West Virginia Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 26-Oct-2018
Picturesque vineyard at Crab Orchard
?Daniel Vineyrds

West Virginia is an eastern state of the US, located entirely within the Appalachian mountain chain. The rugged, varied topography of the region provides a huge array of terroir within the state, and a range of vinifera, native and hybrid grape varieties can be found in the small number of vineyards. The best wines are produced from the Riesling grape, but Seyval Blanc, Marechal Foch and various fruit wines are also made in the state.

West Virginia covers a modest 24,250 square miles (62,750 sq km) of terrain, bordered by Pennsylvania and Ohio to the north and Virginia and Maryland to the east. This relatively small size is due to the state being carved out of Virginia during the Civil War (1861–65) when 48 counties whose landowners owned few if any slaves broke away and formed their own independent state.

Wine

Montani semper liberi (mountaineers are always free) is the state motto, and West Virginia is one of several states which has adopted the moniker "The Mountain State". The importance of the Appalachian Mountains here is hard to over-emphasize. The state's many rivers are also a vital part of West Virginia's geography, combining with the hillsides to create varied mesoclimates where grape vines can thrive.

West Virginia's wine industry is far from prolific, but there are a small number of devoted winemakers operating here. The mountainous topography and the varying altitudes it creates mean that various vine species are able to thrive. In general, hybrids are dominant in West Virginia vineyards, except in the cool Potomac Highlands in the state's eastern 'panhandle', where Riesling holds sway.

The topography and cool climate in the Potomacs are often compared to those of the wine regions of western Germany, which goes some way to explaining the success of the Highlands' Riesling. Although not a recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA), the Potomacs have excellent viticultural potential, one key element being the dry climate; rainfall levels here are one-half of the state average.

West Virginia has three AVAs, namely the eastern portion of the vast Ohio River Valley, the upper, northern section of the Shenandoah Valley, and the majority of the Kanawha River Valley.

Spirits and Beer

The state is home to just a handful of distilleries. However Bourbon whiskey accounts for the most-searched-for products on the Wine Searcher database. As of 2018 there were around 22 breweries operating in the state, though there seems to be little West Virginian beer sold in other states.

West Virginia Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Old Scout Single Barrel Select Straight Bourbon Whiskey, West Virginia, USA
27,916th in popularity
$ 74
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler 'Contradiction' Straight Bourbon Whisky, West Virginia, USA
52,039th in popularity
$ 41
87 / 100
Wine Label of Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
56,535th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler 'Contradiction' Straight Rye Whiskey, West Virginia, USA
79,118th in popularity
$ 37
Wine Label of West-Whitehill Winery 'Regal Red' Cherry Wine, West Virginia, USA
110,527th in popularity
$ 12
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin, West Virginia, USA
Gin
115,646th in popularity
$ 41
94 / 100
Wine Label of The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey, West Virginia, USA
115,646th in popularity
$ 45
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Still House Collection Barrel Aged Gin, West Virginia, USA
Gin
121,316th in popularity
$ 47
Wine Label of Appalachian Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
121,316th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Big Level Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey, West Virginia, USA
143,406th in popularity
$ 56
89 / 100
Wine Label of Appalachian 'Paw Paw' Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
143,406th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Bloomery Sweetshine 'Cre', West Virginia, USA
143,406th in popularity
$ 34
Wine Label of Bloomery SweetShine Raspberry Lemon Liqueur, West Virginia, USA
151,977th in popularity
$ 61
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Whitewater Vodka,West Virginia, USA
172,943rd in popularity
$ 40
Wine Label of Bloomery SweetShine Black Walnut Liqueur, West Virginia, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 48
Wine Label of Bloomery SweetShine Pumpkin Spice Liqueur, West Virginia, USA
202,527th in popularity
$ 25
Wine Label of Bloomery SweetShine Chocolate Raspberry Liqueur, West Virginia, USA
222,207th in popularity
$ 52
Wine Label of Smooth Ambler Double Barrel Aged Gin, West Virginia, USA
Gin
247,817th in popularity
$ 52
Wine Label of Appalachian 'Spit Fire' Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 23
Wine Label of Appalachian Blackberry Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Hawk Knob Appalachian Classic Dry Hard Cider, West Virginia, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co. 'Zona's Revenge' Wheat Beer, West Virginia, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 4
Wine Label of Hawk Knob Elderberry Infused Hard Cider, West Virginia, USA
247,817th in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co. 'Wild Trail' Pale Ale Beer, West Virginia, USA
282,866th in popularity
$ 4
Wine Label of Appalachian 'Apple Pie' Moonshine, West Virginia, USA
282,866th in popularity
$ 21
To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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