There are now over 8,700 wineries in the U.S. Each year the trade journal Wine Business Monthly names ten “Hot Brands”. This year, out of the potential 8,700+, a Virginia winery made the list; Lovingston Winery in Nelson County, near the town of that name. There was only one other winery (Post Familie) on the list that was not on the West Coast.

Owned by the Puckett family and only a decade old, Lovingston Winery’s talented winemaker is a South African native, Riaan Rossouw, whose wines have placed in the Governor’s Case, been acknowledged in Wine Enthusiast magazine.

When he visited Virginia during the 2015 harvest, the leading British wine writer Andrew Jefford and I visited Lovingston Winery and tasted the 2015 petit manseng as it was just finishing fermentation. Jefford told me he thought that “Petit manseng could do for Virginia what sauvignon blanc did for New Zealand.”

In fact, Wine Business Monthly focused on Lovingston Winery’s work with that French grape, with their 2014 petit manseng as the featured wine (10% seyval blanc, another Lovingston specialty).

Hats off to Riaan and the Puckets!