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Richard Leahy is an author and wine professional who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and coordinates the conference program for the Eastern Winery Exposition, the largest wine industry trade show east of the Pacific states. He has been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since 1986, and in May 2012 his book Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, the definitive book on Virginia wine, was published to high praise from reviewers and is available on Amazon.com in a revised third edition, and the foreword was written by the famous British wine writer and critic, Steven Spurrier, seen below.
On his blog, Richard Leahy’s Wine Report, Richard shares his visits to the wine country, most often in Virginia and New York’s Finger Lakes. One day it occurred to Richard that he would enjoy turning other people on to the wines, wineries and beautiful Virginia vistas that he enjoys visiting so much. That’s the mission of Adventure Wine Tours: to put his expertise in the service of giving you a high-quality, memorable experience with Virginia wines and the scenic landscape where vines are grown.
Beyond Jefferson's Vines: the Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia was first published in 2012 by Sterling Epicure of New York, and is now in an author's third edition (2020). Beyond Jefferson's Vines is the complete story of wine in Virginia, from the Jamestown Settlement, to Thomas Jefferson and his vineyard at Monticello, to the thriving world-class wine industry of today. It focuses on the last 20 years and explains how vintners today have achieved the success Jefferson only dreamed of. This new, expanded third edition features a foreword by renowned British wine writer Steven Spurrier. The book blends history with travelogue along with personal interviews with key industry members to help you gain a full understanding of the subject.
Richard was also Mid-Atlantic and South editor for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America (2000), and a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide. He is a regular contributor to Wine and Country Life and Style, a Charlottesville-based glossy quarterly focused on the Virginia wine industry. In 2021 he was the featured guest on the Emmy-winning Virginia Public Media program “Un-Wine’d” and was interviewed about Thomas Jefferson and Virginia wine by certified chef and show host Tassie Pippert (seen above).
Richard is a member of the American Wine Society and the London-based Circle of Wine Writers, and helped organize two visits they made to Virginia in 2010 and 2014. He also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East at www.richardleahy.com/blog. He has been a judge in the annual Virginia Governor’s Cup competition for over a decade, in addition to other competitions. For ten years he ran the International Eastern Wine Competition, was the keynote speaker at the 25thanniversary of Gray Ghost Vineyards in July 2019, and has presented seminars on wines of Virginia and eastern North America at the Society of Wine Educators (8/19) and the American Wine Society (11/17, 11/16 and
In 2007 Richard was Executive Director for the Virginia Wine Experience in London, which brought 64 curated Virginia wines to a media and trade tasting attended by leading British wine writers like Steven Spurrier, Hugh Johnson and Andrew Jefford; five years later, Spurrier declared that “My favorite North American wine region today is Virginia.”
Photo: Judging wines with Steven Spurrier at the 2020 Virginia Governor's Cup Competition.
Adventure Wine Tours, LLC launched in fall 2022, is dedicated to delivering high-quality, personal, custom-designed tours of Central Virginia (and the central and southern Shenandoah Valley) wineries that informs, excites curiosity, and makes visiting Virginia wineries an adventure!
At Adventure Wine Tours, all tours are customized to clients' preferences.
Adventure Wine Tours, LLC has a Certificate from the Virginia DMV as an authorized sight-seeing motor carrier of passengers within Virginia (permit #119). Adventure Wine Tours, LLC is also insured per state requirements.