Fun Facts About Virginia Wine

Virginia Wine Grapes

  • According to the Virginia Wine Marketing Board’s “Virginia 2012 Commercial Grape Report,” the most widely planted red grapes are the Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tannat, in that order. The only other red wine grape is Pinot Noir that trails far behind.
  • Virginia grows 20 times more Cabernet Franc and 10 times more Cabernet Sauvignon than Pinot Noir.
  • There are 7 main white grapes and 6 main red grapes grown in Virginia.

Virginia Wine People

  • Thomas Jefferson is often referred to as Virginia’s first winemaker, establishing his vineyards in 1774, but was unsuccessful cultivating grapes at Monticello for wine production. In 1981 Jefferson Vineyards began growing grapes and making wine on this same land.
  • Several wineries are owned by famous people, including Early Mountain Vineyards, owned by AOL founder Steve Case and his wife, Boxwood Winery owned by Jack Kent Cooke, Blenheim Vineyards, owned by musician Dave Matthews, and Trump Winery, owned by Donald
    Trump, Jr.
  • Chrysalis Vineyard has the single largest planting of Norton grapes in the world. Owner Jenny McCloud is known as a “Champion of the Norton.”

Virginia Wine by the Year

  • 1619 – The “12th Acte” of the First Representative Assembly of the New World at Jamestown stated that all male settlers were to plant and tend 10 grape vines.
  • 1622 – The first recorded international shipment of a Virginia wine was made in 1622 when colonists shipped a small sample of wine to London. It spoiled en route.
  • 1763 – The first official record of successful grape production with European vines was made in 1763 when Royal Governor Francis Fauquier certified that the Charles Carter was growing them at the Cleve plantation.
  • 1873 – At the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna, Austria, a Virginia wine made from the Norton grape won “Best Red Wine of All Nations.”
  • 1979 –  Virginia had just 65 wineries and only 286 acres devoted to wine grape production. In 1990, there were just 18 wineries. Today there are more than 250 wineries, cideries and meaderies.
  • 1998 – Governor Gerald Baliles designated October as Virginia Wine Month.
  • 2001 –  The Virginia Wine Board designated Viognier as Virginia’s
    official Signature Grape.
  • 2012 – Virginia was named by Wine Enthusiast as of the 10 best wine travel destinations in the world.
  • 2013 – Virginia added cideries and meaderies to its Virginia Wine Guide

Virginia Wine by the Numbers

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Take the Wine Survey!

VivaTysons wants to hear about YOUR favorite wineries, Virginia wines, and wine-related experiences. Please join us in taking our first-ever Virginia Wine poll. We’ll post the answers in an upcoming issue.

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