Girl Scouts Jordan Neely, right, from Richmond and Maureen Keller, center, from Chesapeake, smile after unveiling the statue of Elizabeth Keckly, left, seamstress and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln, at the dedication of the Virginia Women's Monument inside Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. A total of seven statues were unveiled.

Thumbs up to Virginia Sparkling Co. and Veritas Vineyard & Winery, which is based in the Nelson County village of Afton, on the announcement earlier this week of a sparkling wine production facility that will soon be opening.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced Monday that Virginia Sparkling Co., which is affiliated with Veritas, would be investing almost $600,000 in the operation, creating six new jobs in the process. The governor’s office approved a $40,000 grant for the expansion, with Nelson County matching with local dollars.

The company will manufacture Champagne-style sparkling wines under the labels of the wineries it will be working with.

The facility will be housed in a former textile mill on Virginia 151 in Nelson. That stretch of the roadway is better known as the Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail, and there’s already a tasting room for Flying Fox Vineyard & Winery already located in the mill.

Sounds like it soon might be time for a road trip to Afton!

* * *

Thumbs up, really, to all Virginians, on the unveiling last month of the Virginia Women’s Monument in Capitol Square in Richmond.

It’s been a long time in the talking-about, planning, fundraising and construction phases, but there is finally a monument on the grounds of the State Capitol to the women in Virginia history who have made contributions to the commonwealth over the course of the last four centuries.

Seven life-size bronze statues were unveiled Oct. 19 with five more to come. Those honored include Anne Burras Laydon, colonist; Cockacoeske, Pamunkey chief; Mary Draper Ingles, frontierswoman; Martha Washington, first lady; Clementina Rind, printer; Elizabeth Keckly, seamstress and author; Sally L. Tompkins, hospital administrator; Maggie L. Walker, entrepreneur and civil rights leader; Sarah G. Jones, physician; Laura S. Copenhaver, entrepreneur and Lutheran lay leader; Virginia E. Randolph, educator; and Adèle Clark, suffragist and artist. Behind the statues is a Wall of Honor inscribed with the names of more than 200 other notable Virginia women, including several with ties to Lynchburg including Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer, artist Georgia Morgan, civil rights activist Mary Rice Hayes-Allen and aviator Lucille Chaffin Kent.

Making the monument a reality brought together folks of all backgrounds and erased any political lines. Indeed, one strong backer was Susan Allen, wife of George Allen, a former Republican governor, and Mary Margaret Whipple, a longtime Democratic member of the General Assembly.

The monument cost about $3.7 million to construct, and only $125,000 remains to be raised. We’re glad that Virginia is finally recognizing and honoring her “Founding Mothers.”

Load comments