James Feldkamp discusses why Virginia is one of the most unique states for wine production in the country.
ARLINGTON, VA / When wine enthusiasts mention notable wine regions in the U.S., they typically mention California or Washington State. However, Virginia is home to more than 280 wineries and two special grapes that make this wine region stand apart from the rest. Wine enthusiast James Feldkamp recently discussed why Virginia is one of the most unique wine states in the U.S.
“Virginia is one of the top wine regions in the country, but it rarely receives the recognition it should,” James Feldkamp said. “This state ranks No. 6, in the United States for grape production and his home to noteworthy wines that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere.”
James Feldkamp explained that Virginia is one of just two wine locations on the planet where Petit Manseng can be found. This white-wine grape hails from Southwest France, and Virginia is the only other place it’s found on the planet.
Similarly, James Feldkamp explained that Virginia is known for its rare and delicious Petit Verdot wines. Three of Virginia’s Petit Verdot wines were among just 12 wines to earn honors at the 2018 Virginia Governor’s Cup. The Governor’s Cup is one of the most esteemed wine competitions in the United States.
James Feldkamp added that Petit Manseng reached Virginia from Southwest France in 1987, thanks to a Virginia Tech professor of viticulture. He wanted to see how these grape varieties would fare in the climate of Virginia’s foothills. James Feldkamp explained the professor found Petit Manseng was easy to grow and maintain in the humid weather of the state.
“These two rare and delicious grapes are just a fraction of what makes our wine region so special,” James Feldkamp said. “Virginia is also home to Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and countless other grapes. There’s truly a wine for everyone here.”
James Feldkamp explained many people know Virginia is home to some breathtaking scenery, but they don’t fully understand how ideal it is for growing grapes. James Feldkamp added that western Virginia is home to higher altitudes, which continuously rise into the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountains rise to nearly 6,000 feet above sea level, but the areas between 600 and 900 feet prove ideal for grape growing. Areas like the famous Shenandoah Valley are known for rich soil in which grapevines thrive.
“Right now, Virginia is an off-the-beaten-path destination for wine enthusiasts,” James Feldkamp said. “Visiting is affordable and travelers can enjoy wineries and tours without an abundance of tourists doing the same. There’s no better time than now to explore Virginia’s wineries.”