April 11, 2014
The Charlottesville/Albemarle area could be the next big tourist spot for wine in Virginia.
Wine is a growing industry around the Commonwealth. Albemarle county officials believe that as the interest in wine grows, the ability to reach wineries should grow as well.
Therefore, they created the idea of a Virginia Wine Center.
“The idea is to create a historic wine center that basically promotes all of the wines in Virginia and tells the history,” says Susan Payne, chair of the Virginia State Tourism Corporation. “We now have over 225 wineries in Virginia and they will be featured as well as locally sourced food.”
The center could also be a place for wine makers to learn more about their craft and discuss better ways to grow grapes in the Commonwealth.
There were also thoughts that the center could take away business from wineries, but the dean of Workforce Services at PVCC says that it could be a major benefit for smaller wineries.
“There are so many wineries in our area, but some of them are very small and don't have the staff or the space for a tasting room,” says Valerie Palamountain. “It might be an excellent opportunity for them to get their wines out to the public in an affordable way.”
The center could cost over $20 million to create and could be funded by the state, but at this point organizers say it's still in the planning phase.
“There are a lot of considerations,” says Payne. “I think we are excited about the possibilities but have not totally dotted every ‘I’ yet.”
The first phase of planning is complete, establishing that there is a need for a wine center in the area. They have now moved to the second phase, which takes a more detailed look at development, cost and size of the facility.