Tuesday, April 18, 2006

12 New Wineries Opening in Virginia in 2006!

As you can tell, I'm on a Virginia tear, here, and it's not going to end. Things are really happening down there. A friend from Alexandria recently asked me what I thought about Virginia wines...and I was effusive, to say the least. There are so many good things going on in Virginia wine right now, it's difficult to keep up. And I am very jealous, because I don't have the time to go down there right now, and start tasting. Very envious of those who do have the opportunity. If you live in Virginia, or if you are planning a little getaway, you better go to some of their wineries...or you are cheating yourself.

According to Cindy Cates, Director, Virginia Wine Marketing Office, "Virginia's own Thomas Jefferson would be proud. The father of American wine never dared to dream that in 2005 Virginia would be home to over 90 wineries, including 12 new ones, each with its own distinct character."

Three Fox Vineyards, opening on April 29 in Delaplane, brings a bit of Tuscany to Virginia. The vineyard, which sits on 50 acres of rolling countryside in the middle of Virginia's hunt country, is all about "La Dolce Vita," or the sweet life. Most of the plantings at Three Fox Vineyards are Italian varietals including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigot, and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard will have three of its 2004 vintage estate-produced wines available for tasting and purchase on opening day: Il Volpe ("fox" in Italian, a Sangiovese blend), "Alouette" (Cabernet Franc) and "La Boheme" (Viognier). (Contact: Holli or John Todhunter, Three Fox Vineyards, 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane, VA, (540) 364-6073, www.threefoxvineyards.com.)

Bloxom Vineyard, opening on Memorial Day, has the distinction of being the only vineyard on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The vineyard, which was once an old Victorian farm, is set on 35 acres just minutes south of Chincoteague Island. Bloxom Vineyard is owned by Robert Giardina and his wife, Francesca, who were born in Morocco and came to Virginia by way of New York City. Francesca, a pastry chef, makes cakes and candies that
are sold in the winery along with the vineyard's Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. The unique combination of fine wines and fine pastries makes an excursion to the vineyard a memorable one. (Contact: Robert Giardina, Bloxom Vineyard, 26130 Mason Road, Bloxom, VA, (757) 665-5670.)

Woodland Vineyard, which is open for business, is a peaceful haven for wine lovers located south of downtown Richmond. The intimate vineyard is situated on just four acres of land. "It's very small, very cozy," says owner Melissa Jeltema. Because the winery is small, Jeltema says she wanted to create traditional wines including Chardonnay, Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon and the winery's Woodsong, a Vidal Blanc. Woodland Vineyard offers tastings and tours, and has a scenic woodland patio for a picnic lunch and glass of wine. (Contact: Melissa Jeltema, Woodland Vineyard, 15501 Genito Road, Midlothian, VA, (804) 739-2774, www.woodlandvineyard.com.

Belle Mount Vineyards, which is also open for business, is located on Virginia's historic Northern Neck. The vineyard occupies over 200 acres of land on what was once Belle Mount Plantation. The scenic setting features lush, rolling hills overlooking the Rappahannock River and Cat Point Creek. Belle Mount offers classic wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Catherine Petrie, owner, describes the winery as "multidimensional," with cottage rentals, a campground, a banquet facility, picnic areas and more. (Contact: Catherine or Ray Petrie, Belle Mount Vineyards, 2570 Newland Road, Warsaw, VA, (804) 333-4700 or (800) 335-5564, www.bellemount.com.)

Virginia's wineries are open to the public for tastings and tours, and many have special events planned around their fall harvest and the holidays. For more information including days and hours of operation, consult the 2005 Virginia Wineries Festival and Tour Guide, contact the Virginia Wine Marketing Office at (800) 828-4637 or visit www.virginiawines.org.

April 8, 2005
Cindy Cates
Director, Virginia Wine Marketing Office
(804) 371-7685, cindy.cates@virginiawines.org