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Aug. 13th, 2012

Falling for Virginia

Photo Credit: Matthew D. Hagarty
A true wine touring experience is not only what you sample, it’s about what you do, see, smell, and taste along the way. The beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery all year round—and harvest time is no exception when Virginia invites you to "Discover your Local Crush" during October, Virginia Wine month. On most October mornings, there’s a chill in the air here that softens as the sun climbs to center stage.

Well into the afternoon, it is decidedly warm. And as the sun lowers in the sky, the air cools again, causing one to reach for a sweater or jacket. It is this dependable temperature pattern that causes Virginia’s crops to develop their intense flavors. Wine grapes attain an optimal level of sugar, acid, and tannin—so they’re lusciously ripe in every way. October is a wonderful time to visit Virginia and experience the harvest in every sensorial way.

Breathtaking foliage

The first visible sign of autumn occurs in the last days of September when Virginia’s state tree, the dogwood, turns a muted red. Peak colors are expected in the mountain region during mid-to-late October, and in the Piedmont and Coast Plain in late October to early November. Besides the dogwood, leaves of poplar, sweet gum, and maple trees lead the color parade. Many berries also take on a different hue. By mid-October, the mountains’ sugar maples are vibrant orange; and red maples, which are abundant statewide, are ablaze with brilliant color.

This stunning foliage paints a perfect backdrop for hikers, cyclists, campers, photographers, and picnickers seeking fresh air, exercise, and natural beauty in an autumn afternoon or weekend. There are trails, parks, and scenic drives in every direction, from the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the Shenandoah Valley, to the Eastern Shore.
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