(Post sponsored by the Virginia Wine Expo, however, all opinions are my own)
Tickets for the 2015 Virginia Wine Expo went on sale earlier this month, and I quickly snatched one up. I decided I was going to challenge myself to taste ALL 500+ Virginia and South African wines available…
That was until I did the math, and unless I taste one new wine each minute for eight hours straight, unfortunately, it’s not humanly possible. So I’ve modified my goal to a mere 100 wines, and I have until the end of February to prepare my liver for the task.
My recent interest in Virginia wine came from a conversation I had with a sommelier friend about regional vineyards. I was waxing poetic about drinking local and expressed an interest in only imbibing in wine from Virginia. She wasn’t keen on the idea for good reason - why limit your drinking pleasure to just one state when there’s a whole world of delicious beverages to explore?
The way I see it is that local food and drink embodies the unique flavors of its origin, and by familiarizing yourself with those flavors you naturally become more connected to your community. It introduces you to passionate tastemakers and instills a sense of pride in your local foodways. Sadly, this has been lost with the homogenization caused by the industrial food system - a system that values consistent mediocrity over character. By ‘limiting’ yourself to local food and drink, you can be part of a quiet movement against that system.
It was at this point in the conversations that my friend raised the question, “What if your local food/drink isn’t any good?” Well if you live in Virginia you’re in luck, since new micro-breweries and wineries are popping up on what seems like a weekly basis. I know there are an abundance of exceptional options; it's just a matter of finding them. That’s why events like the Virginia Wine Expo are indispensable.
So in February, I will drag my friend to the expo and prove that Virginia wine is amazing. We will taste, get buzzed, talk to the wine makers, and stock up! The bar in my new house will be filled exclusively with Virginia wines, and I will proudly to share with my guests what my state has to offer.