RICHMOND—Today Governor Ralph Northam announced the 30th Annual October Virginia Wine Month, which kicks off this year with the unveiling of a new brand for Virginia Wine. The new look and feel aims to better tell the story of a diverse and rapidly evolving wine region and highlights how Virginia winemakers embrace their unique region.
Working with such varied conditions has instilled Virginia winemakers with an uncanny ability to read the signs from the soil to deliver an authentic expression of a time and place. The exceptional, award-winning wines that result from this process embody the grace, grit, and experimental spirit of Virginia.
“A glass of wine is so much more than a beverage—the character of a wine reflects both the place where it was grown and the people who make it,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia’s unique landscape, along with the passion of its winemakers, have helped establish the Commonwealth as a wine destination unlike any other. Virginia Wine Month is the perfect time to get a taste of everything that Virginia wine has to offer and celebrate of the progress of this rich industry.”
Virginia Wine Month is the oldest wine month in the country, reflective of the state’s deep wine history, which dates back to 1609 when settlers in Jamestown were required to plant 10 vines per household. Later, in 1762, Charles Carter proved it was possible to grow wine grapes in Virginia, being recognized by the Royal Society of Arts in London for his success at growing grapes. During the following decade, Thomas Jefferson, with support from the Virginia Wine Company (whose members included George Washington and George Mason), devoted 2,000 acres of land to start a vineyard and winery near his estate at Monticello. In the centuries that followed, Virginia wine pioneers continued to improve upon what those early experimenters started. Today, Virginia is the sixth-largest wine region in the United States, with nearly 300 wineries and seven American Viticultural Areas.
“Just as Virginia’s wines have evolved over the years, our brand has needed to evolve as well,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “Virginia wine is about much more than one signature grape or specific terroir—it’s about expressing a sense of place and celebrating our identity and independence. We’re proud to bring local, artisanal wines to the market that are worthy of Virginia’s revolutionary heritage.”
In addition to various festivals and special events at wineries, restaurants, shops and more, this Virginia Wine Month will include the launch of a new tradition by the Virginia Wine Board called “Harvest Party.” Beginning this year, “Harvest Party” will be a month long-celebration where people all around the Commonwealth can come together to toast the richness of the region. Wineries, restaurants and Virginians will host Harvest Parties where guests can enjoy Virginia-grown food and wine to commemorate the 2018 harvest.
For many wine lovers, October is the best time of year to visit Virginia wine country, when the fall foliage begins to show myriad colors and the vineyards and wineries are already at work on their next great vintage. One of the most exciting elements of Virginia wine lies in varieties that are largely unknown in other parts of the world, but are thriving in Virginia, such as Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. These critically acclaimed wines are yet another example of how tradition and revolution go hand-in-hand in Virginia’s wine country.
More than 2.2 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2015, according the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Virginia’s wine industry generates $1.37 billion in economic impact and provides 8,218 jobs for the Commonwealth.
For a list of October Virginia Wine Month events, visit www.virginiawine.org/virginia-wine-month. To find out more information on wine travel in Virginia visit www.Virginiawine.org or download the Virginia Wine App.