I hope all you East Coast winos have read Dan Berger’s piece on Appellation America about East Coast wineries and evaluating their wines . If not, I implore you to give it a read.
When most people think of “wine country,” their thoughts immediately go to California (domestically-speaking, of course). The more experienced wine drinker might add Washington and Oregon to form the Holy Trinity of wine-producing states.
For those who are really in the know, New York has become a full-fledged member of the “wine states” club (see Tom Wark’s Fermentation posting). But where does this leave North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland? Are their wines condemned to be merely a novelty?
Let’s hope not.
While Virginia is not California, do we really want it to be? I don’t want a world with just California wines anymore than I want a world filled with just French cuisine. Celebrating our different growing regions is an essential element of establishing the U.S. as a wine-producing country as opposed to a country with a couple of states that produce wine.
I would love to see this country covered with AVAs. We have only scratched the surface when it comes to identifying the areas where grapes will grow and the best varieties to plant there. One of the crucial aspects of this process is celebrating the unique attributes that each locale offers in terms of climate and geography, instead of expecting East Coast wineries to “rise” to the level of California or Washington wineries.
I’ve traveled to Virginia’s wine country twice, and I honestly can’t wait to get back. The area surrounding Charlottesville is home to some outstanding wineries, as well as great bed-and-breakfasts and beautiful scenery. Charlottesville itself is quite a cool place with a multitude of excellent restaurants and inviting watering holes.
If you’re looking for a wine vacation, but don’t want to pony up for the West Coast airfare or don’t want to fight the Disneyesque crowds in Napa, take a look at Virginia. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Are the wines just like the ones you’ll find in your local wine store?
That’s the point.
Some of my favorite VA wineries:
Afton Mountain Vineyards
(If you go, don't miss Brix Marketplace right around the corner for the ultimate picnic feast.)