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Albemarle County encourages and supports agricultural enterprises as an important component of our overall economic vitality within the overall guidance of our Comprehensive Plan. We work closely with rural landowners and agricultural products to increase their profitability and to protect the natural, historic and scenic resources of our county.

Albemarle County is home to close nearly 30 licensed farm wineries. The county supports a wide array of agricultural ventures including boutique and heritage farming of local mushrooms, the Burford Pear, heirloom tomato and apples, local honey. In terms of livestock our farms are known for the quality of grass-fed beef and heritage pork. Many of our licensed farm wineries offer tasting rooms as well as space for special events. 

To add to their farming income some of our local farmers make a unique variety of value-added foods, ranging from salsas, hummus, to goat cheeses to fermented cabbages, jams, etc. Our local foods are available at local grocery stores, country stores, vineyard tasting rooms, online . To learn more about where to buy local foods contact the website,


From late 2012 through early 2014 County staff and regional agriculture industry partners held four roundtable meetings with stakeholders to discuss issues affecting livestock operations. The industry discussions centered on livestock processing needs and existing local market conditions. Sue Ellen Johnson (then PEC’s Director of Agriculture) shared the latest research on the scale and economics of a local processing facility, and what would be needed to achieve sustainable operations without ongoing subsidy.

With the goal of clarifying the issues affecting the scale and profitablity of livestock operations in our region, the Albemarle County Economic Development staff, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Virginia Cooperative Extension created a survey to gather input from area livestock producers. View the survey results here.


Albemarle County hosted an Agribusiness Marketing Conference on Monday, January 27, 2014. Video recordings of the presentations can be accessed HERE or by clicking on the individual links below. In addition, a PDF of the actual slides presented is available here.

A farm winery is an establishment located on one or more parcels in Albemarle County licensed as a farm winery under Virginia Code § 4.1- 207. This fact sheet provides an overview of local zoning regulations that apply to farm wineries as well as important:

Food Service at Farm Wineries
In an effort to provide as much clarity as possible to winery owners and operators in regards to food service, this information is provided to help winery operations navigate through local and state requirements to assist in their overall business planning.


Monticello AVA Big Winner at Governor's Cup
3/19/12 Local grapes swept the competition at the 2012 Governor’s Cup Award held recently in Richmond. 11 of the 12 top scoring wines that were selected for inclusion in the 2012 Virginia Governor’s Case were produced from grapes grown in the Monticello AVA (American Viticultural Area), cementing the reputation of Central Virginia as the premier grape growing region in Virginia. Eight of the winners are members of the Monticello Wine Trail.


We are particularly anxious to work with rural land owners to find ways to supplement their agricultural uses with other income-producing activities that fit within our rural protection philosophy. We have recently simplified regulations regarding farm stands, sales of agricultural products, and farmers markets, and we encourage farmers to talk with staff about possibilities for special events or other activities that might be of interest.

Agricultural uses on parcels of 5 acres or more are eligible for a decreased property tax called “land use. To learn more about qualifying for land use, please contact the County Real Estate Department, 434-296-5856. Please see the County Zoning Ordinance to learn more about what kinds of agritourism activity in the rural areas is considered by right, what requires a zoning clearance and what would require a special use permit.

Home-occupations in the rural areas, called “Major” and “Minor” home occupations, are addressed differently from home-occupations in the County’s development areas. Please contact a staff person with the Albemarle County Department of Community Development, 434-296-5832, for any questions about permitted agri-business uses and other regulations such as permanent or temporary signage in the County’s designated rural areas. Our staff can help you match your business aspiration to the County’s zoning code and help you understand the regulations and signage requirements. For a specific contact, ask for: