Wine Talk

Snooth User: ChipDWood

More great news from Virginia...

Posted by ChipDWood, Feb 15, 2011.

Virginia Governor Robert McDonald has been incredibly bullish and aggressive (good things) regarding the future of Virginia wine making and its surrounding agritourism potential for the Commonwealth.

This new legislation is just another example of his policy directly promoting the expansion of wine production from the Cardinal's Commonwealth.  Straight from the pages of the "Virginia Wine Lover" newsletter:



Legislation sponsored by Delegate Scott Garrett (HB 1837) and Senator Jill Vogel (SB 1264), originated as a recommendation of Governor McDonnell's Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission.  It is designed to spur more growth and economic prosperity in Virginia's wine/grape industry, one of the state's fastest growing subsectors.

What the legislation will accomplish: It provides for a reimbursable tax credit -- capped at $250,000 annually -- for the expansion or installation of a winery or vineyard(Emphasis mine)  The tax credit is to be applied against an individual's income tax for 25 percent of the cost of such expansion or installation. 

Why the legislation is important:  It is a means of increasing the number of wineries and vineyards in Virginia, as well as attracting attendant businesses and services such as hotels, restaurants, inns, spas, surrounding agricultural operations, and other tourist-friendly attractions.  Converting under-utilized farmland to working vineyards keeps agricultural land in production and stimulates rural economies through direct-to-consumer sales and agritourism."

In a Country whose National economic identity is lagging, and its manufacturing base completely circling the drain only buoyed by Federal bailouts- I give you a prime example of one industry that is opening a new door to a traditional economic force that was the foundation of the rest of the Nation to begin with: Virginia Vino.

Also: When's the last time you planned a trip to "Car Country", and booked a room at a B&B in Detroit?

It's.  So.  On.  You heard it here, again, first.  Watch Virginia.  Join the Virginia Group here on Snooth if you want to talk to folks familiar with the scene and who have had some fantasic suggestions.  Try some of their wines.  My bet is that you'll be astonished at what you and a rising tide of wine lovers is discovering by the day.

Virginia is for Wine Lovers.  Baby.


Reply by duncan 906, Feb 16, 2011.

As a mere Brit I must confess my ignorance.I did not even know they made wine in Virginia and I have actually been there to visit my brother who lives there with his Amereican wife

Reply by hhotdog, Feb 16, 2011.

with wineries showing up in all states it's great to hear the state gov. doning something to help out the new industry!  i believe we will hear much much more from Virginia's wine industry. good luck CDW and keep us posted!

Reply by ChipDWood, Feb 17, 2011.

@ Duncan906: I've heard it best put this way:

"The wines of Virginia are halfway between the wines of Europe and the wines of the west coast."

I believe that quote should be attributed to Chris Hill. veteran of the Virginia wine scene and a widely consulted expert on the region's terroir and what it can yield.

Keep in mind the above is still only in the "proposition" phase- but I have little doubt that it will pass as it seems there is a powerful tide from all corners of Virginia that want to see their reputation as wine makers grow.

If you haven't seen it yet: try to get your hands on a copy of "Vintage: The Winemakers Year", from Silverhorn Films.

It.  Is.  Fantastic.  And it spells things out in far greater detail than a simple post could ever hope to do.

Reply by duncan 906, Feb 17, 2011.

Pity I cannot buy these wines in the UK

Reply by Jimmy Cocktail, Feb 18, 2011.

For all the forward thinking by the Governor, there is still some very backward thinking in the Virginia ABC which presents some significant challenges to distribution outside of Virginia. That being said, I believe that they had an event at the Ashby Inn last December where Virginia wines that were being exported to the UK were featured. I''ll have to see if I can dig up a list of which wines were there.

Reply by ChipDWood, Feb 18, 2011.

Jimmy- with you, and wish New Jersey was a bit less "protective" regarding the importing of Virginia wines.  They can get them in NYC but not in Jersey.


Reply by GregT, Feb 18, 2011.

Duncan - you did not know they made wine in Virginia?

I think that may have been the first state in the US in which they made wine.  Jefferson started before the US was even independent!

For some reason I'm not sure I understand, our friend Chip has some kind of connection with Virginia.  I think I've seen more info here on this board about VA wines than anywhere else.  It's kind of cool in a way - there are so many regions and areas where wine was never produced and potentially great wine could be made.  I stopped being skeptical once I had a surprisingly good few wines from Ohio and Michigan.  New Jersey hasn't done much for me yet but Virginia is certainly serious about wine.  We should figure out some kind of swap via Snooth - I've had some Pinot Noir and sparkling wine from Great Britain last time I was over - you can ship some here and maybe get a few interesting bottles from Virginia and some other unlikely states?

Reply by ChipDWood, Feb 19, 2011.

Heh... GT- I owe you already, though I must admit to not sampling the three you already ssent me.  I blame my neigbors.  THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE DAMNIT!

Anyway... eh, I owe ya.

Not sure if I have your adress, or business addy in the city whee I could drop them off to save the postagio.

...Cause I have a couple goodies here, and I owe ya.

Reply by GregT, Feb 19, 2011.

Nada!  Nothing owed! That wasn't the idea! 

I just know there are some serious wineries in VA although I've not had more than a couple wines from there and there are also some ambitious folks in England who are making sparkling wine and Pinot Noir.  For me, those are the things I find interesting rather than just one more wine from Bordeaux or Napa.  I like those latter wines of course, but remember how Mae West approached things - When faced with a choice between two evils, always choose the one you haven't tried before.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 20, 2011.

Evil wine?  I'll give it a pass. 

We went to VA about 4 years ago to see my brother in law, left the kids with him for an afternoon and went wine tasting.  Nothing special.  But then things are just starting out and we didn't go more than 3 places. 

I do agree that there's a lot to be said for trying new regions, but I am far enough behind GregT and many others in my knowledge of established wine regions that, when choosing my evil, I guess I would prefer Mrs. Robinson to someone inexperienced. 

Reply by dmcker, Feb 20, 2011.

Which would be exactly whom, in the California and French contexts, Foxall? Not too difficult a choice between Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross for me, either. Probably easier to catch that element of ennui in her character via a French wine, though....

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 20, 2011.

Yeah, that was a really awesome "new evil," so Katherine Ross might have won out, even though Anne Bancroft was astonishing--the cigarette a bit of a turnoff these days, but...  I was wishing I was a het female as I typed that so I could say, better Casanova than a pimply 18 year old HS senior.  That kind of thing doesn't sound creepy coming from a female.

Reply by Jimmy Cocktail, Feb 21, 2011.

The biggest problem with Virginia is that even after trying to make wine here for close to 400 years (yes the original colonists were under orders to make wine to be sent back to England) it is only now that the vineyards here are starting to figure it out. I specifically mention the vineyards because there are a lot of good wine makers here in Virginia but if they don't have good fruit to work with they just won't be able to make good wines, period.

There are some general things to look forward to from Virginia though.

The first is wines made from the Norton grape. Brought back into the state in 1991 by Dennis Horton it is a grape with a fascinating history and one that extremely interesting wines can be made from. I don't believe that it will ever be more than a niche player but worth a shot if you come across one.

There are three French varietals that grow exceptionally well over here too. They are the Vigonier, Petit Verdot and Tannat grapes. Vigonier is already a staple at just about every winery in the state and the Petit Verdot is rapidly gaining in popularity. The grape with perhaps the most potential is the Tannat though. Both big, rustic wines and intense yet elegant wines are already being made from this grape. I am very much looking forward to how this grape is used going forward in the state.

However, there are still a lot of people with more dollars than sense so you end up with some real "what the hell are you thinking?" types of wines out there. At last count there are 190 wineries in Virginia and more popping up every day. There are no "big" wineries though, most are familiy vineyards doing less than 10,000 cases a year so it is doubtful that there wil be steady distribution outside of the immediate area in the near future. It is worth picking up a bottle to see what things are all about if you come across one.


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