In early 2007, local entrepreneur, lawyer, and self-described food 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 only two more 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 sixth year, the Virginia Wine Expo has become the Mid-Atlantic's premier wine event. Attendance is expected to exceed 10,000 in 2012 and reach 16,000+ by 2016. The Expo has grown to include over 15 different events at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and nearby venues. FeedMore, a collaboration of the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia, and the Community Kitchen, is the charitable beneficiary of the event.
Please enjoy the VWE and feel free to let us know what you think.