The Monticello Wine Trail (MWT) will increase its programming, visibility and online presence thanks to a recently awarded $10,000 grant from the Virginia Wine Board. MWT will use the grant funds to launch an enhanced communal website including a mobile version, build a social media campaign, and grow the successful Taste of Monticello Wine Festive into a weeklong event.
The Monticello Wine Trail is a consortium of 30 wineries within the Monticello AVA and geographic area surrounding Charlottesville and including Albemarle, Nelson and Greene Counties. The Monticello AVA contains more than half the acreage planted in grapes within the Commonwealth and has produced wines consumed in the White House and exported to Europe. At the 2012 Governor's Cup Award, 11 of the 12 top scoring wines that were selected for inclusion in the 2012 Virginia Governor's Case were produced from grapes grown in the Monticello AVA, cementing the reputation of Central Virginia as the premier grape growing region in Virginia. Eight of those winners are members of the Monticello Wine Trail.
"We are excited about the potential of these grant funds to use in effectively marketing the Trail to a broader audience and to expand the reach of our signature festival event," said Elizabeth Smith, owner of Afton Mountain Vineyards and President of the Jefferson Grape Growers Society which is the umbrella organization for the Monticello Wine Trail and its members. "We are gaining prominence as a premier wine producing area and this money will help us maintain momentum with prime audience targets."
The MWT is a critical driver for regional tourism and rural economic vitality. Based on the overall grape production and quality of wines produced, Charlottesville/Albemarle County landed a coveted spot on U.S. News Travel's Best Vacations list in 2012, ranking this area as one of the best wine vacation destinations in the world. This distinction puts the Monticello AVA in great company with international wine havens such as Tuscany, Napa Valley and Buenos Aires. Charlottesville/Albemarle County was one of only three U.S. destinations to make the list; Napa Valley in California and Portland, Oregon were the others.