Marketing Virginia’s wines
- October 1, 2008
History — The early 17th-century efforts of Jamestown settlers to become vintners and Thomas Jefferson’s promotion of wine as a beverage of moderation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries are stories well-known to wine fanciers.
Virginia’s premium wine districts — around Charlottesville, Northern Virginia and Eastern Virginia — are ideally situated to attract tourists interested in visiting vineyards as well as Monticello, Mount Vernon, Williamsburg-Jamestown and other historical sites.
Location, location, location — Virginia’s proximity to the densely populated East Coast, with its heavy concentrations of wine drinkers. This is especially true under energy-conserving, weak-dollar circumstances when sophisticated vacationers who might otherwise travel to Northern California or Europe are choosing destinations closer to home. An ABC “Good Morning America” segment earlier this year recommended a wine-lover’s “staycation” at Barboursville Vineyard’s The 1804 Inn as an alternative to a trip to Tuscany.
Elegant lifestyle — Virginia wines generally are moving upscale. There’s an increasing association of the state’s industry with elegant lifestyles. At The 1804 Inn in Orange County and at Wedmore Place, the recently opened hotel at Williamsburg Winery, suites are going for as much as $500 a night. Kluge Estates in Albemarle County has aimed an advertising campaign at the wealthy on behalf of its Vineyard Estates development. Home sites there begin at $1.3 million and exclusive homes — some with their own vineyards — start at $7 million. New Kent Vineyards between Richmond and Williamsburg offers more affordable but still fashionable homesteads in its Viniterra development. It’s located close to vineyards and an 18-hole Rees Jones-designed golf course. Also in the plans: a polo field and farm market where residents can buy locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.