Friday, October 23, 2009

More Updates from Virginia Wineries for Virginia Wine Month

I continue to hear from Virginia wineries about what they are doing to celebrate Virginia Wine Month. Below are updates from some more wineries:

White Hall Vineyards held its Art in the Vineyard event October 17 – 18. Aside from hosting local artists and artisans, White Hall is offering a discount on cases of its chardonnay throughout the month. Megan Hyler, White Hall’s Sales Manager, informed me that business in October has been great so far, and she attributes some of the traffic to Virginia Wine Month raising awareness of local wineries.

Rappahannock Cellars continues to host large groups, as it did for TechAdventureDC in August. Recently, students from the Richmond Culinary Institute got a behind the scenes tour and wine tasting and then headed to the Inn at Little Washington for lunch…Yeah, well, my college’s cafeteria had a waffle bar, so those RCI kids can suck it.

Aside from making me jealous, Rappahannock is featuring live music every weekend throughout October. This weekend will features Marie Miller on Saturday from 2 – 5pm and Robbie Limon on Sunday from 1.30 – 4pm. Rappahannock Cellars is also promoting their Wine Club with specials throughout the month and have also opened a remote tasting room in Sperryville which opened earlier in the month. People I spoke told me that business has been very good throughout the month.

Loudoun Valley Vineyards is hosting hot air balloon rides this weekend, weather permitting.

Of all the wineries that I have spoken to so far, the only one that did not seem to have any special events planned, and are simply continuing on with business as usual was Jefferson Vineyards.

Jefferson Vineyards aside, most wineries that I have spoken to are excited about Virginia Wine Month, promotions and events that they have been able to tie into the occasion, and traffic that their wineries have received. Some restaurants are apparently offering discounts on Virginia wine throughout the month, but I have only heard that from second hand accounts.

The area where the promotional month is lacking is in supermarkets. It would be great to see in-store displays promoting Virginia wine throughout the month. It will need to wait until next year, as there are only two more weekends left in October. Two weeks is more than enough time to head to some Virginia wineries and enjoy Virginia Wine Month with some of the people who make it all possible.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halfway Through Virginia Wine Month

Virginia Wine Month kicked off in grand style at the beginning of the month when the Virginia Tourism Corporation sponsored Vintage Tweets in Arlington. Six of the state's wineries showed off their goods at the event, and opened Caitlin and my eyes to some thick, meaty reds, along with the Viogniers that we have come to know and love from the state. Some of the wineries, like Chateau Morrisette, White Hall Vineyards and Veritas Vineyards came from further afield than the Northern Virginia area I am familiar with. It was great meeting the people from the wineries I have not been able to get to in person, and of course, sample their wines while enjoying the great food spread that was available to those of us in attendance.

Other wineries, such as Chrysalis and Williamsburg Winery I have been to, or at least have tried their wine in the past. The latter, specifically, was marketing itself at the event at Virginia’s largest winery, and I have certainly had my fair share of it. Still for both the wineries that I have tried before, as well as the ones that were brand new to me, the event was a great reminder of how far the Virginia wine industry has come in even just the last couple of years, and how much more it will continue to grow as more and more people realize that quality American wines aren’t the exclusive right of the West Coast. Even though the Food and Wine Wine Guide and other such guides to wine do not yet include any Virginia (or New York, for that matter) wines, as a wine producing state, both the volume and quality of the wine Virginia is producing continues to impress.

Vintage Tweets launched Virginia Wine Month - October - and since we are now halfway through the month, I wanted to check in with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Wine Association, and most importantly, some of my favorite Virginia wineries to see how they are doing during this month that is devoted to them.

Tarara is giving its visitors a “sneak peek” at some of its most anticipated wines, which aren’t going to be released until the spring. Included in their sneak peek offerings are a 08 Viognier and 07 Meritage. Tarara also has live music every Sunday throughout the month.

Dry Mill Winery is allowing guest to join in with their harvest during the month, as well as hosting live entertainment, classic cars and even several “yoga and wine tasting” events. According to Nancy Vanhuss, one of the owners, even during October’s bad weather, “we have been stampeded” during the weekend.

I am still waiting to hear back from other wineries in the area, and when I do, I will post their special events and updates here as well. Until then, get out there and enjoy the fall weather and activities with a glass or two of Virginia wine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October is Virginia Wine Month!

It has been a while since I posted, which is a shame because there are so many wine-focused events going on in and around the DC area this month. Most notably, October is Virginia Wine Month. Check out the link and see the list of all the great events and festivals going on in Virgina throughout October.

Caitlin and I attended Vintage Tweets last week, which kicked off Virginia Wine Month in grand style at the Hotel Palomar in Rosslyn. A longer post, with pictures, will be up in the coming days, but here is the short version: Hat's off to the Virginia Tourism Corporation for hosting such an exciting event. It was great meeting many of the people who work at Virginia wineries I have not yet been able to visit, try their wines, and enjoy a great spread of everything from pumpkin ravioli to chocolate cake.

While I did not participate actively enough to win any of the prizes for getting trivia questions right, I liked seeing the sponsors utilize Twitter so effectively - there were questions where answers needed to be tweeted.

Fall is a beautiful time to get out to Virginia's wineries, try their wines, and then figure out which winery you want to explore next. Thanks again to the Virginia Tourism Corporation for organizing such a great event. I will provide a write-up that does it justice in the coming days.

Until then, pour yourself a glass of wine and plan a trip out to Virginia's wineries...Your team has a bye week for a reason.