The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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Page 105 of 124

VIRGINIA Old Dominion, New Prospects ALL SIGNS INDICATE VIRGINIA COULD BECOME A TOP U.S. WINE STATE story and photos by Fred Minnick A The award-winning Barboursville Vineyards Petit Verdot Reserve, crafted by winemaker Luca Paschina, is one of Virginia’s top wines. s Gabriele Rausse walked up to the podium at the 2011 Virginia Wine Expo to accept the Virginia Agribusiness Council’s Distinguished Service Award, he was overtaken with emotion. Rausse, referred to as the “father of modern Virginia wine,” tried to crack a joke. “If you fail, people leave you alone,” he said to a crowd hanging on to his every word. “Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. Now, we have the Virginia wine industry.” Everybody, including Virginia’s First Lady and the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, laughed at his witticism. But Rausse, who immigrated to America in the 1970s from Vicenza, Italy, to work at the Barboursville Vineyards, could no longer overcome his joy. He hoisted the award, tears forming in his soft brown eyes, and said, “Thank you for another magical moment.” Virginia was once a promising terroir that was home to the native Norton grape; a varietal Norton was named “Best Red Wine of All Nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873 and another was honored with a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition. But Prohibition destroyed Virginia’s potential. In an effort to bounce back, winemakers experimented with vinifera plantings A dormant vine at King Family Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia. King’s wide range of wines shows Virgnia’s varietal diversity. april 201 1 / the tasting panel / 103

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