Northeast Charlottesville’s love affair runs a little deeper than food. Sure, Thomas Jefferson’s love of good food and gardening easily qualify him as the nation’s “Founding Foodie,” but our third president of the United States was also quite fond of wine. He envisioned a landscape covered in lush grapevines producing bountiful barrels of Virginia vino. Now living up to his vision, the last decade has seen an explosion of vineyards and wineries in Albemarle County. At last count, there were more than thirty (yes, thirty) wineries in the region – a number that would surely make Thomas Jefferson’s heart smile. No doubt he would also flash a grin if he knew U.S. News & World Report recen tly ranked Charlottesville as the #6 wine vacation destination in the world. From a light crisp Chardonnay to a heavy, rich Merlot, there’s a wine for everyone, all of which can be beautifully paired with the aforementioned delicious dining options. Not a wine drinker? No worries! Charlottesville & Albemarle County is also home to booming craft beer and artisanal cider industries! Featuring a cornucopia of 116 FoodTraveler l Winter 2016 carbonated concoctions, you’ll have no shortage of options from which to choose! Charlottesville and Albemarle County continues to prove time and time again that it is the destination for lovers of food and drink. With several worldwide distinctions under its belt (which may need to be loosened a notch or two after a food-filled visit), this region continues to be a formidable heavyweight in the farmto-table movement while gaining national and worldwide attention for its wines, beers and ciders. So bring your appetite, bring your sense of culinary adventure and get ready to treat your taste buds to the time of their life in Charlottesville & Albemarle County, Virginia!