In his never-ending quest to promote Virginia wines, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Tuesday the state will host the first Virginia Wine Summit next month in Richmond.
"I have made the promotion of wine and wine tourism key components of my economic development and jobs creation agenda," McDonnell said. "The Virginia Wine Summit, which already has attracted a world-class cast in its inaugural year, is a natural continuation of those efforts, one we hope becomes an annual event to better showcase all we have to offer."
The summit, held on Oct. 2, was conceptualized by first lady Maureen McDonnell, who has spearheaded her husband's efforts to boost the Old Dominion's vineyards, and will serve as a kickoff to a monthlong celebration of Virginia wines. It will feature British wine authority Steven Spurrier as a speaker. Spurrier will also lead guests through a blind tasting.
A handful of critically acclaimed wine experts will hold panels, tastings and discussions throughout the day.
Virginia ranks fifth in the country in wineries with 210 and wine production contributes $750 million annually to the state's economy, according to the governor's office. McDonnell has assisted the industry through a number of measures ranging from publicly funded road signs pointing out designated wine regions and promoting Virginia wines during overseas trade missions.