About the 2018 Guest Regions
At the Walk-Around Grand Tastings (March 3-4, 2018), in addition to the Virginia wine and spirits you'll enjoy, you'll also taste a well curated selection of wines from our International Guest Region, New Zealand and Australia, and our National Guest Region, Oregon.
The International Guest Regions of New Zealand and Australia
New Zealand is an enchanting, remarkable place, which has a temperate maritime climate ideal for growing grapes. With abundant sunshine, night sea breezes, and stunning enviroments - from dramatic coastlines to rolling green hills to jagged mountains - New Zealand's ten wine regions produce amazing Sauvignon Blanc (the country's signature grape), Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Merlot-Cabernet blends and other varietal wines that have made the country one of the hottest wine regions in the world. Most of New Zealand's wine regions are based on the eastern coastlines of the North and South Islands in the rain shadow of the mountains and extend for about 1,000 miles from sub-tropical Northland down to Central Otago, home to the world's most southerly vineyards.
New Zealand is one of the top 20 wine growing regions in the world. Vines were first panted in 1819, but the industry did not really take off until the 1990's when vineyard land grew by more than 40%. Marlborough is the largest wine producing region, which is where most of the country's Sauvignon Blanc is cultivated.
Australia is one of the top 10 wine producing countries in the world and produces virtually every major grape varietal. In about 200 years, Australia grew from a wine backwater to a global wine industry powerhouse. From large wine cooperatives to thriving, small boutique wineries, Australia's wine industry has rapidly developed over the last 20 years, primarily in the cooler southeast of the country. Consisting of 60 wine regions, Australia has a multitude of soil types and climatic conditions, which allow for a wide range of wine styles and qualities. From relatively warm climates to the maritime districts to the cooler, coastal areas and the hot climates, Australia's diverse "terroir" has enabled the country to produce an incredibly diverse range of wines.
Australia's total "crush" for vintage 2017 was 1.93 million tons, with as estimated value of $1.22 billion. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were the top reds and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris were the top whites. Reds consist of 55% of the total volume of grapes harvested in 2017.
The National Guest Region of Oregon
Oregon has become one America's premier wine regions, with a focus on small-batch, high-quality wines. Nationally, Oregon is the third largest wine grape producing state. [In comparison, Virginia is ranked fifth.] Most Oregon wineries produce less than 5,000 cases a year. The top grape varietals grown in Oregon's cool climate include pinot noir, its signature grape, pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, viognier, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah.
Blessed with diverse, cool and beautiful wine-growing regions, Oregon has 18 approved wine regions and nearly 700 wineries. By far, the Willamette Valley is Oregon's most famous wine region, producing some of the world's finest pinot noir, among other cool-climate varieties.