Virginia Wine Highlights of 2011, Optimism for 2012

 Wine Enthusiast Magazine has named Virginia as one of the 10 best wine travel destinations for 2012. The article, listed online and in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, highlights Virginia as one of only three domestic destinations to make the list of wine regions that are ideal for wine lovers to visit in 2012. Virginia was named along with regions in Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Hungary, Germany, France, Chile and two regions in California. The article cites Virginia’s rich history, natural beauty and wine makers as some of the many reasons why Virginia is a hot wine travel destination. This article just out on Virginia.Gov!

2011 proved to be an exciting year for Charlottesville and the wine industry throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The North American Wine Bloggers Conference made their way to the East Coast bringing along international publicity for Virginia wines. Over 300 wine bloggers descended on Charlottesville visiting local wineries, dining on the lawn at Monticello and tasting food pairings along Main Street and  the Downtown Pedestrian Mall.  Governor McDonnell and First Lady Maureen have promoted our vineyards and wineries enthusiastically.  First Lady Maureen McDonnell has  incorporated wine and wine tourism promotions into her First Lady Initiative Team Effort or FLITE. More domestic and international promotions are planned for 2012.

Having only recently started blogging about wines, I was thrilled to sip alongside world-wide experts at the wining/dining table. Despite intense heat, Virginia wines showed well and local wine-makers relished the opportunity to present their best.  Almost simultaneously, Charlottesville was thrust into the limelight by the demise of the Kluge Estate and the “intervention” of consummate real estate investor, Donald Trump. Thus, the new Trump Winery.

Following a year hit by weather extremes, please read the following excerpt from Stephen Barnard’s blog post Mother Nature Ruled 2011 for Keswick Vineyards which illustrates 2011 better than I ever could.

After the 2010 vintage in Virginia [arguably the best in recent times], the 2011 growing season was also going to struggle to reach the lofty standards of its predecessor. To say that 2011 failed miserably, would be similar to saying that Drew Brees had an okay year [this makes sense if you know that he broke Dan Marino’s all time passing yards in a single season, 5084 set in 1984 when Marino played for the Miami Dolphins].

Mother Nature ruled this year and her awesome power was on display more times than anyone of us would wish for. From a devastating earthquake in New Zealand to the horrific Tsunami in Japan, 2011 was littered with catastrophic natural disasters. Closer to home, Tuscaloosa was hit hard by the April 27th Tornado, Virginia experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23rd, quickly followed by the August 27th appearance of hurricane Irene. 2011 was certainly unforgettable, but for all the wrong reasons.

All in all though, I think we manged to dodge a bullet, in that it would have been far corse than what it was. I am thankful for having some experience in Virginia and after working the 2003 harvest, I was way more prepared this time round. I can only shudder and imagine what would have happened had this been my first vintage in Virginia. Overall I give the vintage a B+, the wines are developing character and should be fantastic. Although lighter in style than 2010, these are vibrant wines and will no doubt bring pleasure to many a wine drinker.

I love the end of his blog post extolling the best blend ever, he and wife Kat’s baby girl, Aria, born in December.  A 50% blend of each parent, expecting to take 80 years to mature! 

 After all, it was a very good year.

My friends at Drs. Viglione, Haines and Bagheri selected a new winery-Pippin Hill,  to kick off their new name, Charlottesville Dental Health Partners. A fun time for all who could participate, it was the unveiling of their philosophy, Our Focus is On You. Toasting a relationship between health and dental health, dentists partnering with their patients for total body health.

I had the pleasure of visiting many wineries in Virginia this year and even some in England.  Lots of fun with family and friends. The potential for the 2012 Virginia wine industry  is exciting and I look forward to the progress of our friends and encourage the support of  “Drink Local”!  I think I made that up?

Cheers from Bob and Tricia!

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