It's official: Virginia is for wine lovers. In a report released this week by the American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) Virginia earned an A+ and was ranked number one for its consumer friendliness when it comes to wine laws.
Speaking about the report, Governor McDonnell said, "Virginia wines are in more demand now than ever, setting an all time record for the most recent fiscal year at 511,000 cases sold. The AWCC report confirms that thanks to efforts across the Commonwealth our consumers know what great wines we produce here in Virginia and they can find them in the many places they shop. Increased exposure for Virginia wines drives greater sales and means more good job opportunities for our citizens at our wineries, in wine tourism and throughout our rural regions where many of our vineyards are located."
The commonwealth is among seven states and the District of Columbia given the top grade in the coalition's report "Consuming Concerns: The 2013 State-By-State Report Card on Consumer Access to Wine."
The report looked at various criteria to determine which states treat their wine consumers best, including the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state wineries and retailers; supermarket wine sales; Sunday wine sales; "bring your own bottle" laws; and state control of the sale and/or distribution of wine.
Virginia ABC lists nearly 60 varieties of Virginia wines in its product catalogue. "Virginians love wine, and we've responded appropriately by increasing our product selection in this area, said J. Neal Insley, Chairman of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Virginia ABC has also been progressive in leading efforts in regulatory review and statutory changes that make our state attractive to wine entrepreneurs. "We've listened to the voice of our stakeholders," said Insley.
"Virginia possesses the most wine consumer friendly laws in the nation," according to the report. It stands out as a state "where consumers can conveniently access the wines they want," said David White, president of the AWCC. "In Virginia wine consumers enjoy excellent access to wine as well as convenience due to the state allowing wine to be sold in liquor and wine stores, grocery stores, and by allowing consumers to have wine shipped to them from wineries and wine retailers."
"It is an honor and privilege to work with Virginia's wine industry to promote our world class wines domestically and internationally," said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd Haymore. "A great deal of our success can be attributed to the team approach the McDonnell Administration has taken in making our wines more widely known and available. Virginia ABC has been a great partner in promoting Virginia wine in its stores and providing guidance on its rules and regulations to wineries and consumers. The high ranking bestowed by AWCC also would not be possible without the efforts of the General Assembly to make Virginia a more wine friendly state."