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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.

A Shifting Landscape

With over 4,000 acres of grapes that span the state, Virginia is home to 10 regions and 8 distinct AVAs.

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.

Extraordinary Orchards

Cider has been a Virginia tradition since the first settlers imported the craft from England as a way to stay hydrated when safe water was scarce. And how the industry has matured from those humble beginnings! Today, 50 cideries across the Commonwealth are crafting ciders of uncommon diversity and sophistication.

Go here for a complete list of Virginia varietals

Rooted in Resilience

Though the attempts to produce wine in Virginia can be traced back to the first settlers, and even a few founding fathers, it wasn’t until the late 1970s when the industry began to take root.

When much of the wine world dismissed Virginia viticulture as a lost cause, an eclectic handful of individuals pressed on – from European immigrants with wine in their DNA, to dairy farm matriarchs with a thirst for something different. One hard-earned vintage after another, these pioneers set the tone for the industry to come – curious, collaborative, stubborn in the face of setbacks.

The ensuing years would see an explosion in both the quantity and quality of Virginia wine. What began as a scattered handful of wineries would approach 50 by the mid-1990s. In less than a decade that number would double. Today, with nearly 300 wineries and counting, Virginia winemakers and wine lovers alike 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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