Did you know that Virginia has a long and rich wine history? In fact, it’s one of the most diverse wine-producing regions in the country. Whether you’re a fan of red or white wine, Virginia has something for you. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best Virginia wines and why you should give them a try. From varietals to regions, read on to learn all you need to know about Virginia Wine History.
The Early Days of Virginia Winemaking
The first wine grapes in Virginia were grown by the Spanish in 1565, and it was not until 1607 that English colonists planted vines here. The early Virginians were not very interested in wine, mainly because it was too expensive to produce. However, after the American Revolution, many wealthy landowners began to grow grapes as a way to export their product and make money.
In 1785, the first commercial winery in Virginia was established by John Davenport. He produced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines for export to England. Ironically, it was not until 1984 that Virginia became a significant producer of wine with over 100 brands being sold commercially today.
The Wineries of Virginia in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, Virginia wine production exploded. New wineries were started all over the state, and some of Virginia’s most famous wines were born. Here is a look at some of the most successful wineries in Virginia during this time period.
Bouchette Wines was founded in 1971 by Gary and Diane Bouchette. The company is now owned by the family members of Gary Bouchette who continue to run it as a family business. Bouchette produces a wide range of wines, including reds, whites, sparkling wines, and fruit wines. They are well known for their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Church Hill Winery:
Church Hill Winery was founded in 1974 by John and Dolores Kaye. The couple purchased an abandoned property near Charlottesville and began producing wine there. Church Hill is now one of the largest wineries in Virginia with over 30 acres under vineyard. Their wine portfolio includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo varieties. Church Hill also makes spirits such as brandy, grappa, rum and vodka using local ingredients.
David Bruce Winery:
David Bruce Winery was founded in 1978 by David Bruce and his wife Sandy. The winery is located in Woodstock
Modern Virginia Wine Regions
The modern wine regions of Virginia can be broken down into the cooler Northern Neck, the hotter Central Virginia and the warmer Western Virginia.
The Northern Neck includes the counties of Caroline, Essex, King and Queen, Kent and Middlesex. The wine here is generally dry with a touch of sweetness.
Central Virginia includes Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. This region has a milder climate with more humidity, which leads to grapes that are heavier in flavor with hints of fruitiness.
Western Virginia includes the counties of Berkeley, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Harrisonburg and Rockingham. Here you’ll find wines with more oomph – tannins are higher which gives wines a richer mouthfeel.
The Future of Virginia Wine
Virginia wine history is laden with tradition and innovation. The state has been a major producer of wine for over two centuries, and its winemakers have played a significant role in the development of American wine. Virginia’s winegrowing regions are diverse, from the rolling hills of Charlottesville to the coastal plains near Norfolk.
Today, Virginia wine is recognized around the world for its quality and variety. The state is home to more than 50 vineyards and produces more than 100 different types of wines. Some of Virginia’s most popular wines include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
The future of Virginia wine looks bright. The state is continuing to grow its grape production and winemaking industries, and new wineries are opening every year. There’s no doubt that Virginia wines will continue to be some of the most respected in the world.