Governor Terry McAuliffe announced this week that Loudoun County will host the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference. Secured in coordination with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Visit Loudoun and with assistance from the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, the conference will make its East Coast debut in 2015.
Wine tourism leaders from across the country and world will travel to Virginia November 18-20, 2015for the fifth annual Wine Tourism Conferenceat Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg. Jackie Saunders, Vice President of Marketing with Visit Loudoun, was present for the announcement at the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference held earlier this month in Paso Robles, California.
“We are thrilled that the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference will be hosted by Virginia and held in Loudoun County, one of the most iconic wine destinations in Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I congratulate Loudoun County and the Virginia team for securing this nationally recognized conference. As the nation’s fifth largest wine producer, Virginia is quickly becoming the premier international destination for wine and culinary travelers. The conference will offer an exciting opportunity to showcase our award-winning wines and world-class wine industry.”
The Wine Tourism conference is organized by Zephyr Adventures and is expected to attract more than 200 wine tourism professionals from across the world. Open to winery owners, journalists, wine associations, wine destination marketing organizations and tour operators, the conference serves as a networking forum and provides extensive educational opportunities for this growing industry. Previous conferences have been held on the West Coast in the premier wine destinations of Napa and Sonoma in California and Portland, Oregon.
“Securing the Wine Tourism Conference is another win for Virginia’s efforts to become the premier East Coast destination for wine and wine tourism,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “With our wines garnering international acclaim, sales at a new all-time high – surpassing 521,000 cases in the last fiscal year – and more people visiting our wineries than ever before, Virginia is already recognized as a rising star in the global wine trade. The 2015 Wine Tourism Conference will further that well-deserved attention and reinforce all that we have to offer as a wine destination.”
“Virginia is a top destination for wine lovers across the country, with more than 1.6 million tourists visiting our wineries last year bringing instant revenue to the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “By hosting the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference, Virginia becomes the first East Coast destination for this annual event, once again showing the country and the world that we are a top location for wine tourism.”
“We are excited to be bringing the Wine Tourism Conference to Loudoun County and to Virginia,” said Allan Wright with Zephyr Adventures. “We know both the county and the state have done a great job at promoting wine and tourism and think our attendees from other areas will be very impressed with the local hospitality.”
“Loudoun is thrilled to be hosting the 2015 conference and that organizers recognize Loudoun and Virginia’s important and growing role in the wine tourism industry,” said Visit Loudoun President & CEO Beth Erickson.
Recognized as one of the top wine destinations in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the Virginia wine industry continues to thrive in both Loudoun County and across the Commonwealth. Currently, there are 3,100 acres of vineyards and 250 wineries in Virginia, more than 40 of which are in Loudoun.
Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with more than 250. Virginia is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 people and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. In addition, more than 1.6 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2013 according the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Virginia has been listed as one of the best wine travel destinations in numerous media outlets including Wine Enthusiast, USA Today, Food & Wine Magazine and the Washington Post, noting the state’s picturesque landscapes and friendly winemakers set Virginia apart as an excellent wine destination. Visit www.virginia.org/wine to learn more about wine travel in Virginia or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free Virginia is for Lovers travel guide to start planning a trip to Virginia. LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. For more information, please visit www.virginia.org.