By David White
Until 1976, few wine critics took California seriously.
That year, a British wine merchant organized a competition in Paris pitting California’s best Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon against the best wines that France had to offer. Everyone assumed that France would win. But with both the whites and the reds, California came out on top.
That competition—now known as “The Judgment of Paris”—transformed California’s wine industry. It helped accelerate vintners’ efforts to tout California’s wines as being on par with Europe’s best offerings.
Virginia’s wine industry isn’t yet on par with California’s. But wine critics everywhere are starting to pay serious attention to the state.