Virginia has a long history with wine. Not the greatest history, of course, but a very long one. Virginia’s history begins with one of the greatest men of our time: Thomas Jefferson. Was he the luminary, the visionary, the champion of the grape, putting this great Commonwealth on the forefront of the wine industry? No. Actually, he sucked at it. Scratch that. He really, really, sucked at it.
Sure, he wrote the Declaration of Independence, was seen as a visionary, and excelled as our third president, but as a winemaker, he was a disaster. But he didn’t keep it all to himself though. He managed to help set in motion devastation to the wine industry within the entire Old World, changing the course of history.
The Phylloxera Grape Vine Louse (a small yellow louse which feeds on the roots of grape vines) that contributed in killing Jefferson’s European vines hitchhiked all the way to Europe, wiping out most of the continent’s grapevines. It took the better part of a century for Europe to gain ground again, and another 200 years for Virginia to make wines that were at least drinkable, if not unremarkable.
Yet Jefferson somehow- from the first vine he planted in 1771 and all the destruction he set in motion-still came out on top. A new generation of Virginia winemakers and oenological pioneers set out to create wines that are on par with those from California and Europe, sparking a fascination and love around the world for our beloved grapes.
Virginia may not be Napa Valley yet, but with 230 wineries and growing, we’re currently the fifth-largest-wine-grape-growing state. The blends of grapes, wine making methods, types of soils are boundless, and a little confusing. Which is why we’re hoping you’ll follow us on our weekly journey through Virginia wine country; what makes our grapes great, what flavors you may find yourself liking, and what’s the difference between all the different types of wines (this kind of knowledge will make you a hit at parties too!)
No, not too many people know where our love affair with creating world class wine began, and sure, it was a rocky start, but it’s not about how you start, or even how you get there, it’s how you finish that matters most. Knowing where you came from helps too. We love Virginia and we love Virginia wine, which is why, through our blog, we hope to educate you enough to love Virginia wine too.
*Already excited about tasting some of the greatest wines our Commonwealth has to offer? Contact us to help craft a unique tour of some of our amazing wineries for you and your guests!