RICHMOND – Governor McDonnell has proclaimed October as Virginia Wine Month for 2011. He will kick off Virginia Wine Month this evening at a reception in Richmond for Virginia winemakers, grape growers, wine purchasers and supporters. Virginia Wine Month is in its 23rd year as a major state initiative to highlight Virginia’s beautiful vineyards and wineries, world class wines, and festivals during the height of fall foliage season. Since Virginia Wine Month began in 1988, the Virginia wine industry has grown from 40 wineries to nearly 200 in 2011. The Commonwealth also has 16 wine trails. The Virginia Wine Month proclamation is available here .
Speaking about Virginia Wine Month, Governor McDonnell stated, “There has never been a better time for Virginia wine. This year, Virginia wine sales reached an all-time high. And there’s no better time to truly experience Virginia wines and to visit our wineries than the fall. As huge fans and supporters of the Virginia wines, the First Lady and I encourage all Virginians to celebrate Virginia Wine Month by visiting our wineries, enjoying local cuisine, taking in the beautiful Virginia landscape and stopping by some of our amazing historical landmarks. Virginia wine means Virginia jobs.”
To honor Virginia Wine Month, the Virginia Wine Board and Virginia Tourism Corporation are sponsoring “Discover Your Local Crush” as the Virginia Wine Month theme, tempting travelers to visit and taste the best of Virginia wines at wineries and festivals statewide. From the coastal serenity of the Eastern Shore to the majestic splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, each wine region provides travelers with one-of-a-kind wine experiences. Virginia is also home to six American Viticultural Areas (AVA), a grape growing region that is defined by its geographic features, which affect the type and style of wine it produces.
“With wineries in every region of the state, Virginia serves as a perfect destination for oenophiles and travel enthusiasts,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd P. Haymore. “In addition, hundreds of restaurants and retailers are participating in the Virginia Wine Month activities. So, there are many different ways Virginia consumers can ‘Discover Your Local Crush’ throughout the month of October.”
Virginia wines can be purchased at wineries and more than 500 restaurants and wine shops highlighting Virginia wines during the month-long promotion. Check http://www.virginiawine.org/october-wine-month for information on where to find Virginia Wine Month events, festivals, and participating restaurants and wine shops.
Sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in fiscal year 2011 with more than 462,000 cases sold during the fiscal year. This figure marked a sales increase of more than 11% over the previous fiscal year. Virginia is now the nation’s fifth largest wine producer and seventh largest wine grape producer. According to the most recent economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs approximately 3,000 people and contributes almost $350 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. The study reflected the impact of 120 wineries in 2005; today, there are nearly 200 farm wineries in the state. A new economic impact study is planned for fiscal year 2012.