RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the 29th Annual October Virginia Wine Month, offering visitors a chance to discover why Virginia is a wine destination unlike any other. The month long celebration includes special events at wineries, restaurants, hotels, and wine bars, as well as dozens of wine festivals across the commonwealth. This year’s wine month theme is ‘Discover Your Local Crush.’
“The Virginia wine industry has grown tremendously since 1988 when October was first proclaimed Virginia Wine Month,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Wine sales reached a new record level last fiscal year, at over 587,500 cases. The continued growth of the commonwealth’s wine industry, one of Virginia’s fastest growing agricultural sectors, is a priority for my administration as we work to build a new Virginia economy. I’m proud that these vineyards are bringing jobs and tourism to many rural localities across our beautiful commonwealth.”
With wine sales at a new all-time high, and more people visiting the state’s wineries than ever before, Virginia is now a premiere East Coast destination for wine and wine tourism. In addition to critically acclaimed wines, Virginia boasts lavish scenery, breathtaking views, quaint small towns, and celebrated historic sites from just over 3,800 acres of winery and vineyard locations, seven American Viticultural Areas, and more than two dozen wine trails.
“Virginia’s 420 vineyards growing 3,800 acres of wine grapes are dotted across the commonwealth and are becoming an increasingly important part of Virginia’s diverse agricultural economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden. “We are proud of the caliber of wines our growers and winemakers are producing. October is a perfect time to get out and explore the vineyards and see the grapes being picked and taste the wines.”
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia, generating $24 billion in economic impact, supporting 130,000 jobs and contributing $1.7 billion in state and local taxes,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Virginia’s wine industry is an important part of our tourism economy, and serves as a major competitive differentiator for the Commonwealth, making us an ideal destination for travelers who are seeking authentic, experiential culinary attractions. With our 15 million acres of beautiful fall foliage, breathtaking vistas, and a large variety of events and festivals taking place across the Commonwealth, October is truly the perfect time to discover why Virginia is for Wine Lovers.”
October Virginia Wine Month is the oldest wine month in the country. It began in 1988 as a way to support the state’s young wine business – with just 40 wineries at the time – and promote travel to Virginia wine country. Today, Virginia ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with more than 280 wineries and over 410 vineyards. Sales of Virginia wine have shown solid growth in recent years, with a 5.6% in increase from last fiscal year. In addition, more than 2.2 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2015, according the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Virginia’s wine industry generates $1.37 billion in economic impact to the Commonwealth.
October in Virginia is for many reasons. The state’s 15 million acres of fall foliage are bursting with color at the same time the wineries are celebrating the harvest. From the coastal serenity of the Eastern Shore vineyards to the majestic splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, each wine region provides travelers with one-of-a-kind wine experiences.
Virginia wines have been featured recently in Forbes, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Decanter Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Bon Appétit, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Conde Nast Traveler, Washington Post, and Washingtonian Magazine.
For a list of October Virginia Wine Month events, visit virginiawine.org/october-wine-month. To find more information on wine travel in Virginia including travel packages and deals, visit virginia.org/wine.