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Ultimate Guide to Virginia Wine Country

By: Heather Kolich

Virginia Wine Regions and Characteristics

This illustration circa 1754 explains how Jamestown settlers in the 1600s unsuccessfully attempted to make wine in Virginia.
This illustration circa 1754 explains how Jamestown settlers in the 1600s unsuccessfully attempted to make wine in Virginia.

Most of Virginia is considered wine country. Vineyards spread from the state's peninsula to the eastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, but according to Chris Pearmund, wine industry innovator and owner of Pearmund Cellars, Virginia wines have a European influence. "We [Virginia growers] look to the grape regions that have a climate similar to ours, like the Loire Valley of France, and grow what grows well there," Pearmund said.

However, the climate and soil conditions of Virginia's six wine regions impart distinctly local qualities to European wine grapes. They range from the sandy soils and ocean breezes of the state's eastern region to the higher-elevation, granite and clay soils of the Appalachian Mountains' foothills, and the names of these American Viticultural Areas -- Monticello, George Washington Birthplace, Eastern Shore, North Fork of Roanoke, Rocky Knob and Shenandoah Valley -- evoke the state's legacy in American history.

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