No wonder Thomas Jefferson attempted to make wine at his home Monticello in the 1770s. The eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge and the rolling countryside to the east offer excellent topography, fertile granite-based clay soil and a growing season of over 200 days. This combination yields grapes with a rich and multilayered old world flavor. You’ll find numerous wineries clustered around Charlottesville and to its north, several south of Lynchburg, and a few east and closer to Richmond. You’ll also find plenty to see and do year-round. The Richmond and Petersburg areas offer Civil War battlefields and cultural attractions; Charlottesville, the University of Virginia and a captivating downtown pedestrian mall; Wintergreen, hiking, golf and snow skiing; and Lynchburg, four colleges and the launch site for the annual Batteaux Festival, where crews dressed in period clothing navigate their flat-bottom boats down the James River to Richmond.Central Virginia wineries produce Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Muscat of Alexandria, Norton, Orange Muscat, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah, Tannat, Touriga Nacional, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Viognier and Zinfandel.