Vitis Virginia

Raise a glass to Jefferson’s love of wine at these five festivals.

Of the potential for domestic viticulture in the United States, Thomas Jefferson said, “We could make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe—not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” The Founding Father had faith that Virginia’s land possessed the “soil, aspect, and climate of the best wine countries,” and with these aspirations, he planted his own vineyards at Monticello.

The wine industry of Virginia would not flourish until 200 years later, but with a market now valued at $1.37 billion annually, the state is home to more than 250 wineries and 2,500 bearing acres of vineyard. Jefferson’s vineyards stand testament to his hope for a future of domestic winemaking.

You can celebrate this legacy at Jefferson’s retreat at Poplar Forest during the Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival on Sat., Nov. 18. Festivities will include tastings from wineries throughout the Commonwealth and an appearance by master winemaker Gabriele Rausse, who oversaw the restoration of the vineyards at Monticello. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets $25 – $225.

Upcoming Events

October is Virginia Wine Month, but you can continue the celebration well into November.

Caledon State Park Art and Wine Festival, King George, Saturday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Fredericksburg Wine Festival, Fredericksburg, Saturday, Nov. 4 and Sunday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Shenandoah Uncorked Wine Festival, Quicksburg, Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Taste by the Bay: Wine, Food, Arts & Ale, Irvington, Saturday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

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