Ankida Ridge, Early Mountain, Stinson and Veritas Vineyards, a diverse group of top Virginia wineries with a complementary range of fine Virginia wines ranging from pinot noir to petit verdot, formally launched a marketing and branding consortium on Sunday, July 23rd called The Commonwealth Collective.

The┬áCommonwealth Collective is the brainchild of Tamara Vrooman Lucas (daughter of proprietors Dennis and Christine Vrooman of Ankida Ridge). Lucas is a resident of Atlanta, and has worked in the wine business there “forever”. She explained that people elsewhere in the South “have no idea” that the Virginia wine scene is world-class, since their own local regional wine scenes remain curiosities.

She represents Ankida Ridge Vineyards in Georgia, but has been thinking for awhile about “how to sell Virginia categorically” which is how she came up with the idea of the Collective to showcase the best of Virginia wine with a range of products and focused marketing clout. “It was also a way for me to live my life in Atlanta but connect with my wine industry work here in Virginia.”

Veritas Vineyards hosted the event which featured select wines from all four Collective wineries, with fine cuisine to match. In addition to local wine industry members like Robert Harllee of Market Street Wine Shop, there were members of the distributor Country Vintner and restaurateurs and retailers from South Carolina and Georgia as well.

“This is not just selling wine, it’s much more than that; it’s selling a whole category,” says Lucas.

Ankida Ridge winemaker Nathan Vrooman (a new father), says “It’s cool to have a nice range of wines representing Virginia on the high end today. It’s also a good economy of scale.”