That reality check is important to get, especially for anyone who seriously considering jumping into Virginia’s wine industry. The classes will give you a much-needed primer on how to go about doing starting a winery if the warnings of hard work and toil don’t dissuade you.
Of the three classes I attended, my favorite had to be the last class, which included a panel discussion with Doug, Stephen Mackey from Notaviva Vineyards and Jordan Harris from Tarara Winery. The three of them are a combined wealth of information about the wine industry and it was fascinating to hear them talk about their approach to winemaking, how that approach had to be modified to Virginia’s climate and where they see the state’s wine industry going.
The general consensus is that Virginia is on path more akin to Oregon than Australia: becoming well-known for making high-quality wines rather than inexpensive and mass-produced wines. It certainly seems like the state is on that path, and these classes demonstrate that there is both the interest and the need to bring more people into a demanding, but highly rewarding industry.