When Thomas Jefferson purchased Monticello in 1770, he immediately planted 2,000 acres with over 200 native grape varieties with the intention of producing wine. Jefferson's winemaker, Phillip Mazzei, tended the vineyards, but shortly thereafter to fight in the revolution. Jefferson's original vineyards were trampled by horses, and the Monticello wine industry was left dormant until the early 1980s.
Today, 21 wineries call the Monticello AVA home. The heart of Monticello is the city of Charlottesville, which has proclaimed itself the wine capital of Virginia. The warm summer temperatures ensure the grapes ripen well, with Viognier producing excellent wines. Other Vinifera planted here include an abundance of Chardonnay, as well as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The hybrids Sevyal Blanc and Vidal Blanc are also popular.