|Picture by Carlo DeVito @ Boxwood Winery during WineCamp 2012 Grand Tasting I|
So what have we learned these past two years? Well, one thing we definitely learned is we will not buy a vineyard and open a winery when we retire. It is far more work than many suspect. Here are some more things we learned in the past two years:
- We brought home far too many wine glasses.
- Loudoun County is far more farm winery friendly than Fauquier County.
- There seem to be a lot of Information Technology (IT) trained folks now making wine in Virginia.
- Those winery signs on Virginia state highways are not used in many other states. This is a big advantage for Virginia wineries that wineries in other states do not have.
- The Virginia Wine Guide is very useful.
- Our GPS system usually finds the best route.
- Sometimes the GPS is wrong.
- There is a Virginia wine blog cabal.
- A few Virginia wineries are world class and many more aspire to it. Many Virginia wineries make very good wines.
- Unfortunately, a few Virginia wineries are satisfied making plonk (or worse).
- There are some really nice "wine ways" in northern Virginia: Route 9 in Loudoun; Route 55; Route 211, RT 522.
- Posts about new wineries are read by far more people than other posts.
- A lot of Virginia winemakers are really fond of oak.
- I prefer "right-bank" Bordeaux-style blends.
- We like the petites- Petit Manseng and Petit Verdot. (I still think these may become our de facto signature grapes)
- Virginia wine bloggers often stop blogging with no notice. Where did you go Unofficial Virginia Wine Tour, Virginia Wine Girl, Vin in Virginia, and Virginia Wine Pointer? We liked your blogs.
- You should always give a winery a second chance. Many times that winery we didn't like so much the first time really impressed us on second visit. Conversely, sometimes that winery we really liked on our first visit didn't keep our interest upon a second visit.
- We have several favorite wineries and that list is evolving.
- We like all kinds of Virginia wineries, from larger facilities to smaller ones. But go EARLY if you are going to a big place.
- There is definitely a "Close to DC" surcharge in prices and fees.
- Visiting on Sunday always means less crowds- this is true for festivals and winery tasting rooms.
- Our tastes have changed.
We have met some wonderful people in the Virginia wine business and the larger Virginia wine community the past few years: Jim and Lori at Corcoran Wine and Corcoran Brewing; Clyde at Hiddencroft; Geri Nolan and her sister Anne at Hunters Run; Stephan and Kat at Keswick; Paul and Warren at Virginia Wine Time; numerous Delamares at Rappahannock Cellars; John Hagarty; Steph and Derek at Gadino Cellars; Pandit at Narmada; Carlo DeVito at East Coast Wineries; Jen at Breaux; Rachel, Cat, and Amanda at Boxwood; Bob at Crushed Cellars; Mark and Vicki at North Gate Vineyard; Maddie Saunders at Morais; Julie from A Rousing Vine; Stacy from Virginiawineknow; Rick and Nancy from Virginia Wine in Your Pocket; Fred and Allison at This is Wine; Jen and Brian; Jim at Delaplane Cellars; the "Casanel girls", Anthony at Virginia Pour House, Allan at CellarBlog, Frank at Drink What You Like, Kristy, Richard Leahy, Dave McIntyre, Mary Ann Dancisin at Virginia Wine Guide Online, Grape Envy Guy and Va Wine Diva from Swirl Sip and Snark, Jeff Sanders from Glass House, Heather at Early Mountain, Vawinewoogie, Doug Fabbioli, Ben Renshaw at 8 Chains North, and many more. It has been nice getting to know you all. I am sure I will remember other names I should have included as soon as I post this. I apologize in advance.
So what is next for Wine About Virginia? We still have some trips around the state to take. Most of the Northern Neck, southern Virginia, and the eastern shore are still "undiscovered" territory for us. It seems there will always be new wineries opening. There are at least three in northern Virginia we know about that are not listed on Virginia Wine.Org, plus there are some wineries listed on that site that have not opened yet. There also new wineries in central Virginia. There is always the next vintage and the new release. We are planning a Virginia wine dinner for some friends from church this October and we are also thinking about a Virginia wine party with the Virginia wine bloggers sometime this fall. We have done one trip to North Carolina and one to California. New York's Finger Lakes and Maryland wineries are still unknown to us.
It is an exciting time for Virginia wine. In many ways the situation here in Virginia is reminiscent of the situation in California in the mid-60s. We have about as many wineries now as California did then. Obviously climate and geography will prevent a similar growth pattern. But Virginia wineries and their wines are moving to the future in a state of excitement and cautious optimism. We are glad to be able to chronicle a small portion of the story here at Wine About Virginia.
Kurt and Carol