Wine is more than just a drink. Everything from a region’s history can be found in a glass of wine. Wine takes you to a place that makes you slow down, relax, enjoy the beauty of the land, and spend time with friends and family. Virginia has over 5,000 acres of grapes spanning the state which has become well-known for growing grapes. It is home to more than 300 wineries—and the number grows every year. There are ten regions and eight distinct American Viticultural Areas (*AVAs). Depending on where you live, your region—and your palette—you may already have your “favorite” wineries. So, are you up for a challenge? Pick a region and plan a weekend wine tour. You may find your “new” favorite winery!
- Blue Ridge -North Fork of Roanoke AVA and The Rocky Kob AVA
- Central Virginia – Monticello AVA
- Chesapeake Bay – George Washington Birthplace AVA
- Eastern Shore – Virginia’s Eastern Shore AVA
- Hampton Roads – Virginia Peninsula AVA
- Heart Of Appalachia
- Northern Virginia – Middleburg AVA
- Shenandoah Valley – Shenandoah Valley AVA
- Southern Virginia
- Virginia Mountains
*AVAs are defined grape-growing regions with specific geographic or climatic features that distinguish it from the surrounding regions and affect how grapes are grown. Using an AVA designation on a wine label allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers identify wines they wish to purchase.
A bit of history
Early attempts by European immigrants, including a few founding fathers, set the tone for the Virginia wine industry to grow. Beginning with a scattered handful of wineries that would become fifty by the mid-1990s, but in less than a decade that number would double. Today there are over 300 wineries and counting throughout the Commonwealth.
Grape varieties like Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot are taking center stage in Virginia. Bordeaux-style red blends make up some of the most highly acclaimed wines in the Commonwealth. America’s oldest grape was also born in Virginia. The Norton grape is being grown by many winemakers to restore its prominence as America’s native grape—right here in Virginia! For lovers of Chardonnay, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines from Virginia are exhibiting an elegance rarely seen in their West Coast counterparts.
The following website provides a wealth of information on Virginia wines, the varietals, and a list of wineries in each region. www.virginiawine.org