Throughout history, wine has always been present, connecting generations of events and figures. Just consider one example from the the wine scene in the colonies leading up to the American Revolution. Attempts to produce quality wine in America had been going strong for nearly two centuries at the time of the Revolution. Thomas Jefferson invested several decades surrounding the war cultivating European vines in what is now Virginia. One of Jefferson's neighbors was Philip Mazzei, an Italian physician-turned-winemaker, recruited to the country by Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson and Mazzei developed the first commercial vineyard in the area, before Mazzei joined his neighbor in politics. He was officially recognized by a joint resolution of Congress in 1994 for his contribution to the Declaration of Independence.
The vineyards Jefferson and Mazzei originated are now turning out award-winning wines, as one of nearly two-hundred producers in Virginia. These wineries are the centerpieces of a booming tourism culture, complete with all the modern amenities. Centuries in the making and brimming with United States history, Virginia offers the perfect scholarly version of wine country.