Worth the Tripâ€¨
The Virginia Tourism Corporation has long promoted the campaign: Virginia is for Lovers. Tourists flock to Virginia for many reasons, and increasingly, Virginia Wine is part of destination travel plans for many. Recently, Wine Enthusiast Magazine voted Virginia one of the Ten Best Wine Destinations for 2012. The increased popularity of Virginia Wine country has resulted in another slogan: Virginia is for Wine Lovers.â€¨â€¨
One of the first things I did when I moved to the Washington, DC area nearly ten years ago was attend a Virginia Wine festival. As I continue to patronize the Virginia Wine scene, I learn about wine making, wine tasting and the history of the state. Below, I share 6 ways to enjoy Virginia Wine.
1. Participate in Wine Eventsâ€¨
Virginia hosts hundreds of wine events throughout the year. Wine events are a great way to taste wines from multiple wineries. Often the price of admission includes a souvenir glass for tasting during the event. Of course there are foods, crafts, music, and activities for children and non-wine drinkers. One of my favorite events is the Wine Festival and Sunset Tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, VA.â€¨â€¨
2. Visit Credit: with permission - www.stevemorris.coman Individual Wineryâ€¨
Each area of the state has many wineries. Select a winery and check it out. After you take part in the tasting, you can buy a bottle or glass and hang out to savor the view. Some wineries have food, and many allow you to bring your own. Some wineries offer tours that take you through the wine making process. Visit the website of the winery ahead of time and see if there are any special events such as festivals with live music or wine dinners during which you can enjoy a different wine with each course. Some wineries are pet friendly including Afton Mountain Vineyards in Afton, Virginia.â€¨â€¨
3. Utilize the Wine Trailsâ€¨Credit: JJ Washington
There are special signs to denote winery locations. This will help you discover new wineries on your route. But several groups have formed Wine Trails which feature maps, directions, and information for a group of participating wineries located along a route. It is nice to compare the wines, tasting rooms, and vistas. Once you find a favorite winery, you can return for an extended visit. My favorite is the Loudon Wine Trail which is very accessible from Washington, DC.â€¨â€¨
4. Order Virginia Wine by Mailâ€¨
Wine stores and wineries offer wine clubs in which you sign up to receive periodic deliveries of a wine. I am a member of the Cellar Club at Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Virginia. The membership includes two new wines every two months. I take advantage of the option to pick up our wine at the winery because it is a good excuse to get out of the city; however, wine delivery by mail is a good option for those who live outside of the region.â€¨â€¨
5. Patronize Restaurants Featuring Virginia Wines on the Menuâ€¨
A day trip to a winery often includes a stop for a meal. Nearly 400 restaurants throughout Virginia and neighboring states feature Virginia wines on the menu. I make a point of letting the waiter know that I appreciate these options. It is fun and rewarding to find a wine on a restaurant menu from a winery that I have visited. It is also a good way to taste wines from unfamiliar Virginia wineries.
6. Shop at Stores Carrying Virginia Wine
Another good way to buy wines from the region, without traveling, is to patronage a wine shop that carries Virginia wines. One of my favorite places is the Old Dominion Wine Shoppe located in Occoquan, Virginia (just off Route 95). They offer free tastings daily and are knowledgeable about Virginia wines from throughout the state.â€¨â€¨
As you can tell, I am a Virginia Wine enthusiast and I hope this information will encourage others from within and outside of the region to take note of what Virginia has to offer wine lovers.
Credit: Compiled by JJ Washington