The 30th annual “Virginia Wine Month” launches this month to toast the commonwealth’s winemaking with special events and festivals.
Besides the different celebrations throughout October, the governor’s office also announced the start of the “harvest party,” hosted at various Virginia wineries and restaurants to revel in this season’s harvest.
“Virginia’s unique landscape, along with the passion of its winemakers, have helped establish the commonwealth as a wine destination unlike any other,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a news release Monday. “A glass of wine is so much more than a beverage — the character of a wine reflects both the place where it was grown and the people who make it.”
Though perhaps not as instantly recognizable as California’s Napa Valley, Virginia’s wine history stretches back to the early 1600s, when European settlers first cultivated their vines in the challenging growing region.
This season has been a challenge for Virginia winemakers due to the high level of rainfall.
Jon Wehner of our own Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek told the Mirror, “This has been the most challenging growing season in 20 years due to the frequent and heavy rainfalls. The entire State of Virginia, as well as the entire East Coast, has experienced one of the wettest Summers in history. The last real wet season was 2003 which ended with hurricane Isabelle. We harvested 70 tons in 36 hours prior to Isabelle. This season has brought extreme weather occasions. It has been an early harvest because of the wet season. We are currently pressing of tanks and sending wine to barrel.”
The Commonwealth is also home to the nation’s oldest wine month. Governor Northam said in a press release, the 30th Annual October Virginia Wine Month is rebranded, to “better tell the story of a diverse and rapidly evolving wine region.”
“Just as Virginia’s wines have evolved over the years, our brand has needed to evolve as well,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Bettina Ring.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Commonwealth’s wine industry “generates $1.37 billion in economic impact and provides 8.218 jobs for the Commonwealth.”
“I would describe Virginia wines as interesting and site-expressive. The State of Virginia has tremendous diversity terrain and micro-climates so it gives winemakers in the State a real opportunity to experiment with different varietals and winemaking practices,” Jon Wehner told the Mirror.
If you want to experience Virginia wines, visit Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek 9232 Chatham Road Machipongo, VA 23405. Oyster Roast Merrior & Terroir on November 10th. Tickets are $55 person available online or by calling the winery 757 678 5588. The event begins at 4 and goes until 8pm.