Thomas Jefferson had a legendary love of wine and believed that the Virginia homeland he loved was the perfect place to create amazing wines that could rival others around the world. In 1774, Jefferson planted his first vineyard just a mile from his beloved Monticello home. In 1981, the original site was replanted with the finest grapes in order to revive wine making on the Monticello properties.
Jefferson learned from the best and his love of wine shows in each bottle from Jefferson Vineyards today. Once he met Fillipo Mazzei, a renowned Italian winemaker, Jefferson was hooked. Mazzei brought fine wines to the colonies and Jefferson invested in his company. He believed so strongly in Mazzei that he was able to convince several of his fellow founding fathers to invest in the company also. This original 400 acre wine making venture next to Monticello has set the bar for Virginia wine making pretty high.
Today, 20 acres, complete with a view of Monticello, is the result of that friendship, mutual admiration and business partnership. Jefferson Vineyards prides itself on cutting out the flair and frills while focusing solely on making great wine. Under the management of Gabrielle Rausse, the vineyard’s motto simply states “We grow grapes and we make wine.” This motto personifies the vineyards devotion to excellence in creating treasured wines that are completely Virginia grown and made.
Some of the varieties the vineyard has perfected include pinot gris, chardonnay, viognier, vin de trios, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, and Jefferson’s own vin blanc amongst others. The petit verdot won gold at wine competitions in 2005. The meritage won silver in 2006 and the pinot gris won silver in 2007. These prestigious awards have further solidified Virginia as a first rate area for producing the finest wines in the world.
The Jefferson Vineyard is a part of the famed Virginia Wine Trail. This trail leads to the area’s best and most popular wineries and vineyards. Jefferson Vineyards is along the southern trail. There are tours and tastings on a daily basis from 10 until 6. The tours are free while the tastings are $5 per person. There is also a gift shop filled with all of the exquisite wine needs you may want to take home in order to remember and share your experience at Jefferson Vineyards.