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The Story of Virginia Wine

There’s a movement growing in Virginia vineyards…

A community of farmers perfecting their own agricultural art. They don’t bend to trends. They listen to their land, drawing out the story in every vine and every vintage. Crafting wines that embody the grace, grit and experimental spirit of Virginia.

Old World Grace and Southern Grit

You can learn a lot about our wine just by looking at a map. Virginia sits halfway between Europe and California. Our wines embody this unique position in the world. They are lush but structured; aromatic, expressive and beautifully balanced—blending the subtlety of the Old World with the boldness of the new. Like perfect French spoken with a slight southern drawl.

Unsung Heroes That Grew to Greatness

The story of Virginia wine (like the story of Virginia itself) is, in part, a tale of secondary characters from the Old World who learned to thrive in a new environment. Grape varieties like Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot—relative obscurities and bit-players in Old World wine traditions—are taking center stage in Virginia.

The Best Blends West of the Left Bank

Bordeaux-style red blends make up some of the most beloved and highly acclaimed wines coming out of the Commonwealth. While their blending percentages vary greatly across vineyards and vintages, the end products are consistently lush and layered—built to age but hard to resist right now.

A Fresh Take on the Familiar

Few people would approach a Chardonnay, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon expecting something new. Until you taste those from Virginia, which exhibit an elegance rarely seen in their West Coast counterparts.

Norton: Virginia Native

America’s oldest wine grape was born in Virginia. Some talented Virginia winemakers are working to restore Norton to its prominence as America’s native grape.

Go here for a complete list of Virginia varietals

The Fruits of a 400-Year Experiment

Virginia may be considered one of America’s “up and coming” wine regions, but its wine history is older than the country itself.

Twelve years after English colonists first settled in Jamestown, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed Acte 12, requiring each male colonist to plant and tend to at least ten grapevines. In 1773, the Virginia Wine Company (whose members included Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and George Mason), devoted 2,000 acres of land to start a vineyard and winery near Monticello. The next 200 years brought promising breakthroughs and growing momentum, before prohibition rendered the dream of Virginia wine dormant for decades.

Then, in 1970s, a cache of Virginia winemakers found unprecedented success growing and harvesting vinifera grapes. By 1995, the Commonwealth had 46 wineries. By 2005, there were 107. Today, the nearly 300 wineries throughout Virginia are reaping the fruits of those early experiments.

Bigger Than a Drink

Nothing expresses a “sense of place” like well-made wine. But over time, the expectations of the marketplace have stifled the poetry in the vineyard. Now, most American wine is owned by a handful of corporations pushing an expected product with no sense of place and no story to tell.

What’s happening here is bigger than a drink. It’s a way to reclaim our relationship with the land. It’s a celebration of identity and independence from predictability.

If you ask us, that’s worth raising a glass to.


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