1 In a fascinating turn of events, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello bought next door neighbor Jefferson Vineyards for $11.75 million, according to local news reports. [The price has not been confirmed with the owners.] The lovely, genteel, family-owned winery has been owned and managed by the Woodwards for forty years. So what does it all mean? Wine-wise, no changes are planned - talented winemaker Chris Ritzcovan stays on. You may remember years back when Monticello brought in Gabriele Rausse, "Father of Virginia Wine," who now serves as Director of Viticulture and Farming. So the commitment to the wine industry is there. The upside could be enormous - Virginia wine closely tied to the world-class Monticello? Sounds very win-win. Read more here.
2 A New King is Crowned. The jewelbox of a winery, Delfosse Vineyards, about 30 minutes south of Charlottesville, took home the Virginia Governor's Cup for their 2021 Screaming Hawk Meritage at the glitzy, glammy, fun fun fun Virginia Wine Oscars (aka the Governor's Cup Gala) on March 23. Read all about it here or read Matthew Fitzsimmons take on grape varieties that did well this year. Buy the Cup-winning wine here.
3 The new Gold Medal Trail passport is on the way. Looking for a new winery quest? How about visiting all the Virginia wineries that won gold medals in this year's Governors Cup Competition? Check out the digital passport from the Virginia Wine Marketing Office. It comes out in March, with snazzy logo merch along the way.
4 Does Artificial Intelligence spell doom for Virginia wine writers and sommeliers? Wine writer Frank Morgan takes a look and answers other burning questions like can Artificial Intelligence help you plan this weekend's winery hit list (sort of), and and is Veritas Vineyards winemaker Emily Hodson secretly working for Trump Winery (that's a big n-o).
5 Virginia wine has a new Master. Huge huzzah for RdV Vineyards' winemaker Joshua Grainer, who has just earned the extremely rare Master of Wine qualification. How rare? There are only 58 Masters of Wine in the U.S., and 416 in the world. How difficult is it to become an MW? Check out the documentary Somm, which shows the rocky journey of four men trying to earn the Master Sommelier qualification. Have your wine open and ready.
6 The new Northern Virginia winery Crimson Lane is getting a lot of advance buzz. Its winemaker, Dominick Fioresi, studied under the Virginia winegrowing legend, Jim Law, at Linden Vineyards, followed by stints at Delaplane Cellars and Ingleside Vineyards. The adults-only tasting room opens in early March, with eight estate-grown wines on offer.