By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My mother visited Virginia this past summer and was surprised to discover they had wineries there. In the off chance this month, I wanted to plan a return visit with her so we could actually visit some. Could you offer any tips on wine touring in Virginia?

A: Wine making in Virginia actually dates back to Thomas Jefferson who popularized winemaking in the commonwealth when he donated hundreds of acres off his estate in Monticello to an Italian.

Today, Virginia which now ranks as the fifth largest wine producing state in the United States celebrates 130 wineries with many receiving national accolades and some even paying homage to the former president through the varietals. The oldest native North American varietal commercially cultivated is the Norton grape which can be sampled in full glory at the Chrysalis Vineyards (

Besides this winery, wine lovers can explore Virginia’s numerous wine trails of which many are located in the state’s northern region. If you plan on taking mom on a return visit, this month is designated as Virginia Wine Month. Expect special events in celebration of the 2007 harvest. Wine festivals are plenty from the Town Point Wine Festival along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk to the Festival of The Grape in historic Powhatan to Wine and Garlic Festival at Rebec Vineyards in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Special events like the Haunted Winery Dinner at DelFosse Vineyards and Winery, All Things Olive at Villa Appalachia Winery and Autumn Explosion and Barrel Tasting at Barboursville Vineyards help make Wine Month a great time to visit Virginia.

If you plan on driving, Virginia is only 10 hours from Ontario. For flights, Air Canada, United Express, and US Air Express have non-stop flights to the Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports.

For more information about Virginia Wine Month, go to or call 1-800-675-3230 to request a 2007 Virginia Travel Guide.


dispatches | q&a | photos | fork | newsletter | archives | links | search | store | submissions | about | contact | home

All text & photos © 2002-08.