When it comes to wine, Virginia is rapidly building a reputation for excellence. The state’s wine industry is also fueling an economic boom. Between 2010 and 2015, the wine industry’s economic impact on the Commonwealth increased by 83 percent. Today, the Commonwealth’s wine industry is up by $90 million dollars over 2010. It also employs more than 8,000 which is an increase of almost 3,500 since 2010. The state’s wine sales are also on the rise, growing from $56 million to $129 million during this same period.
Another of Virginia’s primary industries is tourism and wine is having an impact here, too. Between 2010 and 2015, wine-related tourism spending grew from $131 million to $188 million.
One of the premier wine areas in the state is the Shenandoah Valley. This beautiful region located in the Blue Ridge Mountains is home to more than 35 wineries. The Shenandoah Valley is considered one of the best wine producing regions in the county. These wines are sold all over the world and have received critical acclaim and numerous awards.
The Shenandoah Valley is about two hours due west of Washington D.C. but could be a completely different country. The views are breathtaking and the wine superb. The Valley stretches from the West Virginia and Maryland state lines and reaches to just south of Roanoke. There are several colleges and universities, including James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg and Virginia Military University in Lexington.
The Valley is also home to many attractions including Luray Caverns in Luray, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Libray and Museum in Staunton, and Natural Bridge. In addition to great wines, there are also many festivals including the Apple Blossom Festival held in April every year in Winchester and the Mayfest held in Luray every spring.
Another great time to visit the Valley and sample wines at the many vineyards is the fall. The leaves are turning dazzling oranges, reds, and yellows and you can sit outside on the deck and enjoy the scenery at the same time you enjoy your wine. The relatively dry and warm growing season in the Shenandoah Valley, along with great soil produces wines from almost every varietal. These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Mandolin, Chambourcin, Norton, Merlot, Riesling, Seyval, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, and Zinfandel. The area also produces many varieties of fruit wines.
Virginia has much to offer any visitor, but the Shenandoah Valley wine region is something everyone should experience. Plan a day trip or stay over a weekend and sample some of the finest wines in the world.