Governor McAuliffe Announces Successful Virginia Wine Promotion and New Exports to the United Kingdom
~Partnership with the United Kingdom’s Oldest Wine Merchant Yields Sales for Several Virginia Wineries~
Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the successful completion of a Virginia wine promotion conducted in partnership with Berry Bros. & Rudd, the oldest wine merchant company in the United Kingdom (U.K.), resulting in new exports of Virginia wine to a critical international wine market.
During the month of March, Berry Bros. featured a special case of Virginia wine for sale on its website and offered all purchasers of the case the chance to win a four day, five night tour of Virginia wine country, sponsored and organized by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office (VWBMO), and the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). The cases sold out in less than three weeks. The wines were exported by Reston-based New Horizon Wines and featured selections from Breaux Vineyards and Boxwood Winery in Loudoun County and Veritas Winery of Nelson County, all of whom New Horizon has represented in the U.K. for several years.
"I am thankful to Berry Bros. & Rudd, a highly-respected authority in one of the most competitive wine markets in the world, for its partnership on this promotion and am excited for the new export sales made by the three Virginia wineries,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In my efforts to build the new Virginia economy and make Virginia the East Coast capital for agriculture and forestry exports, we must employ creative strategies and this promotion is a perfect example. Not only did it result in new exports for Virginia wine, but it also provides an opportunity to promote tourism to our beautiful Virginia wine country. We look forward to hosting the trip winners and giving them a sample of all that our wineries, restaurants, and countryside have to offer."
While in London this week on the last stop of a three country European Union trade and marketing mission organized by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and VDACS, Governor McAuliffe is attending additional meetings with Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore to promote sales of Virginia lumber and wood pellets. The Governor and Secretary Haymore are also participating in interviews and roundtable sessions with U.K. wine writers and professionals, arranged by the VWBMO, to promote further sales of Virginia wine and tourism to Virginia wine regions.
"As we already know at home, Virginia is one of the most exciting emerging wine regions in the world and this promotion is a great opportunity for us to tell that story in the U.K,, one of the most important international wine audiences,” said Secretary Haymore. “We are proud of the high quality wines being produced by the more than 275 wineries in Virginia and that the world is taking notice. London is the world's largest wine import market and we are thankful to New Horizon and Berry Bros. for working with us to gain access to it for three of our outstanding wineries - Boxwood, Breaux and Veritas. We are also thankful to our partners at VTC for working with us to once again demonstrate the important and growing economic relationship between agriculture and tourism in Virginia."
The Berry Bros. & Rudd Virginia wine promotion was first planned during a meeting in London between Berry Bros. representatives, New Horizon Wines, Secretary Haymore, and VDACS staff on Governor McAuliffe's June 2015 trade and marketing mission to Europe. The trip winners were chosen by a random drawing and their tour will take place in May.
Virginia is the fifth largest wine producing state in the country. The wine industry contributes $750 million to the Virginia economy annually and employs more than 4,700 Virginians. In 2015, Virginia wine sales reached an all-time high of more than 524,000 cases, or 6.3 million bottles. According to VTC, Virginia’s tourism revenues in 2014 exceeded $22.4 billion, a 4.1 percent increase over 2013 and largely attributed to Virginia’s authentic, local travel experiences and surging culinary scene, including wineries and wine tourism.