Winemaker Weekend

Food & Drink, Travel July 25th, 2014 — by:

wine weekendIf you’ve ever dreamed of being a winemaker, then this is your chance… The 2nd Annual Winemaker Weekend at the lovely VGS Chateau Potelle is just around the corner and there are still a few spaces left. Longtime friend of Taigan and third generation winemaker, Jean-Noel Fourmeaux will help you blend the best wine for your taste and then they will record  your “assemblage” and bottle 3 cases of your personal 2013 red wine, etched with your name, in three different bottle formats. Once glance at the itinerary has us ready to sign on the dotted line!

Program Details: 

Friday, September 19
6:00 – 9:00 PM: Welcome Reception in our Tasting House & Garden. We’ll start with our signature tasting – our wines paired with food bites by Michelin starred La Toque Restaurant – and then relax together over heavy hors d’oeuvres served with Library wines.

Saturday, September 20
9:30 AM – 1 PM: Blending Experience. First, I will instruct you about the characteristics and flavor profiles of each varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Through a blending demonstration, you will see how each varietal affects the other ones, how they each can be part of a blend and in what manner they can contribute to the blend you want to create. Through the artistry of blending, I will show you where the science stops and the art begins! Then I will humbly become your assistant winemaker. With pipettes, graduated tubes, bottles and glasses in hand, you will discover what best suits your own palate and craft your own wine! How fun is that?

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Lunch at C Casa. Just a short walk over to the Oxbow Market to enjoy tacos like you’ve never had. Open faced tacos that are purely exceptional!

3 – 5:30 PM: Cooking Class. La Toque has long been renowned for its wine and food creations. Chef Ken Frank works with his sommelier team to carefully pair each dish with a particular wine. He will demonstrate some of his favorite recipes and highlight what it takes to make food “wine friendly.”

7:00 PM: Apéritif and Champagne on the private patio of La Toque followed by the dinner Chef Ken Frank designed to accompany the VGS wines.

Sunday, September 21
9:30 AM – Noon: Brunch in the Vineyard. Your winemaking weekend will conclude with a leisurely brunch on Cloud Nine. Enjoy the serenity and beauty of our Mt. Veeder Mountain Vineyard.

$5,500/couple for this fantastic experience and 3 cases of your personal 2013 red wine, etched with your name, in three different bottle formats (750 ml X 24 bottles, 1.5L X 4 bottles, and 3L X 1 bottle). Wine will be bottled in June 2015. Accommodations and transportation not included. Payment is transferable but not refundable.

To purchase the Winemaker Weekend or to sample some of VGS Chateau Potelle’s products visit

The Perfect Cheese Board

Food & Drink July 22nd, 2014 — by:


Making the perfect cheese board is an art. Here are a few tips on how to create a beautiful and tasty spread!

1. Start with a beautiful “canvas”. We recommend the Brooklyn Slate products (pictured above) for a rustic look, or this marble version from And George for a more refined take.

Marble Cutting Board

2. Add cheese. Select a variety of cheeses. Try different textures, regions, etc. Some of our favorite go-to cheeses are listed below.

Thomasville Tomme

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Southern Belle Goat Cheese

Asher Blue

Lil Moo

Cave Aged Gruyere

 3. Accessorize Accordingly.

Seven Pepper Jelly

Roasted and Salted Pecans

Charcuterie Trio

Artisan Honey


4. Dig in! 

Gibralter Cheese Set

Tortoise Cheese Knives



High Heel Praise

Fashion July 21st, 2014 — by:

High Heel Heaven has us thinking about shoes of the highest variety. The book really says it best…. “From classic to tribal and luxe to vintage, there is a shoe out there to fit every foot and this joyous celebration highlights some of the most exquisite examples of high heels you could ever wear or covet.”

Take a walk on the wild side with these Aperlai sandals in a funky print with yellow laces.

These versatile, fashion forward heels are great for now… and later. Wear them now with a little white dress or later with skinny jeans and a great blazer.

When Elvis sang about blue suede shoes he’d clearly never laid eyes on these funky green velvet pumps. These fashion forward stunners will definitely turn a few heads!


We love a good d’Orsay pump. This point toe suede version by Vince is about as classic as it gets. An absolute wardrobe staple.

Cinderella doesn’t have anything on Susan van der Linde’s Glass Slingback. This blast from the past is making a comeback.

The Celia by Peter Nappi is another shoe that is great for now and later. We love the chunky heel, antiqued silver buckle and hand stitched front.


People July 15th, 2014 — by:

Hillary Crittendon & Laura Martin are Co-Founders of The SoGood, a premium local discovery network of the best artists, makers, and businesses across the US.

As longtime friends, the duo has relied on each other for advice on everything from boys, brands, and college choices to careers, art, and dermatologists. Recognizing the value of that advice and realizing how frequently women turn to friends for recommendations is what led them to combine forces in 2013 to create The SoGood, a place where women can discover the best local businesses based on trusted recommendations from friends and tastemakers. The SoGood’s mobile app was created with a discerning consumer in mind — it is highly curated, very visual, and discovery is driven by the recommendations of people you trust. This means you can easily discover which interior designer your friend works with or the floral designer that a top wedding planner, like Tara Guérard, recommends.

We recently launched The SoGood in New Orleans and Saint James Cheese Shop, just off of Prytania Street in Uptown, was one of our favorite finds. In fact, it might just be our favorite cheese shop south of the Mason Dixon line. We were almost giddy to discover that we could order their cheese directly to our doorstep. Since we’re traveling so much this summer and acting as guests to so many gracious friends, we also love the idea of sending this as a hostess gift!

Every cake from Caroline’s Cakes is a sinful and delicious treat. While we typically order her classic Seven Layer Caramel Cake, we’re drooling over this perfect-for-summer Seven Layer Lemon Cake.

Who doesn’t love a great summer cocktail? Brooks Reitz’ founder of Jack Rudy crafted a perfectly sweet and tart cocktail for our launch party in Charleston. The recipe is simple and the result is delightful!

The SoTipsy Hamilton Sour

In a large rocks glass combine,
1.5 oz white whiskey
1.5 oz water
.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz Jack Rudy Small Batch Grenadine
Stir with one large ice cube and serve.

We’re constantly entertaining in the summer and love making cocktails, iced tea, or lemonade in advance to keep things simple and easy.  This drink dispenser from Absolution in Nashville, TN is refreshingly modern and the perfect addition to any hostess’ tabletop collection.

Shall we continue with this cocktail theme? A rolling bar cart is a chic and easy way to transition your entertaining outdoors. We love this simple and fun lacquered bar cart by Nashville-based Jonathan Savage at SAVAGE Interior Design.

To wrap up summer entertaining, we love these linen hemstitch napkins by the Lettered Olive, a stationery & entertaining company created by one of the country’s top event planners, Tara Guérard. Perfect for a cocktail party or a lovely hostess gift!

Atlanta based A. Barclay makes the most delicious scarves and wraps. In the winter, there’s nothing better than wrapping yourself in one of their oversized light-as-a-feather cashmere scarves. But in the summer it’s all about this silk cotton wrap – beautifully screen-printed in Italy and a luxurious way to cover up at the beach.

These Iris & Co. scented candles by Birmingham based designer Iris Thorpe may just be one of the best kept secrets in the South. The scents of these candles are gorgeous – our favorite summer scent is olive blossom – and they are very reasonably priced to boot. A great hostess gift!

We’re huge fans of Charleston based children’s clothing line Pixie Lily. Hillary welcomed a baby boy into her family in April and has loved outfitting him in these versatile and classic handmade items.

Minerals are having a moment. Seraphine Designs handcrafts gorgeous jewelry from metals and minerals that are both unique and memorable. This pyrite and malachite bracelet is a showstopper!

Can we all pause for a moment to check out this amethyst cuff? We’re not sure we can pull it off – but boy, would we like to try.

Mi Ossa’s hand-crafted, gilded metal cuffs and clutches demonstrate truly superior craftsmanship. And we love the casual yet sophisticated vibe of their work. Who doesn’t love a clutch that works just as well with jeans and boots as it does with cocktail attire?

Hillary spent her undergrad years in Chapel Hill, one of the outposts for Foster’s Market. While she can no longer pop by the original for their to-die-for tarragon chicken salad, she regularly turns to Sara Foster’s cookbooks to recreate their specialties in her own kitchen.

Anyone who knows us (or frankly anyone who follows us on instagram) can tell we both have a strong sweet tooth. We die for Honeysuckle Gelato. A great surprise to mail to friends! All of the flavors rock but we can’t resist something with chocolate and sea salt.


Be sure to check out Taigan CEO, Elizabeth Nichols’ picks on The SoGood!



Boys of Summer

Fashion July 15th, 2014 — by:

Grab your shades, cap and swimtrunks and celebrate what’s left of summer with these classic accessories.

This preppy cap has Nantucket and Tuckernuck Islands needlepointed on the front. Perfect for lounging on the beach at your summer home.

La Matera’s belts are known for gracing the polo fields. This is a look that you’re likely to spot on Prince William or Nacho Figueras… not exactly bad company!

Tee off in style with these golf balls and tees on your shirt cuffs. These silver cufflinks are ideal for the golf lover who wants to be reminded of the peace and quiet of the golf course even when he’s trapped in his day time suit far away from the greens. 

These Gant Swim Trunks are a classic plaid and perfect for a day on the beach or an afternoon at the pool.

Persol is an Italian eyewear company known for its trademark arrow and flexible stems. These Crystal Suprema shades are sleek and masculine.

These round monogrammed wooden cufflinks are made of etched solid maple and stainless steel. The mixed materials create the perfect cufflink– both durable and lightweight. We think the monogram gives them a sophistical touch.

Peter Nappi’s Amedeo shoes are the item that we recommend now that will carry you into fall.

Summer also means wedding season. We recommend standing out with a Guinea Fowl feather tie in a classic black and white.


Gingham all but screams summer. This Armstong and Wilson pocket square is a preppy light blue gingham, trimmed in a festive orange and accented with a masculine wooden button.

Nature’s Finest

Shops July 8th, 2014 — by:

In a world where everything is manufactured it’s easy to overlook the natural beauty that’s right in front of us. Here are a few of nature’s finest creations that are completely awe inspiring.

In Animal Architecture, Ingo Arndt explores marvels of nature with spectacular imagery, showcasing the complex and elegant structures that animals create both for shelter and for capturing prey. Studio photographs supplement the images from Arndt’s journey and offer close-up views of the nests, mounds and webs constructed by the animals. Clearly mankind isn’t the only species that frets over the perfect home.

Maison & Co.’s Kourtney Lamp is made up of authentic mussel shells hand assembled and mounted on a wood base. This is a lovely reminder of natural beauty for your every day life. 

The Chuka Bow Tie pays homage to the upland lifestyle with a bold yet versatile design.  A gorgeous example of mother nature hard at work, any owner of this tie will be paying a great tribute to a beautiful bird.

This ancient Ammonite Fossil Bracelet is accented with sparkling diamonds and complimented by Tibetan agate beads. Ammonites lived in the seas approximately 65 million years ago, when they became extinct along with dinosaurs. You may not be the oldest person in the room, but you will definitely be wearing the oldest artifact!  

Agate Coasters are the ideal accessory for any living room. These little slices of stone are all unique and interesting and look great in a grouping. 

These naturally formed Chinese Wood Sculptures are about as organic as your artwork can get. Display them on their own or in a group for greater impact.



Fifty Nests and the Birds That Built Them is a book composed of photographs of nests, both messy and meticulous. It is a showstopper on a coffee table and makes the perfect gift for any bird lover.