Perhaps the oldest wine growing region in the United States, Labrusca grapes were harvested from Virginia's first vineyard in 1608. It was a disappointing harvest, and Virginia vignerons failed to get Vinifera grapes to take off. Prohibition wiped out the remaining grape-growing businesses, and it wasn't until the 1960s that Virginia's wine industry began to take off again. Today, there are over 90 wineries that have planted 2,300 acres of vines around the state of Virginia.
The vignerons have had trouble determining the best varietals to grow in Virginia's warm and extremely humid climate. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon have long been the preferred varietals because of their name recognition and market success. But recently, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and hybrids such as Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc have been found to thrive in Virginia's harsh environment. The native American varietals Concord, Delaware, Niagara and Norton are still planted in abundance.
Virginia AVAs include Monticello, North Fork of Roanoake, Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace, Rocky Knob, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Virginia's Eastern Shore.