CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) announces that the Charlottesville area and the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA) have won Wine Region of the Year in Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Star Awards. The Charlottesville area was just one of five wine regions nominated around the world for this prestigious award and was the only nominee located in North America. Wine Enthusiast’s executive media team made its winning selections based on many factors, including impact on consumers and trade in the wine space, company or brand vision, and trendsetting. The Wine Star Awards celebrate the innovation of individuals and entities that have significantly contributed to the success of the wine and alcoholic beverage world.
The Monticello American Viticultural Area includes the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and parts of the surrounding counties; Nelson, Greene, Orange and Fluvanna. It takes its name from Thomas Jefferson’s home, where he first planted European grapevines at his Monticello estate in 1771; a decade later, he wrote In a letter to John Dortie, “It is desirable [wine] should be made here and we have every soil, aspect and climate of the best wine countries, and I have myself drank wines made in this state and in Maryland, of the quality of the best Burgundy.”
Although Jefferson never got a crop from his vineyard, soon after his death, Dr. Daniel Norton of Richmond discovered an accidental hybrid to which he gave his name, and it made a successful native wine industry centered in Charlottesville in the late 19th century, produced by the Monticello Wine Company.
A century and a half later, wineries around Charlottesville are making many of the best wines in the Commonwealth. Steven Spurrier, the renowned British wine writer, declared in 2012 that his favorite wine region at the time was Virginia, “Because it makes the kinds of wines I like to have a second glass of.”
The Monticello Wine Trail currently boasts more than 40 vineyards within a 25-mile radius of Charlottesville. The Monticello Wine Trail regularly receives major accolades in the annual Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition and in 2023, won nearly half of all the gold medals awarded.
The CACVB is leveraging this major accomplishment through Historic Vines New Roots, a marketing initiative that tells the story of the region’s rich history through the lens of wine. This effort focuses on the destination’s acclaimed wineries and strives to make wine more accessible, inclusive, and approachable for everyone. By showcasing the region as a welcoming and inclusive destination for all, the Charlottesville area will continue to attract new audiences and wine lovers for years to come. The CACVB will also unveil a new tourism video to highlight its distinction as Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Region of the Year. This video will be released on Tuesday, November 7 when the announcement is official.