Virginia’s wineries are concentrated in two areas: one near ÂCharlottesville, the other within an hour’s drive of Dulles Airport. Linking them is an Ã¼ber-American landscape of gentle hills, picket fences, and white shingled houses. There are well-appointed inns and B&B’s at every turn and far more historical markers than vineyards. A trip here doesn’t seem like a wine tour so much as a visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
Until recently, I’d felt that same dissonance about Virginian wine. The state had been trading on the grape-growing reputation of noted wine lover Thomas Jefferson for 200 years without producing anything worthy of mention. Then a single bottle convinced me that Virginia was ready for consideration. And a single meal verified that it should be on the must-visit list of any adventurous wine traveler.
Both happened at the same place, Barboursville Vineyards, just outside Charlottesville …
Not that Virginia did badly–it just didn’t dominate the rankings the way it did last year. The state finished in the top 10 in four of the six main categories we examined. But in 2006, it finished in the top 10 of all of them. Virginia’s top attributes include an incentive environment that is the fourth-best in the country, according to Pollina Corporate Real Estate, a commercial real estate consulting firm, as well as an unemployment rate that’s the third lowest in the nation.
Update: the conversation at cvillenews continues to be interesting. These numbers are shameful, and those who are both responsible and profiting from this to be held publicly accountable.
Any local lenders want to comment? Feel free to use a pseudonym.