About the Virginia Wine Expo®
The 10th Anniversary Virginia Wine Expo (VWE) is a national destination event celebrating Virginia's, Spain's, Portugal's and Sonoma County, California's extraordinary wines and the Richmond region's culinary excellence.
Join us and learn why TRAVEL+LEISURE magazine and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 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 20+ events, including the legendary Walk-Around Grand Tastings (by far the biggest events on the schedule), where you can taste and buy more than 450 bottles of Virginia wine, taste 150+ bottles of wine from the International Guest Region of Spain/Portugal and 100+ bottles from the National Guest Region, Sonoma County, California.
Where Does The Expo Happen?
Three of the signature events (as well as the seminars) - the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, Burger Blast and SMOKED! - take place at the convention center, strategically located in downtown Richmond's hottest culinary district (there are 9 restaurants within four blocks) and within walking distance or short shuttle ride to more than seven hotels. If you attend these events, you will NOT need a rental car! The other events, such as A Noodle & Dumpling Affair, take place at venues throughout Richmond.
How to Best Experience the Expo: 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 highlight many of the chefs and restaurants behind RVA's emergence as a craft beverage and foodie destination.
Our suggestion is to build your Expo experience around the biggest event on the schedule: the Walk-Around Grand Tastings. Add on at least one other signature event, such as Burger Blast, A Noodle & Dumpling Affair or SMOKED! Then, tack on a seminar or two. If you don't like crowds, the VIP/Early Admission session of all of the signature events are mellow as are the seminars and dinner. And the Sunday Walk-Around Grand Tasting is very mellow too.
New Event for 2017!
An extraordinary new signature event, A Noodle & Dumpling Affair, has been added to the schedule on Thursday evening, March 10. Held in the historic Hofheimer Building located in Scott's Addition, the epicenter of Richmond's craft beverage renaissance, this event will feature a cornucopia of noodles and dumplings from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Philipines, India, Poland, South Africa, and Italy, plus exceptional wine, craft beer (from Scott's Addition-located breweries), sake and music. Amazing.
Burger Blast and SMOKED!
Both of these signature events sold out in 2016 and we expect the same again for our 10th Anniversary in 2017. Burger Blast has been drammatically expanded to include a record 22+ luscious artisan burgers, 35+ craft beers (including a "Stout Pavilion") and ciders, 40+ Virginia, Spanish, Portuguese and Sonoma, CA wines, and live music. A panel of judges will announce the Best Burger.
SMOKED!, which debuted last year, will be incredible (and greatly enhanced from 2016), featuring global smoked cuisine from various regions of the U.S., Brazil, China, Netherlands, Greece, Vietnam, Poland, Spain, and more, wine from Virginia, Spain/Portugal and Sonoma, CA, whiskey from Kentucky, Tennesse and Virginia, and live music. You'll enjoy meats, seafood, cheeses, breads, vegetarian options, desserts, and more, all with a smoked element to them. Utterly delicious.
Parking, Attire and Other Tips
Parking is available in the Greater Richmond Convention Center parking deck ($7), parking decks or lots close by, or on the street, which is free on the weekends. Attire at all of the events is casual, although we suggest smart casual at SMOKED!, A Noodle & Dumpling Affair and the 10th Anniversary dinner. Always wear comfortable walking shoes!
For a complete rundown of all the tips and suggestions we offer plus travel information, please click "TRAVEL + TIPS" on the navigation bar above.
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 2017 Guest Regions of Spain & Portugal and Sonoma County, California
In 2017, the International Guest Region will be the extraordinarily diverse wine region of Spain & Portugal and the National Guest Region will be Sonoma County, California!
The Guest Regions give attendees an opportunity to compare Virginia wines to different regions of the world each year. Both the international and national guest regions rotate each year. You'll notice Spanish, Portuguese and Sonoma County, CA wines at many of the events on the schedule, including but not limited to some of the seminars, the Walk-Around Grand Tastings, SMOKED! and Burger Blast.
In short, the Guest Regions have been 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 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 tenth year, the Virginia Wine Expo has become the mid-Atlantic's premier wine event. Attendance is expected to exceed 11,000 in 2017 and reach 13,000+ by 2018. The Expo has grown to include over 20 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.