If you have ever been to a Virginia wine festival, it is with a 99% degree of certainty that you have come across a “gimmick wine”. For the purposes of this article, a gimmick wine is a wine that has been introduced to non-grape ingredients such as apples or strawberries. It is borderline funny to watch wine beginners marvel at the novelty of a wine infused with Hershey’s chocolate or lemons. Bottles are sold hand over fist leaving the proprietor glowing with their “what a great money making idea I had” demeanor. Unfortunately, it’s borderline funny. Yes, these wines are fun at festivals. Who doesn’t want to sit outside in 90 degree heat drinking a glass of wine that tastes like lemonade? But the reality is that if one of these gimmick wines were entered into a wine tasting in Napa Valley, the poor soul would lose all credibility and get laughed out of the tasting room. Make no mistake, Virginia makes some great wine! I am a huge Virginia wine lover and supporter. But the Virginia wine industry, for all its growth, is still fledgling. Wine maker aspirations are high and with a rich history that includes Thomas Jefferson planting wine grape rootstock, history is on their side. Unfortunately Virginia wine will never command top dollar for their wines (think $100+ bottle) until they have reached a seat at the fine wine table that includes Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa Valley, Chianti, Barossa, and others. To be taken seriously by the international wine community and get a seat at that table, Virginia wine makers should save the strawberries for shortcake and continue focusing on making the quality wines it already produces.