Welcome to the nation's premier single-region wine and food event!
The 9th annual Virginia Wine Expo (VWE) is a national destination event celebrating Virginia's and Italy's extraordinary wines and the Richmond region's culinary excellence.
Join us and learn why TRAVEL+LEISURE magazine and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC just put Richmond ("RVA") on their respective international lists of 'Best Places to Travel' (for amazing food, craft beverages and more) in 2016 in part because of its burgeoning art, food and craft beverage scene. Read all about it here and here.
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 150+ bottles of wine from the 2016 Guest Region of Italy!
RVA LOVES R&J Festival Pairs Perfectly With the Expo
For those passionate about wine and opera - specifically Romeo and Juliet - we have the perfect pairing for you: The VWE and the RVA LOVES R&J Festival! RVA Loves R&J Festival (February 12-February 21, 2016) is anchored by major productions of Romeo & Juliet by Virginia Opera and Richmond Ballet and takes place in Richmond at the same time as the Expo. The transformative power of ballet and opera will provide provocative insight into this timeless love story.
Complete your Virginia Wine Expo experience with RVA Loves R&J and your February in Richmond will be the month to celebrate with the ones you love. Experience a perfect pairing: The Virginia Wine Expo and Romeo and Juliet!
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 Burger Blast presented by Richmond magazine, featuring 20+ artisan-made burgers, 35+ bottles of Virginia wine, 35+ craft beers and live music. The Burger Blast has sold out three years in a row.
A new event on Saturday night called SMOKED!, which will be held at the beautiful and historic Dominion Arts Center (formerly Richmond CenterStage), will feature smoked (and some not smoked) meats, fowl and seafood (from some of RVA's world-class pit-masters), select Virginia and Italian wine, select Virginia craft beer and cider, and top-shelf Virginia, Kentucky, Irish and Scottish whiskey. This event will be amazing!
Other events, such as The Founders's Dinner With Gary York at Enoteca Sogno, David Dunlap's New American Dinner at the Quirk Hotel's Maple & Pine, the Quintessential Southern Lunch at Julep's New Southern Cuisine, and many more, will captivate your palate and enlighten your understanding of Virginia's fine wines and Richmond's 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.
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 255 wineries and 120 craft breweries (13 in Richmond alone with more to come, including Stone Brewing's massive new brewery in Greater Fulton set to open in the late Spring of 2016).
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.
About the Guest Region™ of Italy
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 2016, the Guest Region will be the extraordinarily diverse wine region of Italy!
The Guest Region gives the VWE an opportunity to compare Virginia wines to a different region of the world each year. You'll notice Italian wine at many of the events on the schedule, including but not limited to some of the seminars, the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, and SMOKED!
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 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 ninth year, the Virginia Wine Expo has become the mid-Atlantic's premier wine event. Attendance is expected to exceed 11,000 in 2016 and reach 15,000+ by 2018. The Expo has grown to include over 24 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.