Virginia Wine Overview

Wine making in Virginia has been around for centuries, but it is just recently that Virginia has become known as one of the world’s up and coming wine producing regions. Two of America’s great historical figures, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both attempted to grow European grapes in Virginia with limited success. Actually, it wasn’t until a native American grape, the Norton, was used in wine making that Virginia’s wine industry caused wine critics to sit up and take notice.

The fervent popularity of Virginia’s wines took root in the 1970s, when areas outside of Charlottesville were dedicated to vineyards. Their success led to dozens of wineries being established in Virginia through the subsequent decades. Now, Virginia has the 5th most wineries of any U.S. state (more than 200), behind only California, Washington, Oregon and New York.

Virginia is best known for its world-class red wines, but by no means is that a slight to Virginia white wines. Some outstanding Rieslings are made in Virginia, and they tend to be fruity — not too sweet and not too tart. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are two other common white wine varieties found in Virginia wineries. As for reds, Virginia Nortons, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots are highly praised in wine publications. Another red wine style to look for here are Chambourcins, a deliciously spicy wine whose grape does well in Virginia terroir.

Virginia has the most wine trails of any state in America.

And speaking of terroir, it’s Virginia’s geographical diversity that gives her wine industry its legs. There are five distinct climate regions stretching across the state, from the Atlantic coast to the mountainous western region. Warm days and pleasantly cool nights are common for much of the year, with summer and winter seasons generally temperate and not seasonally extreme. Vineyards can be found everywhere in Virginia, a state with six recognized American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

In terms of wine regions, the Virginia wine site identifies nine, from the Eastern Virginia Region along the Atlantic coast to the Heart of Appalachia Region in the far western part of the state. Each area has one or more wine trails, as Virginia has long been a proponent of identifying wine trails to enhance and promote wine tourism efforts.

Virginia Wine Trails

At 24, Virginia has the most wine trails of any state in America! Some of these wine trails also include other attractions — cider makers, breweries, agritourism attractions, historical attractions, etc. Visit our Wine Nomad Wine Trails List for links to all of the U.S. wine trails listed alphabetically by state.

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