Sunday October 9th is the begining of Regional Wine Week, a virtual event that celebrates U.S. wines from any state other than California, Oregon, and Washington. This event is the brainchild of Dave McIntyre (wine columnist for the Washington Post and his own blog, WineLine) and Jeff Siegel (The Wine Curmudgeon) of DrinkLocalWine.com. For the Fourth Annual Regional Wine Week there is a contest challenging writers to write in 47 words about the wines where they live. Anyone can enter. You do not have to be a professional writer. Find complete information here. Prizes include tickets to the Drink Local Wine Conference in Denver in April, copies of Todd Kliman’s The Wild Vine, and Laurie Forster’s Sipping Point book and DVD.
Left coast wine friends, it’s not that we don’t love you. We do. We know you understand that the light always (almost literally) shines on you and that you carry nearly the entire reputation of United States wines throughout the world. It’s just that the rest of us have something to share too, some of it quite special. Alone our voices sound rather meek in the world – but for one week perhaps we can draw a few beams of light our way. I spent the entire summer getting to know East coast wines better. It started at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA where I saw a great partnership between the wine producers, UVA, and tourism. Partial to bottling the Bordeaux grapes as varietals (I enjoyed several Cabernet Francs and Petit Verdots) and building up Viognier as their signature white grape, they have a lot going on. Then I explored the north fork of Long Island. I’m originally from Queens so I remember what it was like back in the 80’s when there weren’t more than a dozen producers. Now there are more than 50. You’ve got to love a place with 100 miles of vineyards in a straight line! This is agri-tourism at its best. You feel like a Locavore when you’re there. Next came the Finger Lakes with their Summer of Riesling events, culminating in a simultaneous release of 30 Rieslings from the 2010 vintage, setting the wine blogsphere off its axis with live and virtual tasting events.
Bringing it back home to where I live in Massachusetts I explored much of the Coastal Wine Trail, the wineries of the New Hampshire Winery Association, some exquisite hidden gems like Turtle Creek in Lincoln, MA, and a well-rounded tasting event of exclusively New England wines, with wines being represented from each of the six New England states. I even learned that there is a tiny little winery in the very town where I live!
All of this is to say, perhaps warn you dear reader, that I intend to be pounding out as many 47 word posts as possible from 10/9 – 10/15. All posts will begin with “47 Words…” While you’re reading this give some thought to supporting your own local economy. Buy a bottle of local wine. And if your local wine shop doesn’t carry any ask them why. There is wine being commercially produced in every state now. Buy a local product – unless you’re in California, Oregon, or Washington – then buy something new, and try to make it American!