A modern wine industry that started with a handful of estates in the late 1970s has exploded to nearly 200 wineries covering every corner of the state, including six AVAs. According to the Virginia Wine Board, the state ranks fifth in the country in wine grape production, and produces more than 500,000 cases of wine per year. Clearly Virginia is already a player in the East Coast wine community, but can it go further?
This past June, I had the good fortune of attending the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Walla Walla, WA. Over the course of three days, many of my long held beliefs about wine PR were turned upside down, as well as most of my public relations plan (both short and long-term) for Dry Creek Vineyard. Let me explain.
The coffee finally started kicking in somewhere around the outskirts of Spokane. I had just spent the previous five days on a non-stop tour of wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, then moved on to the Yakima Valley in Washington, followed by the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Walla Walla. The only thing keeping my sleep deprived body going was a large cup of my favorite stimulant.
I stood 1,200 miles away from home, in a dimly lit ballroom, at a historic hotel in Walla Walla, WA, clutching two bottles of the inaugural vintage of our family’s homemade wine, which until quite recently rested safely in neutral 60-gallon French-oak barrels in my garage. I was about to pour the very first public taste of this wine, for a celebrity Master Sommelier … in front of a crowd.
That bottle of Taittinger, wasn’t destined to last long so extracting a corkscrew from the new leather man-bag a rather pleasant Pinot Noir from Jadot (Les Climats, 2004 vintage) was cracked open to accompany the various tit-bits extracted from Waitrose.