The Wines of Virginia


Virginians have grown grapes for wine for four centuries, beginning first with the Jamestown settlers. Unfortunately, early efforts to grow vinifera in Virginia were unsuccessful. In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes but his Monticello vineyards never produced wine. George Washington, at Mount Vernon, was also unable to make wine despite a decade of effort. In the late-1950s, experimental plantings of vinifera began to finally show promise and by the 1970’s a handful of wineries were established in the Commonwealth.

In 2009, Virginia has 140 wineries (and counting), ranking fifth in the US in terms of numbers of wineries. Wines from the Commonwealth are winning national and international recognition for their elegant qualities. Virginia’s terroir has helped vintners create wines stylistically between those of California and Europe that work very well with food. Virginia Viognier is one of a handful of varietals emerging as one of Virginia’s most notable wines.

Join Ted Burns and Scott Hendley as they talk Virginia wine with Virginia winemakers Michael Shaps and Jim Law, wine columnist Toby Beard and Professor of Viticulture Tony Wolf. The panel of Virginia wine experts discuss the strengths, challenges, characteristics, styles, trends and highlights of Virginia wine.

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Show #238
(51:16 min 36MB)

11 Responses to “The Wines of Virginia”

  1. 1 mparnell Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    hey really loved this one guys, I live in Charlottesville so it was cool hearing more from people in this area. Especially Michael Shaps, who makes probably the best Norton wine I’ve ever had.

  2. 2 Eric Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Brian great to have you back. I am taking the family to Colonial Williamsburg for the 4th of July and look forward to tasting as many VA wine as I can. Keep up the good work guys.

  3. 3 GrapeRadio Bunch Jun 8th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I hope we get invited back to the east coast. Lots more wineries to visit

  4. 4 M.Mitchell Jun 11th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Great piece on Virginia wines! I’ve been following VA wines for almost 25 years and the industry has come a LONG way. Many of the wines produced here are now top notch and worthy of note. Michael, Jim, and Tony have added a lot to the growth and quality in the industry. I now have a number of favorite VA wines that have surpassed some of my old faves from CA and Europe. Also of note, as was mentioned at the end of the show, is the relaxing and jovial environment that can be experienced at many VA wineries. They are truly a destination for not only great wine, but a most enjoyable experience as well. Thanks for bringing VA wines to light!

  5. 5 Neal Clark Jun 16th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Brian, Great to have you back and I am also excited that the audio podcasts are returning. Great for listening in the car.

  6. 6 BEB Jun 27th, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Brian, welcome back. Living in Virginia and being acquainted with members of your panel not to mention following Virginia wineries “from the start,” it is wonderful to see these guys and Virginia wines get some excellent exposure. Excellent podcast!


  7. 7 Brian Crabtree Jul 9th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    With all due respect to the panel participants and their very interesting discussion, the best part of this show was hearing Brian, sounding strong and positive. It definitely made my day.

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Bunch Jul 10th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Ditto Brian Crabtree’s response


  9. 9 Greg O. Sep 10th, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Absolutely great to have Brian back – his enthusiasm is contagious! I too have followed VA wines for many years since my college days at W&L and UVA. Great strides have been made but often what holds me back is the price or qpr of some of the wines. For too long many seemed way overpriced relevant to quality and especially compared to great value wines from France. There are exceptions of course and Linden is one winery that IMHO does provide an appropriate price for the quality of its wines.

  1. 1 VIRGINIA CORNER: October is Virginia Wine Month! | Wine on the Barrelhead pingback on Dec 4th, 2012 at 11:58 am
  2. 2 VIRGINIA WINE REVIEWS: Highlights from Virginia Wine Month at the “Taste of Culpeper” | Wine on the Barrelhead pingback on Oct 15th, 2013 at 5:01 pm

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