Charlottesville’s Reggie Leonard called ‘Virginia Wine Hype Man’

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 2:59 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville’s Reggie Leonard is at the front of a new generation of wine connoisseurs.

VinePair is hailing Leonard as the “Virginia wine hype man.”

“I didn’t grow up with wine on the table. My mom lives close to a winery and she felt uncomfortable going to the winery, because she just didn’t know enough is what she thought,” Leonard said.

Leonard says he broke into the wine scene after attending free tastings at Market Street Wine.

At first, he said it could be intimidating.

“I think it’s always hard to like, ‘Be what you can’t see,’” Leonard said. “That’s one of those things that you kind of have to mentally jump over. You’re like, ‘Well, you know what, I’m interested in this thing, I’m just going to go and pursue it.’”

Leonard’s goal is making Virginia wine more inclusive, which included co-creating the Two Up Wine Down festival. Now, he’s working with Blenheim Vineyards, where he co-founded Oenoverse - a tasting group aimed at beginners.

“The more people who are creating wines, creating wine experiences, talking about wine, inviting people to share wine, sharing different wines, all of those things, invite more people in to experience wine. And really, that’s kind of what I want to help create opportunities for,” he said.

RELATED: 1st Two Up Wine Down festival held at JSAAHC

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