V.A. Vacqueyras Valdadige D.o.c. Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Valencia Valpolicella DOC Valpolicella Dop Valréas, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Varietal Varietal Wine Vegetables Veivety Vendange Veneto DOC Veneto Igp Veneto Igt Venezia DOC Venezia Igp Ventoux Ventoux Blanc Ventoux Rouge Veraison Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Vermouth Vernaccia di San Gimignano Vesper Vic Secret Victoria Vidal Blanc Vieux Carré Vigneron Vigneto delle Dolomiti IGT Vignoble Vignoles Vigor Vin Vin de Pay de l'Ile de Beauté Vin de Pays Collines de la Moure Vin de Pays d'Attique Vin de Pays de Cassan Vin de Pays de Collines Rhodaniennes Vin de Pays de Hauterive Vin de Pays de la Drôme Vin de Pays de L'Ardèche Vin de Pays de L'Aude Vin de Pays de L'Hérault Vin de Pays de L'Hérault Blanc Vin de Pays de L'Hérault Rouge Vin de Pays de L'Ile de Beaute Vin de Pays de L'Yonne Vin de Pays de Principaute d'Orange Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Vin de Pays des Bouches-du-Rhône Vin de Pays des Cevennes Vin de Pays des Coteaux de l'Ardèche Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Narbonne Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Verdon Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Vin de Pays des Côtes du Tarn Vin de Pays d'Oc Vin de Pays d'Opountia Locris Vin de Pays du Gard Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France Vin de Pays du val de Montferrand Vin de Pays du Var Vin de Pays Val d'Agly Vin du Pays des Letrinon Vin Santo del Chianti Vin Santo del Chianti Classico Vin Santo di Toscana Vina Vinegar Vinho Regional Lisboa Vinho Verde Vinho Verde DOC Vinifera Vinification Vino de Castilla Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Vinous Vinsobres Vintage Vintage Wines Vintner Viognier Virginia Vistalba Viticulture Vodka Collins Vodka Martini Volatile Volatile Acidity Volnay Vosne-Romanée Vouvray
Thomas Jefferson is one of this nation's better known wine-lovers. Never accused of turning down a good drink, he spent much of his time trolling around Europe, invariably sampling the local tipple. He brought back more than a passion for wine with him. An avid horticulturist, he set about reproducing the great wines of Europe in his back yard at Monticello. Today, modern-day residents of the Old Dominion have taken up the torch, and the state is a hot bed of wine production in the Mid-Atlantic. The most promising appellation? Monticello, the region around the bucolic town of Charlottesville with its Jefferson-designed university campus, which is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Though Virginian wines were well known in the early years of the 19th century, Prohibition was the final setback for an industry that had sputtered along for the previous hundred years. In recent times, however, the area has once again taken up winemaking, and it would seem that more and more are jumping in with every passing year.

The notoriously long, hot summers are certainly capable of bringing all sorts of grapes to ripeness, but the intense humidity brings with it its own problems. This humidity is probably the biggest problem a modern-day Jeffersonian winemaker faces. It makes the region an attractive home to a number of bugs that like to munch on grapevines, but more seriously provides ideal conditions for rot in the vineyards-particularly later in the season when sugars have accumulated in the grapes. Virginia's viticulturists are a hardy lot, constantly combating nature's whims.

Given the difficulties, it may be surprising that Virginia actually makes some pretty good and occasionally outstanding wines. Reds are really the forte, with Bordeaux varietals seemingly the most popular. However, Virginia is also home to some of the nation's most experimental winemakers. Foremost among them would be Dennis Horton of Horton Vineyards, who has developed a national following for his Viognier and Rhone-style blends. The rapid-fire Mr. Horton seems to have just about everything planted, from Rkatsetelli, a little-known Eastern Mediterranean white, to a range of Portuguese table reds. If it's not there now it's because he's already ripped it out.

Then there is Barboursville, just down the road from Horton, an impressive estate owned by the Zonin family of Italy, one of that nation's larger wine-producers. It would seem that Signore Zonin likes to envision himself the country gentleman while riding around the property, surveying it on horseback, and no doubt cutting a dashing figure in the process. Less dashing perhaps, would be his winemaker Luca Paschina, an enologist from Alba in Piedmont who readily admits to being an awful horseman, and has come to look upon the owner's occasional visits with some trepidation because of it. Nonetheless, he is a better winemaker than equestrian, and has proceeded to add Italian specialties such as Barbera and Malvasia to the line-up.

What it all adds up to is an eclectic mix of young wineries that are all finding their own ways. As such, it is difficult to generalize about the wines, other than to say that they run the gamut. In some ways, that makes the region a lot of fun, as experimentation is sometimes rewarded. This makes it difficult to predict Virginia's future, but with characters like these, half the fun will no doubt be in getting there. (Wine/Appellations)