In 1774, Thomas Jefferson convinced an Italian winemaker, Filippo Mazzei, to move onto land adjoining Jefferson's home, Monticello, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. At Jefferson's urging, Mazzei agreed to grow European vinifera wines, and he soon produced two barrels of wine from six of the best varieties of wild grapes. Upon sampling his creation, Mazzei was very pleased with Virginia's grapes and soil. He found Virginia land to be superior to that of Italy: "In my opinion, when the country is populated in proportion to its extent, the best wine in the world will be made here...I do not believe that nature is so favorable to growing vines in any country as this."
In 1981, on the same land that Mazzei first planted his vines, Jefferson Vineyards was established, fulfilling a vision conceived some 200 years earlier. Today, Jefferson Vineyards produces numerous award-winning wines on 650 acres of historic land high atop the Monticello Appelation.