(Oct 18, 2017) Catherine Read talks with Brian Yost, most widely known for his wine blog The Virginia Grape. Long considered a reliable source of information on Virginia wineries across the Commonwealth, he has recently started to write about wineries in other states that compromise the region we call the Mid-Atlantic.
Wine tourism is something that conjures up images of Napa Valley in California, the Tuscany region of Italy or perhaps the Loire Valley in France. Brian has discovered that outside the borders of Virginia, there are wineries that are producing great wines along the East Coast. The Mid-Atlantic region is known for many things from historical battlefields and museums to outdoor hiking and kayaking to cultural events and attractions along our shores. At this juncture it does not have a reputation for wine tourism. Most visitors to Virginia wineries are people who live here, usually within close proximity of the wineries they are visiting.
There are wineries in the region that have been here for decades. However the recent explosion in the number of wineries, as well as the increasingly good quality of the wines produced, has given this industry some sturdy legs to stand on. Brian explores the hurdles to creating a more robust wine tourism among the Mid-Atlantic states and makes some suggestions for how to focus and elevate the region’s assets as part of better wine tourism experience. Creating an itinerary driven tour package where winery visits are part of a more complete exploration of a particular area has some merit. He references Bindu Trips as one of a handful of companies providing this service. Efforts like this would require some collaboration among tourism organizations that promote attractions in a particular county or state to map out wineries in relation to other major features.
The top producing wine states on the West Coast are California, Washington and Oregon. On the East Coast, New York has 385 wineries producing 28,000,000 gallons of wine annually, with Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey continuing to grow both production and number of wineries. To gain traction in making wine tourism a pillar in the overall tourism promotion in the Mid-Atlantic will require greater collaboration. Hospitality, transportation, food and wine establishments, museums, parks and outdoor attractions need to find a way to include the region’s wineries in their promotions and packages. It’s an idea whose time is now and Brian Yost is giving considerable thought in how to move it forward.
To keep up with Brian Yost, subscribe to his blog The Virginia Grape and find out more about which wineries should be in your future travel plans.