Virginia is said to have around 300 wineries. As of June 2020 I actually count 247…but if you include cideries and meaderies, we’re at 277. So…pretty close to 300!
Of this roster, I’ve visited a lot. By ‘a lot’…I mean…all but 15 of them. That’s right; I’ve visited 237 wineries, 18 cideries, and 7 meaderies that are currently open to the public. If we include locations that are now closed or rebranded…I’ve visited 263 wineries.
Like a crazed OCD gamer who must perform every quest, pick up every piece of loot, search every room, and interact with every character…I need to visit…ALL OF THEM.
Some commonly asked questions:
1) My first Virginia winery was Casanel Vineyards and Winery, sometime in I think mid-2013.
2) My favorite winery is a toss up; either Linden Vineyards or Arterra Wines. A lot depends on who I visited most recently. But in truth, my favorite VA wine tends to be what I’m drinking at the moment.
3) My favorite grapes are Tannat, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc.
4) I’ve visited 237 wineries, 18 cideries, and 7 meaderies that are currently open to the public. You can add in another 26 wineries that are now closed.
5) I’m a member of Linden, Arterra, and Hiddencroft. I tend to do case-clubs, not full on wine clubs (where they usually pick your wines).
Ironically, I’ve also found myself struggling to define what constitutes a ‘visit’. If a winery is renamed, does visiting that same space constitute a ‘new’ visit? What about producers that lack tasting rooms; how does one ‘cross them off’ in a quest to visit every winery? What about wineries that are seasonal or special-event focused; do those get placed in the same visitation bucket as the rest?
OK, so maybe to simply issue, I’ll only focus on wineries that have a physical space to visit (sorry October One!). What about cideries and meaderies? Do they go into the ‘winery’ bucket? Why shouldn’t they, given they also compete in the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition? What about ‘urban’ wineries that sell wine made from out of state fruit; do I include them in the roster?
To narrow the question down of “How many wineries are in the state”, I use the following definition:
For the purpose of visiting every winery in Virginia, a ‘visit’ must include the following criteria; 1) The location visited must produce a fermented beverage described as wine, cider, or mead, 2) it must have a physical tasting location to visit, 3) it must have defined visiting hours or be available via appointment to the general public, and 4) it must use Virginia fruit (or whatever component the beverage is primarily composed of).
That excludes some wine labels, but it makes the challenge more easily achievable. I still track visits to wineries that lack a tasting room or non-Virginia fruit separately. But to qualify for this challenge, I’m using the above criteria. I’m also tracking cideries and meaderies as sub-categories, as well as wineries that I’ve visited that have since closed.