The 8th annual Virginia Wine Expo (VWE) is a national destination event celebrating Virginia's extraordinary wines and the Richmond region's culinary, historic and cultural excellence. You'll have an opportunity to meet the owners and winemakers behind Virginia's emergence as a major international wine destination and enjoy dozens of events, including the legendary Walk-Around Grand Tastings, where you can taste and buy more than 450+ bottles of Virginia wine and taste 100+ bottles of wine from the 2015 Guest Region of South Africa.
Named one of the top 14 worldwide destinations in 2014 by Frommer's, Richmond ("RVA") is centrally located in a state boasting more than 250 wineries and 66 craft breweries (13 in Richmond alone with more to come). At the Expo you'll learn why RVA has become such a culinary hot spot. More than 30 local, up-and-coming and award-winning chefs from the area will present their delicious fare at various events that are part of the Expo. They represent the best RVA has to offer, boasting incredibly inventive, fresh and artisan cuisine that celebrates the passion these restaurateurs have for great food.
The Walk-Around Grand Tastings and Other Signature Events
In addition to the extremely popular Walk-Around Grand Tastings, this year's event schedule is packed with exceptional wine and food experiences that will highlight many of the chefs and restaurants behind RVA's emergence as a foodie destination. For example, you'll enjoy FEAST: Virginia Coastal Style, a new wine and food event featuring the bounty of Virginia's coastal areas, such as Chesapeake Bay blue crab, oysters, clams, fresh fish and more. You'll enjoy the Burger Blast presented by Richmond magazine, featuring 15+ artisan-made burgers, 30+ bottles of Virginia and South African wine, 30+ craft beers and live music. The Burger Blast has sold out two years in a row.
Other events such as the Best of Virginia & South Africa Premier Tasting, the Grand Cru Preview Party, The Heart of South Africa, Virginia's Gone Wild: How To Pair Virginia Wine With Wild Game, Farm-to-Table Lunch, the Amazing Virginia Cider & Cheese Pairing, Mixology - How To Make Yummy Cocktails With Virginia Wine and many more, will captivate your palate and enlighten your understanding of Virginia's fine wines and extraordinary cuisine.
Come join us for an incomparable wine and food experience and take home some Virginia wine. Nowhere else in the nation can you taste and buy as many Virginia wines as you can at the Virginia Wine Expo.
About the Guest Region™ of South Africa
The VWE highlights Virginia wine. However, starting in 2014, the VWE introduced a new concept called the "Guest Region". The Guest Region is a national (U.S.) or international wine region that will be featured in various components of the VWE to act as a "foil" for Virginia and help keep the event as fresh and exciting as possible. The Guest Region will rotate to a different region of the world on an annual basis.
In 2015, the Guest Region will be the exotic wine region of South Africa!
The Guest Region gives the VWE an opportunity to compare Virginia wines to a different region of the world each year. You'll notice South African wine at many of the events on the schedule, including but not limited to some of the seminars, the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, a lunch, and in some of our special events, such as Burger Blast and FEAST: Virginia Coastal Style.
In short, the Guest Region is being introduced to help keep the VWE new, fun and exciting every year. Hopefully, this will encourage you to attend the Expo every year as well!
About the Wines of South Africa
South African wine has exploded onto the international wine scene over the past decade. A confluence of factors including better viticultural techniques, a focus on quality, ambitious entreprenuers, more open international trade, and twenty years of democracy have led to an increase in exports from 24.5 liters in 1993 to more than 525.7 liters in 2013.
South Africa has emphasized environmetal sustainability. These efforts have led to the "introduction of a sustainability seal, the first industry-wide, fully traceable guarantee of production integrity from soil to [Wine] pack", according to a press release from Wines of South Africa.
Most of the higher quality wine production comes from the Cape regions' mountains and valleys. This area enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate, which is ideal for growing Vitis vinifera grapes used in wine production.
In 2013, South Africa was ranked 9th in the world for its wine production, capturing a 3.9% global market share.
About How and Why the Virginia Wine Expo® Was Founded
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 winter 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 to early 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 support it on the condition that the event only feature Virginia wine. Thus, the Virginia Wine Expo was born.
Now in its eighth year, the Virginia Wine Expo has become the Mid-Atlantic's premier wine event. Attendance is expected to exceed 11,000 in 2015 and reach 17,000+ by 2017. The Expo has grown to include over 25 different events at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and nearby venues.
Please enjoy the VWE and feel free to let us know what you think.