In 1774, when he was 31, founder Thomas Jefferson sank his shovel into Virginia's porous soil to plant vines near his Monticello estate.
Two years before the 13 colonies declared their independence from the United Kingdom in 1776 and the United States of America was born, it was the birth of the American wine industry.
Over the next 245 years, wine-making activities in the United States went a long way. But it must be said that while Jefferson pioneered the attempt to succeed in winemaking, it was not until the 1970s and 1980s that things really started.
Even assisted by modern technology and new cultivation techniques, Chesapeake's coastal climate proved useless for growing grapes. Virginia's topography and geology vary, but with the help of modern developments, the area now produces a wide variety of grapes.
Today there are over 100 vineyards and Monticello remains one of the state's best-known growing regions, in the heart of the Piedmont region, with many of America's oldest wineries.
Monticello Wine Trail offers countless opportunities to test the quality of wines and enjoy many tasting experiences at some of the Best Vineyards in Virginia.
Barboursville Vineyards was founded in 1976 and includes 180 acres of beautiful vineyards reminiscent of the glory days of an 18th century estate. Barboursville can boast of being the oldest of the Monticello Wine Trail vineyards and features some fascinating ruins that were designed by Jefferson himself.
There are some nice wines to try here, including Chardonnay 2013, which is cold fermented and strongly acidic, giving a wealth of green apple notes. If dry whites are your preference, there is the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2013, which is heavily influenced by minerals and has an earthy quality. For reds, there is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon complex, with a plethora of fruit flavors including blackcurrant.
At Jefferson Vineyards, the original 18th century plantations were made by The Virginia Wine Company, which Jefferson created with an Italian winemaker named Filipo Mazzei.
Evidence of the efforts of both men remains today. Casa Monticello still rises above the vineyards and there is a prominent wine to taste. This includes the daring Chardonnay Reserve 2013 with its rounded vanilla and citrus flavors, and the Meritage 2007, which is named after wines from the Bordeaux region of France with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot grapes.
King Family Vineyards is family owned and run and occupies a stunning location on this historic trail. The wines that stand out here are the slightly acidic Viognier 2013, with a floral bouquet and long, clean finish, and Meritage 2012, which is another Bordeaux-style blend, including Malbec, that gives the palate seasoning.
Every spring there is The Wine Taste of Monticello Festival, which is a partnership between the Monticello Wine Trail, the Sprint Pavilion and the Jefferson Theater, and sponsored by the Mercedes-Benz Charlottesville, where it is held.