Updated: Oct 14
Virginia, which is closing in on 330 wineries, ranks sixth in terms of the number of wineries in the US.
I have been to many vineyards southwest of DC near Charlottesville, west of DC along the I-66 corridor and northwest into Loudon County. Like other wine regions these range from large production facilities with ample tasting rooms, to rustic and unassuming barn-like structures with a small counter. There are also a few that have rendered themselves exclusive, by appointment only operations.
I appreciate Virginia wine for tackling so many varietals, which makes it hard to pigeon-hole the State as singularly focused on a varietal (like pinot noir in Oregon). Some of my favorites are off beat varietals, such as Vionier or Marsanne, which are known in Rhone, or Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, which are a focus in Bordeaux.
What is interesting to me is that many of my friends and colleagues know that wines are produced in Virginia, but they don’t explore them regularly. Possibly this is because of the clout of California wines or other new world entries from South America. But I also hear remarks about Virginia wines being expensive. That is even more fascinating, especially when so many of my friends and colleagues will shop for produce in weekend markets not considering that they are also paying a premium for small batch production growers. To me Virginia vintners are in the same boat and deserving of the same “buy local” mentality, even if it is a more expensive product.
So next time you are looking for a DC area day trip, consider one of the many Virginia wine trails.