- The Governor's Cup goes to the best wine.bottle wine and glasses with a wine image by mashe from Fotolia.com
Virginia really is for lovers--wine lovers, that is. As of January 2011, Virginia boasted 160 wineries scattered over 11 wine trails. Many wineries host Friday night and weekend tastings that feature specialty cuisine, art tours and wine education classes. Barrel tastings and vertical tastings--one wine from different vintages--abound at many wineries throughout the year. Other attractions include hay rides, dances and winery anniversary parties. Some events take place just once a year, and the season peaks with October's Virginia Wine Month celebration.
Virginia Wine Showcase
- Every February, Virginia warms up the winter with the Virginia Wine Showcase in Chantilly, featuring tastings of more than 300 wines. The Virginia Wine Showcase combines wine tasting with fine arts and culinary seminars. Admission for the 2011 event includes $45 at the door, $40 in advance.
Gray Ghost Barrel Tasting
- In March, Gray Ghost Vineyards opens its Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay barrels for an annual Barrel Tasting event. In January 2011, the $15 admission fee included a Gray Ghost logo wine glass, tasting, and light snacks.
Prince Michel Winery Car Show
- Start your engine in April for the Prince Michel Winery Car Show in Leon, Virginia. The event is free and open to the public. Enter any make and model of car and sample Prince Michel wines while you enjoy the spring weather and the auto show.
Polo at the Plains
- In September, enjoy wine and polo at The Wine Festival at The Plains. This event has been voted one of the top 20 events in the Southeast United States. Taste 250 of the best wines in Virginia while enjoying a polo match at the Wine Festival at The Plains. The cost of tickets, as of January 2011, was $35 online and $40 at the gate.
- Early in October, Virginia's governor awards the Governor's Cup for one Virginia winery for reds and one for whites. The Cup kicks off Virginia Wine Month on the lawn at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. Judges taste red wines in February and white wines in August, then keep the identity of the winners under wraps until prizes are awarded at the Governor's Cup.
Virginia Wine Month
- October is Virginia Wine Month, and has been since 1988. "Fall foliage comes into color and we celebrate the harvest at wineries across the state," says Alisa Bailey, Virginia Tourism CEO. Yorktown, Waynesboro, Alexandria, Powhatan and Fredericksburg host wine festivals featuring music, gourmet food, art, and crafts. Millwood holds a wine and music festival complete with hot air balloons.