RICHMOND, Va. (Apr. 23) — In honor of the 40th Anniversary of "Virginia is for Lovers," one of the most recognizable and enduring state tourism slogans, select Virginia wineries will bottle limited edition anniversary wines.
To be launched in May, these anniversary label bottles will be available for purchase at the wineries' tasting rooms and range in price from $10 to $30. Virginia invites travelers with a passion for wine to visit these wineries across the state to drink in the best of wine travel in Virginia. Participating wineries include:
* Abingdon Vineyard & Winery – Located in Washington County along the South Holston River, Abingdon Vineyard & Winery's 53-acres offers a quiet, rustic environment for tastings and events. Abingdon's anniversary bottles will include a dry Chardonnay, and a blush blend of Chambourcin, White Cabernet Sauvignon, Vidal Blanc, and Traminette.
* Athena Vineyards – Named after the goddess of wisdom, Athena Vineyards was established in 2002. After the construction of its winery, Athena became the first commercial vineyard and winery in Northumberland County, along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. The vineyard's anniversary bottle, Jacques Recht Pinot Noir, is masterfully blended and classically clean. Firm tannins create a slightly spicy finish, with tones of blackberry and blueberry.
* Barrel Oak Vineyards – Just below the Blue Ridge Parkway across from Little Cobbler Mountain and surrounded by cattle and horse ranches, Barrel Oak Vineyards boasts breathtaking views of the region. The two anniversary bottles are house blends and include a 2005 red, largely comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, with several other varietals. The 2008 white is a Vidal Blanc and Savignon Blanc blend with a floral start and a citrus finish.
* Belle Mount Vineyards – Located in Warsaw on Virginia's Northern Neck, Belle Mount Vineyards offers complimentary wine tasting and tours. Guests can also enjoy cottage rentals, camping, fishing, hiking and swimming. Belle Mount's 40th anniversary wine is called Labor of Love and will be a slightly sweet red blend of American and hybrid grapes.
* Chateau Morrisette Vineyards – Situated in Floyd County, just off the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway, Chateau Morrisette released its first vintage in 1980. The vineyard's anniversary bottles are The Black Dog and Angel Chardonnay. The Black Dog is a medium body, smooth, semi-dry red blend with an appealing spicy character. The Angel Chardonnay combines a tropical blend of pineapple, papaya and citrus aromas.
* Gadino Cellars – Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Rappahannock County, Gadino Cellars broke ground in 2004. The cellar was carved out of the hillside to maintain a more constant temperature for wine production. The 40th anniversary bottles include a Pinot Grigio with aromas of fresh orange peel and pink grapefruit and an Antiche Vita Reserva with deep berry aromas followed by a pepper and spice finish.
* Grayhaven Winery – Founded in 1978, Grayhaven is one of the oldest independent commercial vineyards in the state of Virginia. The winery opened in 1995 and has been producing hand-crafted wines since. Grayhaven will launch three vintage wines in honor of the 40th anniversary – a full-bodied Touriga with notes of cherry and grapefruit, a spicy Chambourcin with earthy aromas and a light-bodied Cabernet Franc with vibrant acidity.
* Tarara Winery – This family winery is located among 475 acres of Virginia farmland along the bluffs of the Potomac River. Tarara offers tastings, tours and a summer concert series. In honor of the 40th anniversary, Tarara will bottle a Cabernet Franc with medium intensity that shows raspberry, cranberry and cedar dust characteristics.
* Vino Curioso Vineyards – Producing less than 1,000 cases per year, this small vineyard is able to carefully craft each wine from grape to bottle with the utmost attention to detail. Vino Curioso will release a limited edition 2008 blended Chardontage in celebration of the 40th anniversary of "Virginia is for Lovers."
Travelers can visit www.Virginia.org/40 for information on events and packages taking place throughout 2009 in honor of the 40th Anniversary of "Virginia is for Lovers and enter to win one of 40 free vacations. Visit www.Virginia.org/wine for more information about Virginia's 143 wineries statewide as well as wine festivals and events. Or call 1-800-932-5827 to request a complimentary, Virginia is for Lovers – Live Passionately travel guide.