About the 2017 Guest Regions
At the Walk-Around Grand Tastings (March 11-12, 2017), in addition to the hundreds of Virginia wines you'll enjoy, you'll also taste hundreds of wines from our International Guest Region, Spain & Portugal, and our National Guest Region, Sonoma County, California.
The Wine Regions of Spain and Portugal
Spain, which started producing wine about 3,000 years ago, is the third-largest wine region in the world and produces wines that range from great values to highly prestigious selections. Spain is routinely regarded by experts as one of the greatest wine producing countries in the world. The relatively hot, dry conditions in much of the country helps grapes ripen slowly and exhibit flavor profiles that show off many unique micro-climates.
The country has very diverse regions from the lush green valleys of Galicia in the Northwest to the regions of Valencia, Catalonia and Murcia along the Mediterranean Coast to Ebro River Valley/Central Plateau, where Spain's signature grape, Tempranillo, thrives, to the Duero River Valley where Toro and Ribera del Duero produce some of Spain's finest wines.
Portugal, too, has a very diverse terroir and grape varieties which offer amazing and differentiate flavor profiles. From maritime to mountain and cool and green to dry and mountainous, the climate in Portugal offers winemakers ample opportunities to craft distinctive wines that have recently grabbed the attention of the wine world.
Portugal had been known for centuries for its great ports and madeiras, but the modernization of its wine industry as brought recognition for its whites and reds, especially from the notable Douro Valley. Vinho Verde, a crisp, dry white from the cool, rainy northwest and whites and reds from the acclaimed Alentejo region have also brought international attention to Spain.
The Wine Region of Sonoma County, California
Over the past thirty years, Sonoma County has developed into a respected, internationally-recognized wine region, which produces a staggering array of grape varietals at a very high level of quality. With 17 regions, sporting varying types of terroir (valleys, mountains, rivers, coastline and more), Sonoma's wines have captured the attention of both casual and serious wine drinkers. From classic varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfindel, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc to more esoteric Mediterranean and Bordeaux grapes, Sonoma offer tremendous quality and diversity.