West Virginia

West Virginia Wine Overview

West Virginia is surrounded by prolific wine producing states. There’s Virginia to the east, Pennsylvania to the north and Ohio to the west. Oddly, the state has much less of a wine presence than these states, particularly compared to its closest neighbor, Virginia. There are about 20 West Virginia wineries, but it doesn’t appear there’s a state wine website or grape growers association.

West Virginia, like the neighboring sections of western Virginia, is a rather mountainous area. Grapes that are grown here have success on the hillsides and upper valleys, but despite this fact, the West Virginia wine industry hasn’t blossomed as one might expect. Some of the varieties of grapes grown here include Native American grapes like Delaware and Concord, and hybrids including Marechal Foch and Vidal Blanc. More styles of cold weather grapes are being researched and tested in West Virginia vineyards, especially those that do well in the upper Midwest, such as St. Croix and Frontenac. West Virginia farms produce a lot of fruit as well, so you’ll see the wineries here offering wines from fruits like peaches, blackberries, strawberries and more.

The West Virginia wine industry is promoted by an annual event called the West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival, held near Morgantown in the northern part of the state. Eight West Virginia wineries participated in the most recent event, designed to showcase the state’s wines and donate to local charities. One of the wineries is located near Morgantown, Forks of Cheat. Their winery uses grapes from their own local vineyard and produces Merlot, Vidal Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chambourcin and several fruit wines. Around since 1990, it’s probably West Virginia’s best known winery. An even more established West Virginia winery is West Whitehill Winery in the Potomac Highlands of eastern West Virginia.

West Virginia Wine Trail

At this time, there are no wine trails in West Virginia. Perhaps this is due to the abundance of wine trails in neighboring Virginia, and the popularity of Virginia’s wine industry. With twenty wineries in the state though, it would seem West Virginia and a wine trail are a natural fit.

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