Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
This past February, 45 of the sharpest palates in wine gathered for a blind tasting of 377 Virginia wines. Those judged to be the 12 best would go on to form The Governor’s Case (cue trumpet fanfare)! A couple months later, for reasons that remain curious, the Virginia wine powers that be thought it would be a good idea to dump a case on yours truly and see what happened. And so I give you the first in my two part series of Sippin’ from the Governor’s Cup.
For wine lovers interested in exploring beyond state borders to discover wineries producing high-quality wine and establishing a regional style, here are a few suggestions.
Our journey to Northern Virginia continues as we visit with a couple of the Commonwealth’s most celebrated winemakers.
It’s not often you get to accuse central Virginians of thinking they’re the center of the universe. But when it comes to the local wine scene, we often treat the Monticello AVA as the be-all-end-all. Yet many of the Commonwealth’s most acclaimed wineries lie spread throughout its eight other regions. With that in mind I’m taking you off the beaten path, into the uncharted hinterlands of Northern Virginia.
Virginia’s wine culture is growing by leaps and bounds, and with the publication of the 2013 Virginia Winery Guide, there are two new categories: Meaderies and Cideries. According to the ABC Board, both fall under the broad category of “Virginia farm wineries.”
Loudoun, with the most vineyards of any county in Virginia, has earned its nickname “D.C. Wine Country.” And 2013 has already been good to the local wine scene: Purcellville's Sunset Hills' 2010 Mosaic placed in the 2013 Governor's Cup Case as one of Virginia's top 12 wines; during the same Governor's Cup gala, local wine pioneer and owner of Leesburg's Willowcroft Vineyards Lew Parker was honored with a lifetime achievement award; and Bluemont Vineyard in Round Hill rounded out the ceremony with a Governor's Cup Gold for their 2011 cabernet franc, one of only 20 golds given in this year's competition.
Sitting inside the quaint tasting room of Chateau O'Brien, an award-winning French-style winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Virginia, co-owner Debbie O'Brien pours some of the best red wine in the region.
More than 400 years after English settlers first tried – and for the most part failed – to cultivate grapes in Virginia, the wine industry now ranks among the state’s fastest-growing economic sectors, capturing the attention of industry leaders and tourists alike.
Nicknamed the father of Virginia wine, Gabriele was the first to succeed at growing wine grapes in the same land that proved inhospitable to Jefferson, by grafting European vinifera to disease-tolerant native rootstocks. But Gabriele’s connection to the land goes far beyond that.
More and more Virginia wines are showing up on tables in Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida. They are being sold as well “across the pond” in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
“People don’t make the connection that wine is an agricultural product,” says Jennifer McCloud of Chrysalis Vineyards. Yet, simply to acknowledge it as an agricultural product is just scratching the surface. A bottle of wine is not just a beverage but a story—a drinkable distillation of time and place.
In the next few weeks, you’ll most likely consume your fair share of holiday nogs and boozy punches. And amen to that. But if you find yourself craving something a little lighter this season, look to the hard ciders of Virginia.
What Thomas Jefferson dreamt of for Virginia's vineyards is now coming true. Michele Shah takes a look at the prospects for wine from Virginia.
Since 1980 Virginia has increased its wine production substantially. Grapes have been planted there since the early settlers (comprising a sizeable French community) came to Jamestown in 1607, making the first wine in the new world.
A good glass of wine is one of life’s great rewards for hard work–obviously, the amount of effort required before cashing in varies from person to person. While the mere act of “enduring consciousness as it desperately gropes for meaning in a broken world” may be all the reason I need to open a bottle, some folks prefer a more physical challenge. Well, if that sounds like you, then your’re in luck, as we examine Virginia wine excursions for adventure seekers.
The small wineries of USA’s eastern seaboard seem able to find success while bypassing the world of ratings, national publicity and even distribution networks. Roger Morris finds out how they do it.
One of the most charming and highly underrated parts of Virginia is its Eastern Shore and the wineries that populate it.
In between sampling oysters, adventurous foodies can visit the states unspoiled coast line and small hamlets.
Virgina's centuries-old wine industry advances with vinifera.
Sure, California produces some pretty good bottles, but trailblazing Southern winemakers have been working hard to figure out which grapes grow best in their vineyards—and the quality of their wines has been steadily rising as a result. As you’re stocking up for holiday gatherings, keep an eye out for these five feast-friendly bottles. They’ll keep your guests in good spirits, and they won’t take a giant bite out of your wallet either.
Out-of-state sales grow for one of the East Coast's top wine-producing states.
The story of vinifera in Virginia begins—and, for a couple of centuries, ends—with Thomas Jefferson. Full story: http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-and-Drink/9-Virginia-Wines
Virginia, on the eastern seaboard of the USA, once struggled to establish viticulture. Today there's a vinous gold rush going on, as enthusiastic wine lovers flock to the state to stake their claim. Felicity Carter tours a region that's full of excitement and potential.