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Raise Your Glass to Virginia Wine Country

Virginia Wineries, Virginia Wine Country

Courtesy of Virginia Wine

Virginia wine country is quickly becoming a high profile destination for wine connoisseurs from all over the world.

Virginia has entertained high hopes of becoming a prosperous wine region for more than 400 years. Male settlers at Jamestown were required to tend at least ten grape vines apiece, but to little avail. Even Thomas Jefferson cultivated different varieties of European grapes in hopes of creating an American wine to rival those from the Old World. Yet for all his 30 years of grape-growing experiments, Jefferson’s vineyards at Monticello never produced a single bottle of wine.

These early efforts may have proved fruitless, but Virginian vintners have since learned the trick for growing the perfect grape—and today the state has transformed into a burgeoning wine industry. Currently the fifth largest producer of wine in the United States, Virginia is quickly becoming a popular and high profile destination for wine connoisseurs from all over the world. At 140 wineries and counting, the persistence of previous generations is finally paying off, and the delights of sipping your way through modern-day Virginia wine country may be one of the area’s best-kept secrets.

Today, more than half of Virginia’s 2,000 vineyard acres are found within the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the central part of the state, surrounding Jefferson’s historic home of Monticello and located less than two hours from Richmond by car. While excellent wineries can be found throughout Virginia, the central region in particular boasts fertile soil and a lengthy growing period, producing grapes with a rich and multilayered flavor—and the Monticello Wine Trail is the perfect way to experience the acclaimed area. From its hub in Charlottesville, this definitive journey leads to 21 notable wineries throughout the Monticello AVA where you’ll find high-quality wines, memorable flavors and stunning vineyard views.

For those hoping to stay a little closer to Richmond, Virginia’s capital city also has plenty of wine-tasting opportunities. Browse the eclectic, sophisticated wine collection at Carytown’s River City Cellars and hop next door to savor a glass or two of Virginia’s finest at Secco Wine Bar. At Barrel Thief Wine Shop and Café, you’ll get a 5 percent discount simply for bringing along a friend. And be sure to check out Richmond’s various wine tasting events throughout the year, including the James River Wine Festival in April and the Carytown Food & Wine Festival in October.

Just a few miles outside the city, several distinctive central Virginia wineries are open to the public. The James River Cellars Winery features beautiful grounds and is one of four remarkable stops on Richmond’s own Heart of Virginia Wine Trail. Don’t miss the $2 weekend afternoon wine-tastings at nearby Woodland Vineyard, Virginia’s smallest farm winery, and raise your glass at New Kent Winery’s unique tasting bar after a tour of the state-of-the-art facility. After experiences like these, it’s easy to see why Virginia is quickly rising in the ranks as one of America’s top wine destinations.

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

Virginia was a nice place. There wines are good to taste.
6/21/2012 4:43:05 PM

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