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The History of Virginia Wine

You’ll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t enjoy a good glass of wine. What many wine lovers don’t realize, is that Virginia is the birthplace of American wine. The state is rich with history going all the way back to the 17th century.

Virginia Wine – A Rocky Start

Vines at Breaux VineyardsThe history of Virginia wine dates back to the early days of European colonization. During the 17th century, Captain John Smith, who played an important role in the establishment of Jamestown, wrote that colonists had made twenty gallons of wine from grapes grown along the Virginia coast.

During this time, winemaking was a requirement, as the British were attempting to foster a wine industry in the colonies. Unfortunately, the colonists were using European wine grapes, which did not fare well in the new land.

The early days of Virginia wine were extremely difficult. Attempts at growing ended in failure as disease, pests, and Virginia’s climate claimed the vines. The colonists eventually gave up, believing that fine wine could only be had in Europe.

In 1873, a Virginia wine made from Native American grapes was named “Best Red Wine of all Nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair. This began a new interest in winemaking in Virginia. However, Prohibition brought this to a halt in the early 20th century.

Virginia Wineries

Red Wine at Breaux VineyardsDuring the late 1950s, winemakers once again began experimenting with European grapes in Virginia. Previous obstacles were overcome and new wines were being developed. By the 1970s, there were six wineries in Virginia. By 1995, there were 45 and ten years later, the state boasted 107 wineries. Today, there are more than 300 wineries in the State of Virginia, many of which are located in Loudoun County. In fact, Loudoun County has more wineries than any other county in the state.

Breaux Vineyards was the fourth winery to open in Loudoun County and planted their first vines in 1994. We are proud that our vineyard was at the forefront of Virginia wine, which now ranks 5th in the U.S.A for the number of wineries.

Today, Breaux vineyards has over 104 acres planted with 17 different varieties of grapes. Our wines have won numerous awards. We are pleased to be known as Virginia’s favorite winery! Please contact us for more information about our award winning wines.