Red, Red Wine

Virginia weather in 2019 made for excellent grapes.

Photo courtesy of Chatham Vineyards

Chatham Vineyards owner and winemaker, Jon Wehner, working on the 2019 cabernet franc.

Every year, Virginia winemakers watch the weather zealously, tend their vines carefully, and hope for a good harvest. In 2018, much of the work—and many of the grapes—went to waste thanks to bad weather. But 2019 was an altogether different story.

The beginning of the 2019 growing season was defined by copious rainfall and late soil moisture in many parts of the state. The long, warm summer saw several heat events with a long, relatively mild finish to the season, creating growing conditions similar to those of Bordeaux, France.

Matthew Meyer, winemaker at Williamsburg Winery, says, “2019 has potential to be the best vintage I have experienced in Virginia. We had an exceptionally dry fall, which allowed the grapes to fully ripen on the vines. Not only were the grapes very good, but the quantity was also outstanding,” adding that petit verdot, tannat, albariño, and chardonnay grapes performed particularly well. 

Mills Wehner of Chatham Vineyards in Machipongo says, “2019 was the best vintage we’ve seen in our 20 years of growing wine in Virginia, no doubt about that! Cabernet franc was the best varietal for us, the highest quality we’ve seen and yields were up, so an exceptional Virginia vintage overall.”

Williamsburg Winery, Chatham Vineyards

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