’s — heritage. Farm-conscious Artisan Restaurant and Tavern celebrates the abundance of agriculture and food craftspeople of Vermont. From this base of simple, authentic ingredients, Kieffer creates plentiful, wholesome dishes that appeal to all palates and cultivate the Artisan philosophy. The Tavern was envisioned to be a favorite spot for diners to enjoy simpler fare. In this cozy-casual setting,...

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Maple season events
Jan10

Maple season events

Vermont Maple Open House Weekend Various locations throughout Vermont http://www.vermontmaple.org April 2-3: Visit sugarhouses and restaurants across Vermont and see how maple syrup is made. Join our family tradition and take part in all the fun! Each sugarhouse offers guests a unique experience: Some hold pancake breakfasts; others offer wagon or sleigh rides. At some sugarhouses you can ski or snowshoe through the woods; others offer a chance to taste authentic sugar on snow. Check back closer to the date for updated information and a complete listing of participating sugarhouses. Whitingham Maple Festival Various locations around Whitingham http://www.whitingham-maplefest.us April 2-3: Whitingham Maple Festival celebrates an important aspect of the town’s economic and cultural heritage. Eight of our 18 Whitingham sugar makers have graciously opened the doors of their sugar houses and given their time so that residents, visitors, and guests will gain a better understanding and appreciation for the art and science of maple syrup and sugar making — and the historical importance of sugaring to our town. Whitingham, the birthplace of Brigham Young, boasts two monuments noting Young’s achievements. The town is located in southern Vermont, approximately 25 miles north of Greenfield, Mass., and between Bennington and Brattleboro. Shearer Hill Farm Maple Festival Shearer Hill Farm, Wilmington http://www.shearerhillfarm.com April 2-3: Whitingham Maple Festival takes place every year just a few miles from Shearer Hill Farm. This self-guided tour allows visitors to tour several sugarhouses throughout our area. Meet the sugarers, see how they run their sugaring operations, and sample their syrup hot from the boiler. And let us tell you, nothing tastes better than freshly boiled Vermont maple syrup! The sugarhouses you’ll visit are old and new, so you’ll see a wonderful cross-section of maple sugaring techniques and...

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Winter carnivals & festivals
Jan10

Winter carnivals & festivals

Brattleboro Winter Carnival Various locations throughout Brattleboro http://www.brattleborowintercarnival.org Feb 13-22: Every year, the town of Brattleboro comes together for Winter Carnival. There will be music, karaoke, an ice fishing derby, a queen’s pageant, a pancake breakfast, an ice skating show, sleigh rides, a petting zoo, a country-western jamboree, and more. This is always a fun party in downtown Brattleboro. Stowe Winter Carnival Various locations in Stowe http://www.stowewintercarnival.com Jan 16-30: Stowe shines with more than 20 major activities for young and old. Locals and tourists alike will enjoy the carnival’s zany sports events, ice carving competitions, ski movies, Kids Carnival Kaos, a new Broomball Tournament and Beer Garden event, a Las Vegas Night Gala, and the infamous Snow Golf and Snow Volleyball tournaments. Tour the town while watching professional ice carvers create elegant, masterful ice carvings throughout the village on Demonstration Day. Come celebrate the carnival’s theme, “All Stowed In.” Bennington Winter Carnival Various locations in North Bennington http://www.bennington.com Jan 30: The Village of North Bennington is thrilled to announce its annual village-wide Winterfest and Penguin Plunge. Start your day off with a quick dip in the frigid waters of Lake Paran at the Penguin Plunge. You can opt out of the swim by cheering on the brave souls raising money for the Special Olympics at the Lake Paran Boat Launch. The Vermont Arts Exchange once again hosts the After-Plunge Party at Sage Street Mill, right around the corner from Lake Paran. Walk or take a hay ride up to the North Bennington train station to cheer on local novices at the annual Ice Sculpture Competition as they transform blocks of ice into works of art. Sculpture judging and prizes awarded at 3p. Also at the station, create your own hot chocolate masterpiece benefiting Bennington Dollars for Scholars and enjoy fun and games led by our area Girl Scouts. World-famous Girl Scout Cookies will also be available for offer! Grafton Winter Carnival Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center, Grafton http://www.graftoninnvermont.com February (day TBD): Head to Grafton Ponds for plenty of outdoor winter fun. There will be ice skating, tubing, cross-country skiing, and more. Chester Winter Carnival Various locations in Chester http://www.visitchester.com February (day TBD): Come to Chester to celebrate winter — in snow, rain, or shine — with free family fun. There will be ice carving, a chili cook-off, a tractor parade, beads and balloons, face painting and masks, street performers, and restaurant, shop, and gallery specials. Dress warm, dress up, or dress any way you like. It’s a time to wear a silly hat, mask, or costume. Mardi Gras at Mount Snow Main Base Area, Mount Snow, West Dover http://www.mountsnow.com Feb...

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Music & theater
Jan10

Music & theater

Vermont Arts Exchange Masonic Temple, 504 Main St., Bennington http://www.vtartxchange.org, 802 442-5549 Jan 9: Bella’s Bartok, Balkan-inspired, Klezmer-influenced, a circus-like sound, group harmonies, a bohemian vibe, dancy tunes, all with something of a punk edge. Jan 30: Dirty Bourbon River Show. Tight, multi-faceted sound and high-energy performance blending New Orleans big brass, smooth-croon lounge, jazzy sax solos, and staccato piano jams. Brattleboro Music Center 38 Walnut St, Brattleboro http://www.bmcvt.org, 802 257-4523 Dec 18: Music School Holiday Open House, 5p. Jan 15 & 17: Windham Orchestra presents Stars, 7:30p. Jan 23: Brattleboro Concert Choir: Luminous Nights, 3p. Jan 30: 2016 Northern Roots Festival, all day. Jan 31: BMC Chamber Series: Heath Quartet, 4p. Feb 27: BMC Faculty Showcase Concert, 7p. March 6: BMC Chamber Series: Benjamin Hochman, 4p. Manchester Music Festival First Congregational Church, Manchester http://www.mmfvt.org, 802 362-1956 Dec 31: 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Family Concert, 3:30p. Dec 31: New Year’s Eve Bash, 5:30p. New England Youth Theatre 100 Flat St., Brattleboro http://www.neyt.org, 802 246-6398 Opening Jan 2: Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project’s Comedy of Errors. Opening Jan 22: Princess Willow and the Thieves. Opening Feb 12: The Jungle Book. Opening April 14: Stagestruck. Next Stage Arts Project 15 Kimball Hill Road, Putney http://www.nextstagearts.org Jan 9: Renovation Celebration! Dance Party with Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez, 7:30p. Opera Theatre of Weston 110 Dale Road, Weston http://www.operatheatreofweston.com, 802 824-3821 Jan 4, 10 & 11: The Secret Garden, world premiere of the newly revised version. Stone Church Arts 20 Church St., Bellows Falls stonechurcharts.org, 802 463-3100 Jan 17: Festival of Mandolin Chamber Music, 3p. Jan 29: Ian Ethan Case, guitar, and Bertram Lehmann, percussion, 7:30p. March 18: St. Patrick’s Fiddle Frenzy, featuring Pete’s Posse and Friends, 7:30p. Vermont Symphony Orchestra Various locations in Vermont http://www.vso.org, 800 876-9293 Dec 19: Brass Quintet/Counterpoint, White Church, Grafton, 5p. Dec 20: Brass Quintet/Counterpoint, First Congregational Church, Manchester, 4p. Vermont Jazz Center 72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro http://www.vtjazz.org, 802 254-9088 Jan 23: Bobby Broom Trio, Chicago Jazz Legends, 8p. Feb 13: Eric Alexander Quartet with Scott Mullett, 8p. March 12: Fred Hersch Trio, 8p. March 26: Under the Radar Series presents Michael Zsoldos, String Quartet, 8p. April 16: Renee Rosnes Quartet,...

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At the museums
Jan10

At the museums

Bennington Center for the Arts 44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington 10a to 5p, Wed-Mon (closed Tues) http://www.thebennington.org, 802 442-7158 Ongoing: Exhibitions by many of the country’s most prestigious groups along with artists we chose to participate in shows that we curate annually have given The Bennington a reputation of a venue that exhibits only world-class art in an elegant, state-of-the-art facility. At the Covered Bridge Museum, discover the history and legends of covered bridges in the world’s only museum dedicated to their preservation. Also on site are a variety of wind sculptures — some up to 27 feet tall. Bennington Museum 75 Main St., Route 9, Bennington 10a to 5p (closed Wed) http://www.benningtonmuseum.org, 802 477-1571 Thru Dec 29: The Festival, Reimagined. Twenty-eight pieces of original artwork created by contemporary artists who have re-imagined, reinterpreted, and responded to the 4-foot Memory Ware Tower, one of the newest additions to the museum’s collection, are on view and ready for your bid in a closed bid auction, which ends Dec 29. Thru Dec 31: The Other Working Landscape: Watercolors by Tom Leytham, an exhibition in which artist and architect Tom Leytham brings to the viewer images of a working landscape that hides in plain sight. While most think of hayfields, woodlands, and pastures as working landscapes, Leytham creates paintings from the harsh beauty of dilapidating industrial landscapes including mills, factories and quarries. Ongoing: The museum offers 13 galleries of permanent and changing exhibits from the newly installed masterworks by Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses in the Grandma Moses Gallery to new paintings by Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jules Olitski in Bennington Modernism. Brattleboro Museum & Art Center 10 Vernon St., Brattleboro 11a to 5p (closed Tues) http://www.brattleboromuseum.org, 802 257-0124 Thru Jan 3: Shedding Light on the Working Forest. A collaboration between painter Kathleen Kolb and poet Verandah Porche, this exhibit celebrates the working forest and the voices of those who have honed their skills and made a living there. Thru Jan 3: Stories in Color: Bruce Linn. Vibrant paintings reveal a mastery of color. Linn exploits the ability of color to evoke emotional and symbolic associations and describe the world. Feb 6: 13th Annual Collegiate A Cappella Concert, 7:30p. Thru Feb 8: Drawing On, In, Out. I love the experience of looking at drawings. They have an immediacy that is often masked in paintings and sculptures. Thru Feb 8: Recovering the Body. In their collaborative painting series, Recovering the Body, Craig Stockwell and Jon L. McAuliffe join their disparate artistic styles and techniques to explore themes of agency and artistic impulse. Feb 15: 9th Annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza, 5p. Feb 25: Georgia...

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Spotlight: Helmholz Fine Art
Jan10

Spotlight: Helmholz Fine Art

Following a successful pop-up gallery in 2014, the new permanent home of Helmholz Fine Art Gallery is now in Manchester Square, where a raw space that stood empty for four years is transformed to a wonderful modern gallery. Lisa Helmholz-Adams boasts an impressive background in the fashion, arts, and sports worlds. She spent 20 years running a local gallery in Manchester and now, with her own fine art gallery, she has the freedom to channel proceeds from the business to her philanthropic initiative: Global Reach, through which she can pursue her vision to aid humanitarian causes and concerns around the world. Hunger Free Vermont is the first of many organizations to receive generous financial, public relations, and press support from Helmholz Fine Art through Global Reach. New works from gallery artists including Lisa Cueman, Mark Wilson Meunier, Margot Nimiroski, Stephen Schaub, Elizabeth Torak, and Thomas Torak on view during regular gallery hours. Through Schaub’s images, rather than experiencing a literal place or a linear story, we encounter something akin to the fragmentation of an emotional memory — or the illogic of a dream. Depicting scenes of unresolved narrative, these images seem to have been subjected to the vagaries of perception and the passage of time. Schaub is an innovator whose works defy classification. His artworks combine monumentality of scale with light-sensitive techniques and the presentation of works on paper to create each singular, unique work of art. Helmholz Fine Art Feb 15-March 5, opening reception Feb 13, 5-7: Stephen Schaub, Art Dreaming About Itself. Selected artworks by Stephen Schaub on rare, handmade papers. 442 Depot St., Manchester Center http://www.helmholzfineart.com, 802...

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Farmers’ markets
Jan10

Farmers’ markets

Bennington Bennington Winter Farmers’ Market First and third Saturdays through April 16, 10a-1p First Baptist Church on East Main, http://www.benningtonfarmersmarket.org Brattleboro Brattleboro Winter Farmers’ Market Saturdays thru March 26, 10a-2p River Garden, downtown Brattleboro, http://www.Facebook.com/BrattleboroWinter FarmersMarket Dorset Dorset Winter Farmers’ Market Sundays thru May 1, 10a-2p J.K. Adams Kitchen Store on Route 30, http://www.dorsetfarmersmarket.com Montpelier Capital City Farmers’ Market Saturdays thru April, 10a-2p Vermont College of Fine Arts gym, http://www.montpelierfarmersmarket.com, 802 223-2958 Norwich Norwich Farmers’ Market Select Saturdays, 10a-1p Tracy Hall on Main St., http://www.norwichfarmersmarket.org Rutland Vermont Winter Farmers’ Market Wednesdays thru May, 3-6p Vermont Farmers Food Center, West Street,...

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Champagne: When it’s time to sparkle
Jan10

Champagne: When it’s time to sparkle

By Marty Ramsburg Celebrate — ’Tis the season! No wine connotes celebration more than something sparkling. Those gorgeous little air pockets so excited to be released from captivity set the tone and convey the mood. We have tried to spread the love by starting many of our get-togethers with sparkling. Family and friends, after all, are the relationships that deserve the greatest commemoration. At our shop, Windham Wines, we have worked to curate a range of sparklings at myriad prices so that we can affordably celebrate the everyday events that bring us joy. Windham Wines stocks sparkling wines from France, Italy, Spain, Austria, South Africa, and the United States. The gold standard of sparkling, however, remains Champagne. By Champagne, of course, we mean sparkling wine from that region of France just to the east of Paris, demarcated by a governing board that sets criteria for qualification. Of the 304 million bottles of Champagne sold in 2014, more than 66 percent were produced by a few large houses that controlled more than 90 percent of the export market. Not surprisingly, these large houses are often owned by even larger, diversified conglomerates such as Louis Vuitton-Moët Hennessey (Moët and Domaine Chandon, Maison Veuve Clicquot, Krug, and Ruinart, among others) and Seagram’s (Mumm, Perrier-Jouët, Piper-Heidsieck, Pommery). While the Grande Marques dominate production and sales, they collectively own only 12 percent of all of Champagne’s vineyards. In order to produce the quantities of wine that they do — Moët and Chandon, for instance, produce more than 25 million bottles annually — they must buy the majority of their grapes from other growers throughout the region. Other large players in the Champagne market are co-ops — collections of growers who combine their grapes to sell to the Grande Marques or produce their own brand of Champagne, such as Feuillatte or Jacquart. The combination of big houses and co-ops accounts for more than 95 percent of the Champagne sold in the States. Should you visit Windham Wines for Champagne you will likely be hard-pressed to find a label you recognize. We select Champagnes principally from a third, and much smaller, group of Champagne producers: farmers who grow their own grapes and make their own wines. Of the 15,628 growers in Champagne, just 2,034 make Champagne under their own label. These are the kinds of enterprises and people we want to support when we sell wine. As important, we think that these Champagnes come closer to expressing the specificity of place that the concept of terroir and the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation are meant to convey. We have loved exploring the world of grower Champagnes....

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