- Last Updated on 02:21 PM 08/29/13
- BY Special to the Gazette
Thanks to the Halifax County Tourism Department, Halifax County’s four local wineries will have a new venue for showcasing and selling their product at the South Boston-Halifax County Visitor Center.
The South Boston-Halifax County Visitor Center, located at the intersection of Route 360 and Highway 58, opened its doors on March 15, 2012. Operated by the Halifax County Tourism Department, the Visitor Center is home to a host of travel information in and around Halifax County and surrounding areas.
The center has an array of iconic local symbols available for public viewing and a gift shop featuring Virginia souvenirs, locally produced goods, and now, an impressive selection of locally produced wines for wine lovers, gift givers and travelers alike.
“The mission of the Halifax County Tourism Department has always been to promote Halifax County, which is comprised of many parts, one vital part being agriculture,” said Tourism Director Linda Shepperd. “Agriculture has been the history and culture of this community. Our citizens have a great appreciation for the land and making a living from what is grown.”
Since the Visitor Center opened, the question has naturally been how its gift shop, in keeping with the tourism department’s mission, could sell the locally grown product.
In March 2013, an application was completed and filed with Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and approved this August.
“I’m excited. I think it is fantastic,” said Shirley Archer, owner of Bright Meadows Farm Vineyard and Winery, the first winery to locate in Halifax County. “We can showcase our wines, and tourists can learn about our wineries. We appreciate everything the tourism department does for Halifax County and the wineries.”
Paul Greenwood, founder of Greenwood Vineyards, shared Archer’s enthusiasm. “It’s another outlet for us. I think it’s fantastic.”
The wine industry in Virginia has skyrocketed in the last 10 years, and Halifax County is no exception to this trend in growth, Shepherd said. Selling the product can create new customers for the wineries, contribute to increased product sales and provide a local product for travelers who can take a piece of a Halifax County back home with them.
“With the increasing number of people stopping at the Visitor Center, adding local wines to the gift shop only makes sense. Those who are not familiar with Halifax County wineries will have an opportunity to shop for wines they may have not otherwise known about,” said Halifax County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Pool, who also called the idea “a win-win” for Halifax County wineries and tourism. “There is great diversity in the business community, and every business impacts the local economy. Wineries have added another dimension to the mix, which has enhanced community development efforts.”
Hunting Creek Vineyards owners Sandy and Milt McPherson also have praised the tourism department’s efforts to promote their growing local business, saying, “We appreciate the efforts the Halifax tourism leadership has taken to support local business and agriculture by allowing us to literally sell the fruits of our labor in the visitor center. The tourism leadership has been supportive of our local wine festivals and helped introduce our business to many visitors during their stay in Halifax County.”
Shepperd announced that local wines are now available in the visitor center gift shop, saying, “It is our intention to have a nice selection of wines from each of the local wineries.”
Visitor Center hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.