Thursday, August 29, 2013

Governor and First Lady McDonnell to Host Second Annual Virginia Wine Summit

English: Governor of Virginia at CPAC in .
English: Governor of Virginia at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
~Oz Clarke, Famed British Wine Critic, Author, Television Personality to Keynote October 28th Event in Richmond ~
Wine Experts, Enthusiasts to Gather for Informative Day of Speakers, Tastings, Open Discussions on the Current, Future State of Virginia Wines

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that he and First Lady Maureen McDonnell will host the second annual Virginia Wine Summit on Monday, October 28, 2013 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.  The event, which will feature famed British wine critic, author, and television personality Oz Clarke, will bring together wine experts and industry leaders from around the country to discuss the current and future state of Virginia wine.  In addition, the summit will feature Virginia wine pairings with culinary offerings, including Virginia oysters.  Panels, tastings, and discussions will be held throughout this day-long event.

Commenting on the event, Governor McDonnell stated, “The continued success of Virginia wine means more good jobs and economic opportunities for Virginians. Sales of Virginia wine are at an all time high with sales up more than 23% since 2010.  The Virginia Wine Summit quickly has become an important component of my administration’s efforts to promote Virginia’s outstanding wines. Because of our efforts, the Commonwealth is becoming the East Coast capital for wine and wine tourism.  We are very fortunate to have the internationally regarded wine expert Oz Clarke visit our great Commonwealth and be our keynote speaker. Oz, who I met in London several years ago on during a trade mission, and the Summit’s other notable speakers will undoubtedly help raise the profile of our wines to an even higher level.”

In addition to Clarke’s ( keynote address, the Virginia Wine Summit will feature some of the nation’s foremost influential wine professionals, including:  Dave McIntyre of The Washington Post; Andrew Hoover, a Virginia wine specialist for Wine Enthusiast; Chef Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore, MD); Sommelier Charlie Berg of Blue Hill Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, NY); Sommelier Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud, Epicierie Boulud & Boulud Sud (New York); Sommelier Steven Grubbs of Empire State South (Atlanta, GA) & Five and Ten (Athens, GA); Sommelier Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve (Alexandria, VA); Master of Wine and founder of the Capital Wine School Jay Youmans; and Master Sommelier Kathy Morgan.  These experts will inform an audience filled with winemakers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, connoisseurs, media, wine-shop owners, and other industry professionals.

Summit attendees will take part in panel discussions with topics ranging from wine pairings with signature Virginia foods like ham and peanuts, ageability of Virginia wines, “Bang For Your Buck”, and an in-depth analysis and tastings of key Virginia varietals, such as Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and others. A Virginia wine and oyster panel will be sponsored by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and led by a team of wine professionals that will discuss the pairing, as Virginia’s oysters have also had a record breaking harvest this year.

“The Virginia wine industry is coming off its most successful year ever,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.  “Domestic and international sales reached an all-time high, record numbers of people visited our wineries, and major publications, such as Decanter and the New York Times, featured glowing articles on our wines and wineries.  In addition, last October’s first ever summit, which featured world-renowned wine critic Steven Spurrier, was an overwhelming success that helped bring together a wide variety of wine industry opinion leaders to discuss this fast emerging global wine region. The Governor, First Lady, and I, working in partnership with our wineries and vineyards, are looking to build on that success this year starting with the second annual Virginia Wine Summit, where we’ll proudly showcase our wines with the nation and the world.”

Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with more than 230. Virginia is also tied with Texas as the nation's fifth largest wine grape producing states. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 individuals and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. In addition, more than 1.6 million tourists, a record high, visited Virginia wineries in 2011. Earlier this month Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia wines reached a new record sales level with more than 511,000 cases sold in fiscal year 2013.  That figure represents a five percent increase over the previous fiscal year.  Export sales, mostly to China and Great Britain, increased by 74 percent during the same period, from approximately 3,300 cases to more than 5,800 cases.

To register for the Virginia Wine Summit, and for more information, please Additional speakers and more information will continue to be announced on the site in the coming weeks.  For more information about the Virginia wine industry, please visit the Virginia Wine Marketing Office's website at or call 804-344-8200.
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