Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia will partner with The V Foundation for Cancer Research to host “Virginia Vine: The Commonwealth Crushes Cancer,” a weekend event to be held in April 2015 at Trump Winery and other locations in Charlottesville. The V Foundation, one of the nation’s leading cancer research foundations, is partnering with the Virginia wine industry, the University of Virginia Cancer Center and the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University to raise critical funds for cancer research. Governor McAuliffe will host a kick-off event tonight at the Executive Mansion.
Speaking about the new partnership, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am honored to welcome The V Foundation in Virginia to highlight two of our most unique assets – our renowned cancer research programs at UVA and VCU and our highly acclaimed wine industry. Everyone has been touched in some way by the harsh realities of cancer and I’m certain that this partnership and the “Virginia Vine: The Commonwealth Crushes Cancer” event will provide a new platform to lend our support to tireless efforts to find a cure for cancer and to honor the memory of Coach Jim Valvano and the mission of The V Foundation. This partnership highlights my administration’s effort to make Virginia a global leader in healthcare innovation and will benefit our long-term economic success by working to keep our population healthy and our growing agricultural industry thriving.”
The “Virginia Vine: The Commonwealth Crushes Cancer” event will take place April 17-18, 2015 and will include a Friday evening wine festival and a Saturday afternoon cancer information symposium. The weekend will conclude with a dinner gala, featuring Virginia wines and local food products, on Saturday evening at Trump Winery. Each event will focus on funding for cancer research, while highlighting Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry. More details on the weekend events and the dinner gala, including the announcement of entertainment, will be provided in the coming months.
“The V Foundation is honored to be a part of Virginia Vine,” said Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation. “Our mission to end cancer is only possible with excellent partners, and this is an extraordinary partnership. We’re very grateful to Governor McAuliffe and the many people responsible for Virginia Vine!”
Virginia’s efforts to recruit and partner with The V Foundation began in the summer of 2013 during outreach led by Trump Winery, Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Todd Haymore, Secretary of Health & Human Resources Bill Hazel, and key public and private sector leaders in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The outreach led to a series of meetings where The V Foundation found that the Commonwealth’s widely recognized cancer centers at UVA and VCU, growing reputation for producing high quality wines, and mid-Atlantic location, where more than 60% of the nation’s population lives within a day’s drive, would provide a unique opportunity to create a new annual cancer research fundraising event on the East Coast that would highlight Virginia’s acclaimed wine and wine tourism industries.
Secretary Haymore noted, “The Commonwealth’s wine industry has experienced tremendous growth both in quantity and quality in recent years and we’ve been proud to support the industry from the Governor’s office. That support has allowed Virginia wines and winery tourism to raise their profile both here and abroad. It has also allowed us to help create new opportunities, such as the “Virginia Vine” partnership with The V Foundation, where we can continue highlighting our outstanding wines and wineries while truly promoting and supporting an outstanding cause, eradicating cancer, a disease that has affected the lives of so many.”
Secretary Hazel added, “This event will allow the Commonwealth to leverage our research assets and investments to help raise important dollars for cancer research through The V Foundation. University of Virginia Cancer Center and VCU Massey Cancer Center are Virginia’s only two National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers, placing them among the top five percent of all cancer centers in the U.S. These partners are a natural fit for The V Foundation and the “Virginia Vine” event will bring more awareness to our collective ongoing efforts to prevent, detect, treat, and control cancer to enhance the quality of life of all those affected by this disease.”
In order to create the foundation for a successful annual event, work is already underway for next year’s Virginia Vine celebration. Beginning with the kick-off event today, Governor McAuliffe, Secretary Haymore, Secretary Hazel, the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, local chefs and restaurants, Virginia’s best-in-class cancer centers, and others will be working in tandem to promote the event over the course of the next year at various wineries across the Commonwealth.
About The V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has funded more than $115 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
About the Virginia Wine Industry
Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2013 with more than 511,000 cases, or more than 6.1 million bottles, sold. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 250 wineries. Virginia is also tied with Texas as the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producing state. Virginia wineries experienced more than 1.6 million visitors during 2012, the last year where full data is available. According to a recent economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 people and contributes almost $750 million to the Commonwealth’s economy on an annual basis.