About the Virginia Wine Expo® presented by Publix


On Feb. 6, Lonely Planet named Richmond to its 2018 Top Ten must-visit list of the U.S. destinations you "need to see".  The amazing craft beverage and food scene were mentioned prominently.  If there is one event in Richmond that encapsulates the amazing craft beverage and food scene in Richmond - and Virginia - it's the 2018 Virginia Wine Expo presented by Publix.

The Virginia Wine Expo has five objectives: to present a highly curated, informative, entertaining and educational wine, spirits and food experience for the public, media and trade; to be a national destination event, which attracts wine and spirits enthusiasts and foodies from across the country and beyond; to offer a unique opportunity to taste - and in some cases buy - Virginia wine and spirits; to present the diverse and extraordinary cuisine of Richmond's flourishing and nationally acclaimed dining scene; and to raise money for the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, Virginia's premier performing arts organization.

The Virginia Wine Expo presented by Publix (VWE) is Virginia's premier wine show and is widely considered to be one of the best wine and food events in the eastern U.S.  Considering the dramatic enhancements to the Expo in 2018 - including a new world-class venue, the introduction of more signature events, wine dinners and Master Class seminars, and the inclusion of Virginia distllled spirts - the event is expected to continue its momentum in the years ahead.

Although the VWE primarily features Virginia wine (selected from some of Virginia's 260 wineries), the event also designates a different National Guest Region and International Guest Region each year for comparative purposes.  In 2018, the National Guest Region is Oregon and the International Guest Region is Australia/New Zealand.   Also, a small representation from other wine regions will be available. 

At the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, you'll have the opportunity to taste a well-curated assortment of top-shelf wines with your complementary Riedel crystal wine glass; the plurality will be Virginia wine with very significant collections of Oregon, New Zealand and Australian wine as well.  In addition, there will be a small representation of premium wines from other wine regions too.  Also, for the first time, the VWE will feature Virginia distilled spirits.  Thus, in addition to the wine, the public can choose to taste and buy dozens of distilled spirits including whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, "moonshine" and more.  There is NO additional cost to taste the spirits.

The heart of the VWE are the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, of which there are three sessions, where the public, media and trade will be able to swirl, sniff, taste and discuss wine and dozens of bottles of distilled spirits.   For the first time in 2018, an invitation-only policy has been implemented for Virginia wineries and all craft beverages available - wine, spirits and cider - will be curated by our team.

The VWE features 23 events over six days, including Master Class seminars, wine pairing dinners, grand tastings, thematic food  and craft beverage events featuring artisan noodles and dumplings, creative burgers, global smoked cuisine, native Virginia cuisine and Richmond's ethnic and culinary diversity. 

One of the most unique aspects of the VWE is the opportunity to taste and in many cases buy Virginia wine, cider and spirits.  The opportunity to meet winemakers, knowledgeable volunteers and distributor representatives, who can educate, enlighten and enrich your understanding of these quality craft products and then buy them at the event to take home is a very special opportunity you won't find elsewhere.

There is no other event in the U.S. like the Virginia Wine Expo.  Please join us.

A World Class Venue

Most of the VWE's signature events, including the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, will be held in the revitalized and spectacular Main Street Station located in historic Shockoe Bottom in downtown Richmond.  The venue has beautiful stained-wood, cathedral ceilings and big bay windows with panoramic views of downtown Richmond to the West and historic Church Hill to the East.  It is a world-class venue worthy of a great destination wine and food event.

Ticket Packages (Combo Deals)

The best deals are the combo ticket packages.   There are seven of them and can be found at the bottom of the ticket page.  These deals offer big savings on the most popular signature events of the Expo.  If you want to save money and enjoy a special weekend culinary experience, definitely check out the combo deals.

Richmond Wins Accolades as a Wine, Craft Beer, and Culinary Destination

Named one of the top 14 worldwide destinations in 2014 by Frommer's, Richmond ("RVA") is centrally located in a state boasting more than 260 wineries and 160 craft breweries (26 breweries in the Richmond alone with more to come).

RVA's rapid rise as a newly emerging wine, culinary and dining destination has gotten widespread attention. For example, in July of 2015, Wine Enthusiast magazine ranked Richmond number one on its list of a "Foodie's 5 must-see wine country destinations" in the nation. Also, that same month Conde Nast Traveler named RVA "The Southern Food Destination You Need to Know About". 

A recent poll of USA TODAY'S readers, released in August of 2014, ranked Virginia as one of the top ten favorite wine regions in the world. And CNN recently chose Richmond as one of its 7 up-and-coming foodie destinations in the U.S.

At the Expo you'll learn why RVA has become a culinary hot spot.  In fact, Colman Andrews, co-founder of the "gastronomic bible" Saveur magazine, recently named Richmond the "next great American food city". Also, in September of 2014, the U.S. News & World Report Travel pronounced Richmond one of the "8 Under-the-Radar Foodie Cities" in the world, along with other cities such as Hong Kong, Bologna, Italy, Melbourne, Australia, Montreal, Canada and several others.

More than 30 local, up-and-coming and award-winning chefs will present their delicious fare at various events that are part of the Expo. They represent some of the best RVA has to offer, boasting incredibly inventive, fresh and artisan cuisine that celebrates the passion these restaurateurs have for great food.


In early 2007, local entrepreneur, lawyer, and self-described foodie and wine lover, Alex Papajohn, was fed up with travelling back and forth to Washington, D.C. to satisfy his desire to enjoy a classy, major indoor wine and food event during the winter. The drive was a pain, parking was expensive, and the ticket prices were excessive — considering the mediocre quality of the wine and food. He couldn’t understand why Richmond, his hometown, didn’t have its own signature wine event.

Finally, on a lark, in mid-January of 2007, Alex picked up the phone and called the head of the Virginia Wine Board, who, at the time, was William Moses. Alex pitched Mr. Moses on an idea:  Would the Virginia Wine Board be interested in supporting a major international wine event, which would highlight Virginia wine, held during the winter in Richmond, Virginia at the Greater Richmond Convention Center? Alex pointed out that the Virginia wine calendar was largely empty from December through March.

Mr. Moses was intrigued enough to invite Alex to pitch his idea to the Virginia Wine Board, which was holding its next meeting in two weeks. Alex pitched the idea and, after several months, the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Wineries Association decided to throw their support behind the event. Thus, the Virginia Wine Expo was born.

Now in its eleventh year, the Virginia Wine Expo has become the mid-Atlantic's premier wine event. Attendance is expected to exceed 9,000 in 2018 and reach 13,000+ by 2020. The Expo has grown to include ~20 events at Main Street Station and nearby venues.

Please enjoy the VWE and feel free to let us know what you think.