New ‘wine signs’ will lead tourists to Virginia wineries

Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 19, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Nearly 20 signs are going up on main roads around the Commonwealth in an effort to direct more traffic in to Virginia wineries and vineyards. The first of 17 new wine signs was unveiled Thursday at King Family Vineyards in Crozet.

“In addition to having one of the fastest growing wine industries, the Commonwealth is blessed with some of the country’s most beautiful wineries and wine regions,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in a statement released to the media. “The new signs will draw attention to the diverse wine regions and encourage travelers and tourists to see and taste what the Virginia wine industry has to offer.”

The Governor’s Office said the initial 17 signs  are just phase one of a larger wine region sign program. This spring and summer more signs will be placed in various Virginia American Viticultural Areas (AVA) and wine regions including the Eastern Shore AVA, Northern Neck-George Washington Birthplace AVA, Shenandoah AVA and the Northern Virginia Wine Region.

King Family Vineyards is in the Monticello AVA. There are 40 wineries in the Monticello AVA.

A grant from the federal Transportation Enhancement Program and money from the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) paid for the signs, according to the Governor’s Office. The program could be expanded to other AVAs and wine regions if grant money is available to pay for more signs.

Gov. McDonnell has made promoting Virginia’s wine industry a priority while in office. Last year, approximately 1.6 million people visited the more than 200 wineries in Virginia. The wine industry has a  $747 million impact on Virginia’s economy, according to the Governor’s Office.