Gov. McDonnell, First Lady Unveil Commemorative Bicentennial-Themed Wine
Office of Governor Bob McDonnell Press Release
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell today unveiled ‘1813,' Virginia's historic bicentennial-themed blended red wine, at a reception at the Executive Mansion with members of the Virginia wine industry and others involved in promoting the 200th anniversary of the Executive Mansion. In addition to celebrating Virginia's growing wine industry, the event commemorated the bicentennial of the country's oldest continually occupied governor's residence in the United States and paid tribute to Acte 12 of 1619, one of the nation's earliest laws, which required settlers to plant and tend at least ten grapevines. The wine, of which 1,813 bottles were produced but will not be sold, will be utilized by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office to market and promote further the Virginia wine and wine tourism industries on statewide, national, and international fronts.
Commenting on ‘1813,' which is believed to be the first-ever statewide blended red wine, Governor McDonnell stated, "At the beginning of my administration, I made the promotion of Virginia wine and wine tourism key components of my overall economic development and jobs creation agenda. I also said that I wanted Virginia to be the East Coast capitol of wine and wine tourism. Working with our partners in the Virginia wine industry, we've achieved success in both goals. Sales of Virginia wines reached an all-time high last year and record numbers of tourists are visiting our beautiful wineries. With the unveiling of ‘1813' and the national and international marketing push behind it, I believe that we'll attract even more visitors to our wineries and see sales continue to grow in 2013 and beyond."
The genesis of ‘1813' began in early 2011 when Mrs. McDonnell planted ten Chambourcin vines in the Executive Mansion garden as a way to promote the wine industry and its long history in Virginia, and to celebrate the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Executive Mansion in 2013. To ensure that the Mansion grapes would produce quality fruit and the eventual ‘1813' wine would represent the best Virginia has to offer, Mrs. McDonnell assembled a team of Virginia wine experts and supporters to assist with the project, including Barboursville Vineyard's general manager and winemaker, Luca Paschina; nationally renowned viticulturist and vineyard consultant, Lucie Morton; King Family Vineyards' winemaker, Matthieu Finot; Veritas Vineyard & Winery winemaker, Emily Pelton; and Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.
Mrs. McDonnell, Paschina, and Haymore harvested the fruit from the ten Chambourcin grapevines in August 2012 and then transported them to Barboursville Vineyards to be fermented for traditional, small-scale batch production. The Executive Mansion vineyard's fruit was combined with grapes from the wineries and vineyards of Virginia Wine Board members, including Barboursville Vineyards (Orange County), Breaux Vineyards (Loudoun County), Chatham Vineyards (Northampton County), James River Cellars Winery (Hanover County), King Family Vineyards (Albemarle County), Veritas Vineyard & Winery (Nelson County), Silver Creek & Seaman's Orchards (Nelson County) and the Vineyard at Point Breeze (Accomack County). Because Virginia Wine Board members are from different areas and American Viticulture Areas (AVA) of Virginia, the wine represents a broad geographic area of the state. In addition, James Barbour was the first Governor of Virginia to live in the Executive Mansion. Barboursville Vineyards resides on the site of Governor Barbour's home in Orange, Virginia.
"Virginia's ‘1813' brings together several important pieces of the Commonwealth's history and the special history of the Executive Mansion," said Mrs. McDonnell. "In addition to celebrating our outstanding wine industry, it was a natural tie to bring together our Jamestown roots and Acte 12, the bicentennial anniversary of the Executive Mansion, and honor the first resident of the mansion, James Barbour, as well as Governor Barbour's close friend and our third governor, Thomas Jefferson, who is widely credited as being the godfather of the Virginia wine industry from his attempts to grow grapes and make wine at Monticello in the late 1700s and early 1800s."
According to Paschina, who led the winemaking process with his industry colleagues, the composition of ‘1813' is of the following wine and grapes, along with vintage year and supplying Virginia Wine Board member winery or vineyard:
Merlot 2010 Breaux Vineyards
Merlot 2010 Chatham Vineyards
Octagon 2010 Barboursville Vineyards
Merlot 2011 King Family Vineyards
Nebbiolo 2011 Barboursville Vineyards
Chambourcin 2012 James River Cellars Winery
Chambourcin 2012 Executive Mansion Vineyard
Petit Verdot 2012 Silver Creek & Seaman's Orchards
Petit Verdot 2012 The Vineyard at Point Breeze
Petit Verdot 2012 Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Viognier 2012 Barboursville Vineyards
All 2012 wines were assembled and then aged for eight months in French oak barrels and then assembled with juice from 2010 and 2011. All grapes from 2012 were fermented together.
"It's been an honor and pleasure to collaborate with my fellow Virginia winemakers and wine lovers on the ‘1813' wine project," said Paschina. "We are confident that the literal combined fruits of our labor resulted in a palate-pleasing and incredibly drinkable blend that the entire state of Virginia can proudly stand behind."
Domestic and international promotion of the Virginia wine industry is one of Governor McDonnell's top economic development and jobs creation initiatives. Since 2010, the McDonnell administration worked with the General Assembly to establish a reimbursable tax credit program for the establishment or expansion of vineyards and wineries and to almost triple the amount of funds placed in the Virginia Wine Promotion Fund for research, education, and marketing programs. Governor McDonnell also promotes the sale of Virginia wines in Virginia, around the country, and during foreign trade and marketing missions.
Sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in fiscal year 2012, increasing by just over 1.6% from fiscal year 2011. Virginia wineries sold almost 485,000 cases of wine in FY12 versus a little more than 477,000, the previous record high, in FY11. Sales of Virginia wines have averaged just over 8 percent growth per year over the last three fiscal years. In addition, sales outside of Virginia, domestic and international, increased by 39% from FY11 to FY12. Export sales of Virginia wines grew by more than 300%, increasing from about 700 cases in FY11 to more than 3,300 in FY12. A significant portion of these international sales were driven by new sales to China and the United Kingdom, two areas where the McDonnell administration has focused its global marketing and export growth strategic plans.
Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with more than 230. Virginia is also the nation's fifth largest wine grape producer. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 individuals and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. In addition, more than 1.6 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2011.