Why do I love Virginia wine and visiting Virginia wineries?
It is the local feeling and support, the warm welcome when you walk through the door.
It is the educational opportunities, the chance to learn something new about our commonwealth.
It is seeing what drives our local tourism industry and economy.
Through visiting local wineries, we are supporting the local farm industry. We are supporting our local businesses and community members. These local businesses offer great opportunities to learn about our economy that attracts visitors from others states to the commonwealth. Winery visits offer the opportunity to meet business owners and entrepreneurs. They offer the opportunity to learn about local agriculture and climate, what works for our state and what affects the harvest.
I love to swing by Caret Cellars and know who will be there in the tasting room to pour our glass of wine. I love when I get the opportunity to try something new there and learn about the wine-making process. For example, we just swung by this weekend to try their new Elevon wine. This wine is an example of a great partnership between a local winery and local vineyard – Loch Haven Vineyards – where the grapes were grown. I have also had the opportunity to try their Viognier straight from the barrel and learn about the aging process and techniques used to get the taste just right.
I love the awareness our wineries bring to the history of our region. For example, the Winery at Bull Run’s tasting room offers a great collection of Civil War artifacts found on property and really embraces the history of their land. The winery is centrally located to battlefields and tour sites to explore and takes advantage of this by telling their stories and displaying this history. There are a number of winery’s throughout the commonwealth that offer commemorative labels on local battles that took place and leaders from the region. For example, Oak Crest Winery offers their Cannon Ridge Red with a commemorative label recognizing Admiral John A. Dahlgren and his Civil War contributions to the Navy.
I also love the awareness our wineries bring to the local industries and employees who support our economy. Pearmund Cellars offers a Farm Use wine, a basic red wine that is “a daily driver of life.” The term “Farm Use” is used for vehicles used by farmers and help keep things running. These farmers work hard to put food on our tables and keep our economy moving forward.
Finally, I love the partnership that cross over between local wineries and other providers. I always enjoy a winery that offers local cheeses available for purchase from local farms, like those available at the Hague Winery. Many wineries partner with local food vendors for events, such as Paradise Springs Winery with Rockland’s BBQ. Then there are the wineries that display works by local artists available for sale, such as General’s Ridge. These pairings help bring our community together and build strong partnerships for industry advancement. They are what makes wineries an attractive destination for tourists and bring in money to support local providers and artisans.
Nothing is more fun than a wine festival with wineries, food vendors, local craftsmen, and musicians together in one spot. The Vintage Virginia Wine Festival at Bull Run Park is a great place to get all of these things at once (and is just a few days away).
Virginia wineries offer great opportunities and partnerships for advancing our local economy and driving tourism to the state. Thanks to visionaries who have kept the dream of wine production alive, the wine industry has experienced exponential growth in recent decades. Virginia wines are now making their mark in national and international competitions and events. By 2015, there were more than 250 wineries in the state and Virginia was the fifth largest wine producer in the United States. In a recent press release from the office of Governor McAuliffe, it was noted the wine industry is contributing “$750 million to the Virginia economy annually and employs more than 4,700 Virginians.”
Cheers to #VAWine!