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Central Virginia's thriving wine scene only heightens the area's allure as a destination for history, culture and great food. Traverse a two-hour radius and you'll encounter worlds within worlds—from Civil War sites to cutting-edge art; quaint towns, urban excitement and remote mountain escapes. Explore Richmond's explosive food and drink culture, or Charlottesville's famous Downtown Mall. Wintergreen offers breathtaking hikes, skiing and golf courses. Lynchburg is home to four colleges and the launch site for the annual Batteau Festival, where crews dressed in period clothing navigate their flat-bottom boats down the James River to Richmond. It's no wonder Thomas Jefferson attempted to make wine at his home, Monticello, in the 1770s, and that generations of winemakers have carried his experiments forward centuries later. The eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge and the rolling countryside offer striking 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.
The Monticello AVA
The Monticello AVA is in the central Piedmont area. The area is nestled along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and encompasses the small ridge known as Southwest Mountain. It is historic in that it is home to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, where Jefferson spent years trying to grow European grape varieties.