RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced the official start of the 31st Annual October Virginia Wine Month, celebrating the growth of Virginia’s wine industry and the unique character of the Commonwealth’s wines. The oldest wine month in the country, dating back to 1988, the celebration of Virginia Wine Month in October marks when winemakers traditionally harvest grapes off the vine and prepare their next vintages. As part of the month-long festivities, the Virginia Wine Board will launch Harvest Parties across the Commonwealth on October 19, 2019 to celebrate the richness of Virginia’s ten wine regions.
“Virginia Wine Month is a time to toast Virginia’s beautiful vineyards, world-class wines, and the economic opportunity harvested by this thriving sector of our agriculture and tourism industries,” said Governor Northam. “I am delighted to continue the annual tradition of raising a glass to celebrate the quality, diversity, and distinction of our wine and the Virginians who make them. I invite residents and visitors to see for themselves what makes Virginia a top wine destination and explore all that the Commonwealth’s wineries have to offer.”
With nearly 300 wineries across the Commonwealth, Virginia is the sixth-largest wine region in the United States. According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, more than 2.2 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2015. Today, the Virginia wine industry generates $1.37 billion in economic impact and 8,218 jobs for the Commonwealth.
“Wine has become a driver of Virginia’s diverse agricultural economy and October is an excellent time to visit and experience the Commonwealth’s wine scene firsthand,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “On October 19, we look forward to seeing people across the state gather in restaurants, vineyards, private homes, and open fields for a feast of Virginia-grown food and wine. This is a great occasion for the Commonwealth to come together and celebrate Virginia Wine Month.”
This year’s Harvest Party offers a chance for wineries, restaurants, and retailers to toast to the many wonders of Virginia’s wine and food in the comfort of their own establishment. Individuals can check out events planned across Virginia, find Harvest Party how-to guides and seasonal recipes inspired by the bounty of the Commonwealth, and more at the Virginia Wine Month website.
Planned Harvest Party activities include informal and festive experiences curated by wineries across the state as well as special events hosted by restaurants featuring their own signature foods that pair well with approachable, ready-to drink Virginia wines.
Businesses interested in planning their own Harvest Party now have access to toolkits created by the Virginia Wine Board, which offer tips on how to celebrate the richness of the region’s food, wine and culture with customers, whether they have a deep knowledge of wine or want to host a memorable night with friends and family.