Here’s why you should serve Virginia-based sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve

Virginia winemaker Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Afton has two sparkling wines perfect for ringing in the new decade, and your support could spark something new.

Ringing in the new year with a glass of bubbly in-hand is a widespread tradition, especially in the Instagram era. Is there anything that’s quite as photogenic or festive? 

In the Virginia wine sphere, yes. 

Rather than grabbing another glass of the same-old Champagne, it’s time to try an alternative: Veritas Vineyard & Winery’s two sparkling wines. The Afton-based winery and vineyard boasts a sparkling rosé, known as the Mousseux Sparkling, and a Brut-style bubbly, the Scintilla.

The Scintilla’s “newest” release is a 2015 vintage and is Veritas’ CEO George Hodson’s personal favorite. 

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“It’s exactly what you want [at a New Year’s Eve party],” says Hodson. “It’s just a classic sparkling wine that is refined and elegant, and matches the elevated experience you’re looking for.” 

The family winery started its sparkling initiative for the Virginia grape by committing to learning the process from Claude Thibaut, a fifth-generation winemaker from Champagne, France, who has also brought his sparkling wine techniques to the commonwealth.

The team later decided to make a large investment in the equipment to further create, develop and distribute Virginia sparkling wine. 

“Our emphasis on sparkling wine was born out of the fact that we have always enjoyed making sparkling wine, and we’ve wanted to grow our program,” says Hodson. 

For the family, it wasn’t simply about getting new wines beyond the tasting room (which is quite a challenge), it was about creating a space for sparkling wine in Virginia and from the commonwealth, including other local wineries. 

“The most Virginian thing about Virginia wine is that we’re always working to elevate each other,” says Hodson. “We made the investment [in the initiative] so we can expand what we offer, but also to make the equipment available to others. We’re hoping more and more of our neighboring wineries will take that step and we’ll help them get their program in place, and help bring more sparkling wines to Virginia.” 

Before getting into the bubbly business, the winery featured several wines from the Virginia grape varietals including viognier, petit verdot and petit manseng. Hodson says, although Virginia wines in general are starting to gather popularity, there’s still quite a bit of potential out there. 

“Sparkling wine is a great opportunity for Virginia because it’s a great place to grow and create it,” says Hodson. “There’s a real, logical space for sparkling wine here and when you look at the fact that sparkling wine consumption is up; it’s so simple. People love bubbles.” 

There’s much to be said about the future popularity of Virginia wine, but if you’re considering rounding out the decade with a local libation, here’s what to know: Veritas’ Mousseux Sparkling (rosé) flavor notes are bright and lively, with raspberries and cream and a hint of watermelon. The Scintilla 2015 Vintage (Brut) boasts a citrus-forward flavor with refreshing acidity, hints of almond croissant and a green-apple finish. 

“Life is better with bubbles,” says Hodson. And maybe 2020 will be too.

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