Fourth Annual Virginia Wine Summit Proves Virginia Is For Wine Lovers

The Virginia Wine Board hosted the fourth annual Virginia Wine Summit, which took place at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia.

The sold out event, attended by 250 wine and food professionals, was supported by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The Virginia Wine Summit celebrates the state's vino and food culture and invites guests to "discover the unique flavors of wines from the Commonwealth."

The day began with "The Art of Whites, Grand Tasting" seminar in which attendees participated in a blind taste test that pitted top Virginia wines against their counterparts from other notable wine regions. The seminar was moderated by Jay Youmans, Master of Wine and educational director and owner of the Capital Wine School.

Guests then had the option of attending one of three breakout sessions: Somm Might Say: East Coast vs. West Coast; Find Your Match: Virginia Reds; and Talk Dirt to Me: Central VA vs Northern VA Terroir.

At the Somm Might Say seminar, east and west coast sommeliers explained how they approach pairings and went head to head in an interactive showdown in which participants voted on their favorite pairing. The east coast team, which consisted of Steven Grubbs, wine director of Empire State South and Five & Ten, and Jack Mason, master sommelier and wine director of Marta, won all three rounds. The team paired a kale salad with fried Rappahannock oysters and shredded Virginia apples with Ankida Ridge Vineyards 2014 chardonnay; a country ham sandwich with red eye gravy aioli on sweet potato biscuits and radish relish with Michael Shaps Wineworks 2014 Petit Manseng; and young Virginia goat cheese with Catoctin Creek rye-glazed peanuts and pepper jelly with Barbousville Vineyards 2012 Paxxito.

The morning seminars were followed by a lunch, at which Jon Bonné, senior contributing editor for Punch and author of The New California Wine, delivered his keynote speech. Bonné was introduced by Todd Haymore, the secretary of agriculture and forestry of Virginia. Lunch was prepared by Chef Chris Edwards of Salamander Resort. Highlights included caramelized duck breast with soba noddle gnocchi, picked beech mushrooms, sunchoke chips, and smoked fig sauce; and a ricotta tart with toasted almonds, vanilla poached pear, salamander honey, and fresh raspberries.

Attendees broke up once again to attend one of three afternoon seminars: Moments in Time: Vintage Variation; Uncommon in the Commonwealth; and Why Chardonnay Matters. A reception was held at Harriman's restaurant at Salamander, where Governor Terry McAuliffe gave closing remarks.