Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago and now, wine industry leaders get to share their storied past and current success with wine tourism professionals from around the world.
Located in the heart of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Loudoun County will welcome hundreds of wine tourism officials from across the world in November as it hosts the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference.
Secured by Visit Loudoun, the conference will make its East Coast debut at Lansdowne Resort in DC’s Wine Country Nov. 18-20. Previous conferences have been held on the West Coast in premier wine destinations like Napa, Sonoma, CA and Portland, OR.
The Wine Tourism Conference is organized by Zephyr Adventures and is expected to attract wine tourism professionals from across the world. Open to winery owners, journalists, wine associations, wine destination marketing organizations and tour operators, the conference serves as a networking forum and provides extensive educational opportunities for this growing industry.
Visit Loudoun worked closely with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office to bring this to the Commonwealth and this conference is just another milestone as the Virginia wine industry continues to thrive. Hosting the conference helps position Virginia as a must-visit wine destination and gives our winemakers a chance to showcase their award-winning wines to leaders in the wine industry.
Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago when the Jamestown settlers signed a law that required every male settler to plant and tend at least 10 grape vines. The settlers hoped that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire. Later, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years, but his Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine.
In the 1820s, however, the wine industry began to thrive and in 1873 a Virginia Norton was named one of the best red wines in the nation at the Vienna World’s Fair. Unfortunately, the wine industry’s success was short lived as prohibition put a halt on production.
While the industry took some time to bounce back following prohibition, today it is thriving. With 250 wineries across Virginia, the wine industry is not only driving tourism in the state, but providing jobs and preserving thousands of acres of farmland.
In Loudoun, the wine industry began in 1984 when Lew Parker of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards established the county’s first winery. Parker planted his first grapes in 1981 on the slopes of his farm, which, in the 1800s, was successfully planted with orchards. The soil and temperate climate in the area, which is just about 25 miles from the nation’s capital, proved fruitful for winemaking and soon others were transforming the farmland into rows of lush vineyards.
With more than 40 wineries, Loudoun is one of the premier wine regions along the East Coast and leading the way in Virginia. Loudoun’s vineyards are nestled between winding roads, rolling countryside, horse farms and historic estates. Our boutique wineries house tasting rooms in everything from rustic barns and winemaker’s homes to intimate cellars & architecturally stunning facilities.
Loudoun’s wine industry will continue to grow and visitors can constantly find new experiences and opportunities that range from tastings and tours to hands-on winemaking classes and seminars with winemakers.
For more information on Loudoun, visit www.visitloudoun.org