Virginia Wine Fest’s Vine GuideNorman Renouf
Virginia may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about wine, but these days it is considered one of the up-and-coming wine regions in the world. In the 17th century, the original Jamestown settlers first tried their efforts with European vines but failed miserably. Later, Thomas Jefferson attempted to do the same for three decades at his magnificent Monticello estate near Charlottesville, and even George Washington himself, the nations first President, had no success.
By the early 19th century, North American grapes proved more successful. In 1873, at the Vienna World’s Fair, a red version was voted very highly. After discovering that a combination of grafted European and native vines worked well together, the business prospered until it was devastated by the era of prohibition. It took decades to begin to seriously recover, but finally the number of wineries began to expand in 1995, from 46 to as many as 192 today, and Virginia currently ranks 5th in US wine production.
Naturally, this expansion has ensured that wine festivals have become more popular, and today the Virginia Wine Festival is the oldest and largest on the East Coast. Now in its 35th year, the fest will be held on 17 and 18 September. More than 50 wineries will be represented with over 400 examples of their wines waiting to be sampled and purchased. There will also be an array of gourmet food from the region’s best caterers, in addition to a wide variety of live musical entertainment and over 100 of the region’s best artists and craftspeople displaying their eclectic mix of jewellery, fine art, fashion, and of course, wine accessories.
The location is the beautiful Bull Run Regional Park – although this might be considered an incongruous place to hold a happy festival given its dramatic history. In the summer of 1861, the American Civil War was still in its early days, and in July of that same year, a Union Army marched south from Washington DC, determined to quickly defeat the Confederate troops. It didn’t work out quite like that, and after heavy casualties on both sides, they retreated to Washington DC. A year later, they returned again to these plains around Manassas but, after a three day battle with many more casualties, they were overthrown once again by the genius of General Robert E. Lee – the only man to serve as a general in both the Union and Confederate armies.
Visiting the Virginia Wine Festival is easy when you stay in Washington DC. There are many suburban hotels to choose from, such as the Comfort Inn Conference Center and the Savoy Suites Hotel, both 3-star hotels with ample business facilities. For high-end accommodation, check in to the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Renowned as a luxury hotel, it has welcomed presidents and world leaders through its doors. For the convenience of staying close to Dulles Airport, try the Hyatt Dulles Hotel with ample amenities and leisure facilities. More Washington DC Hotel Promotions can be found on our website.
For more information on the Virginia Wine Festival, visit: www.vawinefest.com