2012 was a very good year for state vineyards
Posted: January 19, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER— Last year was a good one for wine sellers locally and across the state, according to several professionals in the business.
Annette Ringwood Boyd, director of the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, said in a Friday phone interview that 2012’s wine sales should easily outdo 2011’s numbers once the totals for the calendar year are compiled.
In 2011, 3,438,852 bottles of Virginia wine were sold through wineries and 1,962,216 bottles were sold through distributors such as grocery stores, wine shops and restaurants, Boyd said.
She added that the final totals for calendar year 2012 likely will be available around March.
With about 65 percent of the sales in Virginia occurring at wineries, spokesmen at two local vineyards said their operations saw better-than-expected business in 2012.
Jim Bogaty has owned and operated Veramar Vineyard — east of Berryville — for almost 15 years. He said Veramar and his other business, Bogati Bodega in Round Hill, saw growth in 2012.
Bogaty said his businesses sold about 120,000 bottles of wine in 2012, about a 7 percent or 8 percent increase from 2011.
Bogaty said he appreciates everything the state government has been doing to support agriculture and the wine businesses in Virginia, since it has helped small wineries such as Veramar and other agritourism and wineries around the state.
Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery — just west of Stephens City — started making wine in 2010 and opened for business last June 5.
Even though it wasn’t open for the full year, Valerie Hill co-owner Shawn Steffey said the winery sold out its 2,700 bottles of 2010 vintage wine several months ahead of schedule.
“Our 2010 vintage sold out about 12 weeks ago,” he said Friday. “We had to start releasing the 2011 vintage much earlier than expected. We didn’t think we’d have to release [that vintage] until April or May.”
Valerie Hill has seven types of wine available, with several more scheduled for release in the next several months, Steffey said.
Steffey added that the winery has been well-received in its first few months and that he and the other owners expect business to grow in 2013.
While there was “modest but consistent” growth in wine sales in the state during 2012, Boyd said Virginia wine producers saw an increase in exports around the country and overseas.
“That’s really where you see dramatic growth right now,” she said.
Boyd added that the next hurdle for Virginia’s wine producers toclear is to convince more restaurants and wine stores in the state to carry Virginia wines.
Information about Veramar Vineyard is available online at veramar.com, and information on Valerie Hill is at valeriehillwinery.com. Information about the Virginia wine industry and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office is available at virginiawine.org.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org