Follow in the Footsteps of Jefferson, America's First Wine Connoisseur, with U.Va. Summer Seminar on Virginia Wines, June 4-8

March 21, 2008 — A new University of Virginia summer travel program will trace the evolution of winemaking in Virginia, from Thomas Jefferson — America's first distinguished wine connoisseur who struggled to adapt European grapes to the New World — to the contemporary Virginia wineries whose skills have made Virginia the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the United States.

The seminar, “The Virginia Wine Scene: From Jefferson’s Dream to the New World Scene,” runs from June 4 to 8.

“This program is designed for both true wine experts and casual wine lovers,” said Joan Elias Gore, a travel program director at the University of Virginia.

It will be led by Gabriele Rausse, a native of Vicenza, Italy, and one of the founders of the modern Virginia wine industry. He oversees wine production at the restored vineyards at Monticello, drawing on his experience having helped start over 40 vineyards and 10 Virginia wineries. He will be joined by a host of other leading wine experts and industry leaders.

Based at U.Va., participants will spend each morning learning about wine, the wine industry, winemaking and viticulture, including Jefferson's efforts to foster European grapes in Virginia. The afternoons will be spent visiting some of the region’s finest wineries and tasting the wines that have made Virginia wines highly regarded nationally and beyond. Last July, Virginia was hailed by Travel and Leisure magazine as "one of the five top new wine destinations in the world." Each day is capped with a gourmet wine dinner.

The five-day, four-night program is open to anyone.

Prices start at $1,995, including four nights' lodging in University of Virginia residence halls; all meals, including four gourmet wine dinners; seminars and visits to local wineries and vineyards; all internal transportation; and a special after-hours tour of Monticello.

The program is offered by the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies as part of the school’s portfolio of Travel & Learn Programs for Adults.

Further information and registration is available at or by calling (800) 346-3882 or (434) 982-5252 or e-mailing

About the University of Virginia Travel & Learn Programs for Adults

Each year, the University of Virginia offers an assortment of seminars traveling to interesting and historic destinations in the United States and abroad to explore a wide variety of topics. These programs are led by lauded U.Va. faculty and their colleagues at institutions worldwide.

2008 Programs

The Founding of North America 400th Anniversary Symposia
The French, the Indians, and the History and Archaeology of Québec
July 9-13, 2008 | Québec, Montreal and Ottawa

The 20th Jefferson Symposium: Friends and Foes
June 18-22, 2008 | University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

The 8th Shakespeare Seminar: Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth
June 25-29, 2008 | University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

The 21st Seminar at Oxford, England
The Era of Revolution in Britain, France and America and the Making of the Modern Western World
August 10-16, 2008 | Merton College, Oxford University
(with an optional post-program excursion to Paris August 16-18)

Further information on these seminars can be found at