About the 2020 Guest Regions

At the Walk-Around Grand Tastings (March 7-8, 2020), you'll taste a carefully curated selection of Virginia wine, spirits and cider and a curated selection of top-scoring wines from our International Guest Region, Bordeaux and Loire Valley, France, and our National Guest Region, Washington State.   

The 2020 International Guest Region of Bordeaux and Loire Valley, France*

Bordeaux, represented by thousands of wine producers, is the most famous wine region in the world and has been cultivating vines for more than 2,000 years.  It is located in the southwest of France and is divided by the Gironde Estuary and Garonne River into a Left Bank and Right Bank.  Over 90% of Bordeaux wines are red wines made with either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.  Most Bordeaux wines are made with a blend of grape varietals including but not limited to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

Left Bank wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Left Bank consists of seven sub-regions, each with its own AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee), which is the term the French use to define products of regional origin.  Also, Left Bank wines are classified in one of four classifications, ranging from AOC Bordeaux Superior, which are the least expensive wines and ready to drink now, to Classified Chateau's, which are the most expensive and age-worthy wines.

The Right Bank wines tend to be more Merlot based because of the clay soils.  Wines in the Right Bank are subject to a different classiifcation system than the Left Bank, based on criteria measured on a 20 point scale.  This grading system is performed by a seven member independent body, who come from regions outside Bordeaux, such as Champagne, Rhone, Provence, Burgundy and others.

The beautiful Loire Valley wine region consists of the wine regions situated along the Loire River from Muscadet on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume southeast of the city of Orleans in north central France.  More then 4,200 wineries call the 634 mile Loire Valley home.  It produces an incredible diversity of wine styles.

The Loire Valley is divided into three wine regions: Lower Loire, Middle Loire and Upper Loire.  Wine varietals that thrive in the Loire Valley range from light whites such as Muscadet, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay to reds such as Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

*Sourced in part from Wine Folly

The 2020 National Guest Region of Washington State*

Washington State is a premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.

With 55,000 acres planted, the state has ideal geography and conditions for growing premium vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. While wine grape growers in Washington focus on Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the region also produces a wide range of other spectacular white and red wines.

*Washington State Wine Commission