When most people think of American wine, one region comes to mind: Napa. But one of the worst-kept secrets among wine connoisseurs is that Virginia wine may just claim the top spot in the country – and even rivals many of the Old World’s most renowned denominations. The winemaking craft has been tied to the state’s roots since early colonization, and Virginia’s bounty has been praised by experts worldwide since the 19th century. With such a reputation, it’s no wonder the wine industry is booming throughout the Commonwealth – and why there’s never been a better time to buy a new Virginia winery or vineyard. We’re proud to offer our expertise in the region to help you navigate the Virginia wine market and help carry on the legacy of Virginia’s winemaking history.
Since some of the earliest settlements in the New World, winemaking was a critical part of Virginia’s identity. Only 12 years after Jamestown was first settled, law required each male colonist to plant and tend at least 10 grape vines. By 1762, Virginia had begun growing its first wine grapes – and only a few decades later, Thomas Jefferson had established two vineyards in the south orchard of his Monticello estate. Unfortunately, most of these early experiments simply tried to recreate the traditional European varieties, which were vulnerable to disease and rot unique to the Americas. But things changed in the 19th century, as intrepid local winemakers began to make wine with native American grapes. Better suited to the climate and conditions, they thrived in the rich soil unique to Virginia’s Piedmont region and began to show tremendous potential – by 1873, a Virginia wine was proclaimed the “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair. While Prohibition put a temporary halt to these developments, the 1970s would define the modern Virginia wine tradition. Kickstarted by a major investment by the Italian Zonin family, Virginia experienced a rebirth of winemaking that’s grown exponentially in recent years. Today, Virginia is a top US wine destination, boasting over 300 wineries throughout the state and renowned for its annual statewide Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition.
Virginia Vineyards & Wineries
The secret to the success of Virginia wineries and vineyards lies in the state’s incredible soil content and nurturing climate. In fact, Virginia is unique in the diversity of grape species that flourish in its conditions; today, more than 50 varietals are produced in the Old Dominion. And with its unique geological diversity – from rolling verdant hills in Piedmont, to mountains and lush valleys in the Ridge & Valley, and coastal tidelands in the Tidewater – winemakers are keen to take advantage of the ideal microclimates to bring the most flavor out of each grape. Thanks to the incredible natural bounty, even novices have been able to develop thriving wineries and vineyards in Virginia.
Of course, there’s much more to the Virginia winemaking tradition than just the wine! With roots going back so many generations, the Virginia wine industry is just as much a community as it is a business. Since most of Virginia’s vineyards and wineries are small, family-owned operations, the sense of community among producers and customers alike is strong. And thanks to it, Virginia boasts over a dozen wine trails – many of which have become significant tourist destinations for the state.
For anyone considering opening a new operation, there’s never been a better time to join this thriving Virginia industry. As the number of Virginia wineries continues to grow, the state industry has seen tremendous growth in foreign markets – and the recognitions that come with it. Demand is only set to rise, and production around the state is ramping up. We’re proud to offer quality listings of Virginia wineries, and especially Virginia vineyards. Because the number of wineries is increasing faster than vineyards, owning your own supply offers a key to a sustainable business for the long-term. Call to schedule a viewing today!