Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change

Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change

Andrew A. Painter

440 pages;
ISBN: 978-1-942695-06-6 | paper | $35.00
ISBN: 978-1-942695-07-3 | eBook | $30.00
January 2018

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George Mason University Press titles are distributed by the University of Virginia Press.


“[An] impressive work celebrating the collective and individual achievements of the commonwealth’s wine industry “
Gerald L. Baliles, Governor of Virginia 1986-1990

“A detailed, yet readable history that addresses an unmet need for a written record similar to those already available for the world’s more established wine regions. Virginia viticulture and winemaking have come of age, and deserve no less.”
— Felicia Warburg Rogan, Founder, Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery

“This is indeed an important reference to which I will be happy to refer when I need reminding of the human dynamics behind what we hope will be an expanding, evolving, and sustainable winegrape industry here inthe Commonwealth.”
Lucie Morton, Viticulturalist

No state can claim a longer history of experimenting with and promoting viticulture than Virginia—nor does any state’s history demonstrate a more astounding record of initial failure and ultimate success. Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change presents a comprehensive record of the Virginia wine industry, from the earliest Spanish accounts describing Native American vineyards in 1570 through its astonishing rebirth in the modern era. Grape cultivation—for agriculture, horticultural curiosity, and wine production—has absorbed ambitious Virginians since April of 1607, when a few casks of European wine washed ashore onto the dunes of Cape Henry in the company of a band of travel-weary English settlers.

The author chronicles the dynamic personalities, diverse places, and engrossing personal and political struggles that have established the Old Dominion as one of the nation’s preeminent wine regions. Virginia’s wine industry now accounts for nearly $1 billion in annual sales, with more than 275 wineries growing more than 30 varieties of grapes. The author discusses a multitude of wine industry trends, events, secondary industries, and jobs that have revolved around the growing of grapes and the making and promotion of wine. To that end, the book emphasizes the unique aspects of the wine industry’s role in Virginia’s history and culture—a history that continues to be made in an agricultural and industrial sector that is itself unique among world commerce and society.

About the author:

Andrew A. Painter is an attorney specializing in land use and zoning. A Virginia native, Andrew has spent more than eight years researching the growth of its wine industry. He is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, the University of Virginia, and the University of Richmond.

Additional information


Date Published

January 2018


978-1-942695-06-6, 978-1-942695-07-3


440 pages