Eastern Virginia's coastal plains start rolling into the gently undulating Piedmont west of I-95. Charlottesville, 71 mi northwest of Richmond, epitomizes the refined elegance of this region, a center of culture amid the vineyards and homes of early-American presidents.
Jefferson, our nation's third president and a principal writer of the Declaration of Independence, left an indelible imprint on the region through his neoclassical Monticello home, the University of Virginia, and his summer retreat, Poplar Forest, farther south near Lynchburg. In fact, Jefferson's design aesthetic is evident in public buildings, monuments, and private homes throughout Virginia. But what few visitors know is that Jefferson was also the father of American viticulture, planting some of our nation's first vineyards around Monticello. Today, Virginia has over 160 wineries and is the fifth-largest wine producer in the U.S., and many of the stellar growers are found along the Monticello Wine Trail. The central and western regions of the state were also home to some of the bloodiest and most significant battles of the Civil War, including the surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox.