Sparkling wine bringing new jobs to Nelson County


AFTON, Va. (WFXR) — Veritas Vineyard & Winery received a $40,000 grant on Monday by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The grant will contribute to the $590,000 startup cost for help the vineyard to begin producing sparkling wine. 

“The real crunch with setting up sparkling wine production is the initial investment,” Andrew Hodson, owner of Veritas, “and the equipment is what we call ‘capitally intensive.’”

Veritas’s new sparkling wine means the creation of six additional jobs at the winery.

“Rural economic development is a handful of jobs here, a handful of jobs there,” said Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, “and we have to celebrate each and every one of them.”

It’s the kind of expansion that officials think could be big for the Virginia wine industry.

“This is much more than just six jobs,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman. “It’s going to create business up and down this road based on the fact that route 151 is a pretty famous place as far as alcohol is concerned.”

According to Nelson County Economic Development, few wineries in Virginia produce sparkling wine due to the cost involved.

Officials hope this helps elevate Virginia wine on the national stage.

“With this new venture that they’ve established, the Virginia sparkling wine business, it really is going to allow us to continue to bring more attention to and to have champagne style sparkling here in the state,” said Bettina Ring, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

That impact isn’t lost on owner Andrew Hodson.

“We’re hoping that it’s the beginning of perhaps a new era in the chapter of Virginia wine, and going forward, the success of Virginia sparkling wine,” he said.

The grant is only a small fraction of the cost involved in getting the sparkling wine off the ground, but for Hodson, it’s a gesture that tells him Virginia is behind him.

“It’s lovely to know that we’ve got some external help after two decades of working on our own, basically.”

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