Virginia adds AVA and regional signs to promote wineries BY MARY ANN DANCISIN
Wine lovers and tourists will have an increased awareness of Virginia’s vineyards and wineries while traveling our roads and byways in the coming months. In a program funded jointly by the federal Transportation Enhancement Program and the Commonwealth Transportation Board, a series of regional and AVA American Viticultural Area signage will appear in 17 key areas traveled by people seeking Virginia’s finest vintages.Governor Bob McDonnell commented on the initiative, “In addition to having one of the fastest growing wine industries, the Commonwealth is blessed with some of the country’s most beautiful wineries and wine regions. The new signs will draw attention to the diverse wine regions and encourage travelers and tourists to see and taste what the Virginia wine industry has to offer.”According to a press release from the governor’s office, “the first sign was unveiled on April 19 in the Monticello AVA at King Family Vineyards in Crozet by First Lady Maureen McDonnell, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Interim Virginia Tourism Corporation Director Rita McClenny, and David King, co-owner of King Family Vineyards and a member of the Virginia Wine Board.”And on May 12, the new Eastern Shore AVA sign was unveiled at Chatham Vineyards with winemakers Jon and Mils Wehner in attendance. Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd P. Haymore officiated.“The wine industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture in the entire state,” he said. “ ”Agriculture is the largest economic driver of the state — tourism is the third largest. Put agriculture and tourism together and you truly, truly have an economic powerhouse.”Watch for more signs to appear in the next few months at the entry points to the Northern Neck-George Washington Birthplace AVA, Shenandoah AVA and the Northern Virginia Wine Region.