Promoting wine tourism opportunities in the Eastern United States
The 2016 Winery Guide
I will try to make it down to the new wine region in the spring and I will be visiting the new wineries over the next few months. I will make an effort to report back on all my findings and reactions. If you should happen to explore any of them before I get there, please share. I want to hear what you think.
Every year when the new Winery Guide is released by VirginiaWine.org, I take it home and compare it to my dogeared copy of the previous year’s map to see what has changed. Each year I tick off the wineries that have closed and those that have opened. According to the map, ten appear to have closed shop and eleven new wineries have come online. I know of at least three more new wineries that were not included, so that is a net gain of about four and the official total seems to stand at 254.
If you have any interest in the wineries that are unaccounted for, De Mello Vineyards is in the Shenandoah Valley near Quicksburg and I just learned that Slater Run Vineyards opened in Northern Virginia near Upperville. Finally, 50 West replaced Leaves of Grass near Aldie. If you know of others that are missing from the map, please let me know. I make a real effort to stay on top of these things.
In any case, it seems that growth in total winery numbers has cooled a bit. It may be that the area of fastest expansion in Loudoun County is reaching a saturation point. The grape shortage certainly makes it difficult and probably more expensive for a new winery to source fruit. In any case, this is a minor story compared with the larger adjustment that was made to the Virginia wine map.
In 2016 there has been a new and fairly significant geographic rezoning of some of the wine regions. There is an entirely new wine region that was carved out of the southern Shenandoah and the northeastern Blue Ridge. The Virginia Mountains Region was cobbled together using all or part of ten counties and the city of Roanoke. It contains a total of twelve wineries. The change seems to have been made with little fanfare. The update has not even been made on the VirginiaWine.org website and I was unable to find any information regarding the change. I will continue to investigate and I hope to write something about the region in the near future.