Growing Loudoun Wines’ Global Fame

By: Lois Kirkpatrick

In the future, when wine lovers outside the U.S. think of American wines, we want Loudoun County, Virginia to be the first region that comes to mind. We’re now a step closer to making that vision a reality.

When it’s fully up and running, our Viticulture and Enology Education Center will train world-class wine makers here in Loudoun. Potential sites have been identified in Purcellville; its town leaders worked closely with Loudoun Economic Development, Virginia Tech and the Northern Virginia Community College over the past year to map out a course for creating the VEEC.

Our plan starts small. This fall, three viticulture classes will be offered on NVCC’s Loudoun campus. The first course will introduce students to the history and classification of grapes, along with factors that affect grape quality. The second course will cover sites, soils, weeds, and vineyard design. The third course will examine grape plant diseases and chemical methods of insect control.

Based on the response to the first three classes, NVCC will offer more. As student demand grows, it will eventually drive the construction of the VEEC facility in Loudoun.

With 42 farm wineries and counting, Loudoun has already become known as “D.C.’s Wine Country.” Wine Enthusiast magazine named Loudoun “one of the 10 best wine travel destinations,” and ABC News featured a Loudoun winery in a report about U.S. wine consumption. Last year, British wine professionals got to sample Loudoun vintages at the 34th London International Wine Fair.

Loudoun’s fame among wine lovers around the world will only get stronger as the VEEC starts graduating professional wine makers and grape growers. For that to happen, we first need to fill the NVCC wine classes this fall.

If you’d like to take a viticulture course in September, email Charles Bruce in NVCC’s Horticulture Technology Program at CBruce@NVCC.edu.

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