2017 Congressional Caucus Best of

2017 Congressional Caucus Best of


Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association
is one of the oldest wine organizations located on the East Coast. Established in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA), it was an early supporter of planting world-class vinifera wine grapes, the production of quality commercial wines, and the building of a wine industry along the Eastern seaboard.

2018 Wine Competition
Aug 5, 2018: Congratulations CrossKeys Vineyards  for BEST of SHOW Fiore 2017!

Dennis Horton

Dennis Horton


Dennis Horton passed away on June 19th 2018 at 72. In 1983, he co-founded with his wife Sharon Horton Cellars and vineyards. They created 110 acres of vineyards and a winery that produces 35,000 cases annually.

He was a highly influential pioneer of East Coast viticulture who did not want to plant the same varietals as everyone else. Dennis understood that the summer rains and humidity are conducive to fungi and rots so he searched for varietals with thick skins and loose clusters that are inherently less conducive to fungi and rots.

His tenacity with planting experimental varietals resulted in some successes, Viognier, Touriga Nacional, Tannat, Graciano, Rkatsiteli, Nebbiolo, Petit Manseng, and Pinotage to name a few. But he also tried to no avail growing and making wine from Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and other varietals. He said that he has probably pulled up more vines than most people have planted.

In 1990 he planted Viognier when it was thought to have little more than 25 acres remaining in the world. His 1993 bottling was the only known Viognier in the U.S. It won 1st place in a prestigious California wine competition. Most people had never heard of Viognier at that time and that propelled Dennis and Viognier onto the world wine stage.

His willingness to share what he had learned was a boon to Virginia and East Coast winegrowing, ensconcing his legacy to live on. Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association has made a donation to the Piedmont Virginia Community College Education Foundation in Dennis’ name to honor him and his contributions to the wine industry in Virginia.


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ASWA Objectives

  • Home of the largest Wine Competition in the nation focused exclusively on East Coast wines.

  • Host of Awards Ceremony and Reception honoring the best East Coast wines held annually on Capital Hill with the Congressional Wine Caucus.

  • Presenter of Educational and Promotional Events around the nation featuring the best wines from the East Coast.

  • Organization dedicated to the 17 states of the Atlantic Seaboard.