In recent years, the U.S. wine industry has exploded. No longer for the elite, wineries cater to everyday consumers through event venues, tasting rooms and wine clubs. While few wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley host weddings, in favor of maintaining a focus on the wine itself, Virginia wineries have taken advantage of the growing popularity of the outdoor “rustic” theme. Still, in both areas and around the country, wineries are capitalizing on wine tasting as a regular activity rather than an expensive hobby.
Several wineries near D.C. have become just as well-known for their beautiful event spaces as they have for their vineyards — if not more so. Many have even constructed separate reception buildings on the property, hosting weddings nearly every weekend in addition to corporate events, festivals, engagement parties, bridal showers, birthday parties, etc. Some even offer full-service restaurants.
The bigger story here is that the brand identity of the wine industry itself is changing. These days, you are just as likely to see a bachelorette party at a winery in Charlottesville, VA as you are to see a wine collector. While some may argue that this is because Virginia has only begun making a national name for itself within the last 10 years (and is thus not exactly a wine connoisseur destination), the clientele in more notable wine regions has grown and changed as well. Honeymooning couples seek out well-known wine regions like Napa and Tuscany for tours and tastings, and travel “influencers” and Instagram aficionados are finding these to be ideal backdrops for beautiful photos.
Not to take away from the deserved respect of Virginia’s seasoned wine makers, top-tier wine and value of recognition in wine industry media, wineries are also advertising to that broader wine tasting audience. In addition to trade and niche media, this centuries-old industry is at the forefront of “new age” marketing, using influencer marketing, social media and lifestyle media. Wineries are hosting photo shoots and networking events with wedding and event planners, and are splashed across the Internet on popular lifestyle blogs, in photo shoots and on their own social media accounts.
To check out some of Virginia’s most beautiful winery venues see below: