Virginia Wine, by the numbers

A look at the last few years of winemaking in the commonwealth.

Photo by: smilla4

By Susan Howson & Ross Catrow

Ten years ago, you could probably only name one or two…MAYBE a handful of Virginia wineries. Now, it’s completely common to have a whole entire grocery store section devoted to locally made whites, reds, and rosés.

While Virginia wine is creeping up, it still occupies just a smidgen of the country’s consumption. We’re the fifth largest in production, after Oregon, but compared to their 30,000 producing acres, our 3,500 are just a drop in the vat. “We’re tiny,” says Annette Boyd from Virginia Wine. “But that’s actually the way these wineries like it. These are small, family-run farms. The one word we hear is that it’s very authentic, whereas people sometimes compare Napa to Disneyland.”

In other words, it’s all going as planned–growing steadily but not spiraling out of control. Virginia’s wine country covers more acres and grows more kinds of grapes, but no one’s trying to rename Afton to Space Mountain. Not yet, anyway.

We’ve come a long way from Thomas Jefferson’s little wine experiments and gotten a lot closer to his dream. The following is a look at how Virginia wine has grown in just the past few years.

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