Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, founding father of America, and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, introduced his fellow citizens to the European tradition of enjoying wine with their meals. He was a high-ranking American diplomat in France from mid 1784 to the end of the decade where learned to appreciate good food and fine wine.
Virginia is located adjacent and south Washington D.C and Maryland, It stretches from 39 latitude north to 38 30’ to the south on the Atlantic ocean coast and boasts 140 wineries spanning from the eastern shore to the heart of Appalachian Plains up to the Appalachian Plateau.
The climate is humid with warm summers that ripen grapes fully. Vineyards must be treated frequently to prevent grey rot and other humidity related vine diseases.
Mostly hybrid grapes (Marechal Foch, Leon-Millot, de Chaunac, Seyval Blanc) are planted to prevent humidity-related vine diseases. Of late, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sauvignon blanc have been planted to satisfy increasing demands for varietal wines. Most of the wine produced I Virginia is consumed locally, and bought by tourists who visit wineries.
With 2500 acres (1000 hectares), Virginia is the nation’s fifth largest wine producing state after California, New York State, Washington State, and Oregon.
Well over 55 per cent of the acreage of vineyards is around Monticello Hills. They were planted late in the 1700’s and replanted in 1980’s with “modern”, and popular varieties.
Shenandoah-, Bedford-, Orange counties share the vineyard acreage. Barboursville Vineyards, Wolf gap, Cave Ridge Vineyards, Shenandoah Valley, and North Mountain wineries are in Shenandoah County.
Peak of Otter, Hickory Hill Vineyards and Winery, and Leo Grande Vineyards and Winery are in Bedford County.
Even some Italian wineries invested money and expertise in Virginia. Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot are some of the vinifera varieties that were planted in 1980’s, and are now gradually yielding sufficiently concentrated fruit to make fine wiens.