Finishing My VA Wine Journey

Virginia is said to have around 300 wineries. Actually I count 253…but if you include cideries and meaderies, we’re at 288. There are also several upcoming wineries that have licenses. So…pretty close to 300!

But as of October 14, 2020, I’ve visited ALL OF THEM. That’s right; I’ve visited EVERY ONE of the 253 WINERIES IN VIRGINIA that are open to the public. In addition to those, I’ve also visited 25 cideries and 8 meaderies. If we include wineries that are now closed or rebranded…I’ve visited 281 wineries.

Follow this link for the current Virginia wine roster

I only count wineries that have tasting rooms which are open to the public. Unfortunately this leaves out several wineries that I love – such as October One Vineyard – but I’m not certain how to include them since they lack a designated tasting room. Neither do I count private wine labels by individual winemakers such as Ben Jordan’s Lightwell Survey, or temporary soft openings in tents such as Chapelle Charlemagne.

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 favorite winery is a toss up; either Linden Vineyards or Arterra Wines. A lot depends on who I visited most recently.

2) My first Virginia winery was Casanel Vineyards and Winery, sometime in I think mid-2013. I credit Katie and Nelson for setting me on the right path from there.

3) My favorite grapes are Tannat, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc.

4) 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 list as the rest?

To narrow the question down of “How many wineries are in the state”, I use the following definition:

For the purpose of defining what constitutes a ‘visit’, 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 under their control (no farmers markets), 3) it must have defined visiting hours or be available via appointment to the general public, and 4) it must use Virginia ingredients (grapes, apples, honey, or whatever other ingredients the beverage is primarily composed of).

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.

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