British wine critics toast Virginia vino


Vine plants at Afton Mountain Vineyards, one of Virginia's pioneer farm wineries. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

That changes tonight, when those Old World oenophiles toast Virginia vino.

The commonwealth has been vigorously promoting its wine industry, both as an export product and as a lure for tourism. Some members of the wine writers’ group visited Virginia wineries last summer and apparently liked what they tasted.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore is in London for the celebration, accompanied by reps from five Virginia wineries. The gathering will feature wines from numerous commonwealth vineyards: Barboursville, Blenheim, Breaux, Boxwood, Keswick, King Family, Linden, Lovingston, Philip Carter, Prince Michel, Veritas, White Hall and Williamsburg.

 Virginia wine started showing up in London shops just two years ago. Today the Whole Foods store on High Street in the city’s Kensington area has a section devoted to them. Haymore, who will promote other Virginia agriculture and forestry products on the trip, made a stop at the Whole Foods.

Haymore traveled to Israel and India to promote Virginia wines last month as part of a broad trade mission led by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell .

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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