Raise Your Glass and Celebrate the Harvest During VA Wine Month

Image: VAfoodie

Image: VAfoodie

Fall is calling our name... There is a chill in the evening air and our landscape is slowly changing with pops of golden bright colors. The shift in the season calls us to go for an adventure, and indulge in all the fall things that come only once a year.

October is in full swing and with it comes an entire month of celebrating one of Virginia’s greatest traditions and libations - wine.

Images: Virginia Wine

Images: Virginia Wine

Ready to celebrate Virginia Wine Month in all its Commonwealth glory?

Consider this your official guide to this most hospitable of months, where we love on all things Virginia, but especially pay tribute to America’s oldest wine region. Here’s everything you need to know to make a big splash or celebrate simply at home.

What Is Virginia Wine Month? 30 years of tradition and flavor

Who doesn’t love a crisp white on a bright, breezy afternoon? Or a bold red on a snappy night, perhaps gathered around a fire in the backyard? Who wouldn’t love oysters for brunch while donning their favorite flannel, cozied up next to the hearth?

No one, that’s who.

Images: Virginia Wine

Images: Virginia Wine

At least, that was the thinking of our movers and shakers 30 years ago, when they lobbied to make October Virginia’s official Wine month. After all, October is cool, its leaves are beautiful, each winery is dressed in finery (see what we did there?), and the state opens its arms to travelers enjoying the lovely pastures and blessed lack of humidity. With grape harvest in full swing, nothing could prove more perfect.

“Winegrowing in America was born in Virginia,” Governor Gerald Baliles said at the time, adding, “I saw that an old industry was in the process of being revived by Virginia’s wine-growing pioneers, and I felt that the state government could draw them together.” Thus, as of 1988, Virginia Wine Month officially moved to October.

Food and wine pairings

Images: Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

Images: Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

Let’s be real: A good wine and some good food never really go awry, but there are some pairings that work better than others. What are they, you ask? Here’s a quick rundown of our faves:

  • Chocolate with dessert wines or fruity reds

  • Soft cheese with sparkling wine or Chardonnay

  • Beef and lamb with Norton or Cabernet Franc

  • Oysters with Rosé or Petit Manseng

… and that’s just a few of our best recs. Please feel free to check out more with this pairing guide.

Images: VAfoodie / Virginia Wine

Images: VAfoodie / Virginia Wine

Harvest Party: What Is It and How Can You Throw One Yourself?

We think of Thanksgiving as the ultimate harvest celebration, but the majority of food-gathering actually happens earlier in the fall. A Harvest Party is all about honoring that fact, and the Commonwealth does it in style.

Images: Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

Images: Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

From the city to the country, the hills to the shoreline, people are gathering in restaurants and at home to honor the fruits of fall – but more importantly, to honor what makes Virginia–well–Virginia. Each Harvest Party is unique, but the main ingredients are the same. To be clear, your to-do list should include:

  1. A menu of locally-sourced and delicious Virginia foods.

  2. A fantastic Virginia wine selection, ideally with each wine complementing a dish

  3. Friends and family to enjoy both with you

  4. Take some great photos and toast to Virginia’s harvest!

  5. Share the experience #harvestpartyva

Images: VAfoodie / Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

Images: VAfoodie / Virginia Wine / VAfoodie

A harvest party can be in your own backyard, at one of Virginia’s best wineries or restaurants and, to be honest, just about anywhere really. Let the beauty of fall and the harvest season inspire you to create your own traditions steeped in Virginia history. Celebrate with friends, family, native Virginians or newcomers. We hope you’ll join us!