When it comes to wine and viticulture, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and Napa immediately come to mind. But you can add Virginia, too. The wine business has taken off here with over 200 licensed wineries, especially in Loudoun and Ablemarle counties. It is now the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.
A special thank you is in order, to two individuals who made it all possible—Thomas Jefferson and Dr. D.N. Norton. Yes, it was Jefferson's fascination with fine wines during his European travels as ambassador to France that ushered a legacy for many growers and winemakers in the Commonwealth. Dr. Norton, a Richmond scientist, was able to combine grape seeds from native vines producing a very dark grape named "Norton," after himself. A favorite among VA wine drinkers, it is disease-resistant and can withstand the seasonal changes.