When thinking about the Midwest I think of alot of words. Conservative. Cautious. I have always heard that folks from either coasts don’t think about us at all. We are just the people who follow their leads. But for some reason this week, Midwesterners have been labelled “AUDACIOUS”. Why? Well, as Marguerite explained to us last week, because of the newly proposed Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA.
Last I checked (at my new favorite online word website, Wordnik) audacious means bold, unconventional, adventurous… even insolent! Those are certainly not the words that I think about when I consider Midwestern farmers and winemakers.
I am not entirely what exactly is audacious about the proposal. American Viticulture Areas are supposed to be designations of identifiable geographic areas in which wines are produced. Nothing particularly out of line or bold in the Upper Mississippi River Valley that stands out that in regard. Is it the size? At 29,000 square miles, the AVA would be the largest, but the Ohio River Valley AVA is 26,000 square miles. Additionally both of these AVAs cover four states.
The only thing that I can think is audcious is the idea of wine being produced in the Midwest. But frankly, the joke is on the writer from McClatchey. There has been wine in the Midwest since Europeans began to settle here. Iowa has 75 wineries. Illinois has 70. Wisconsin has 42. Minnesota has 17. Who would have thunk it? Anyone who lives around here, that is who. What kind of people are surprised? Those folks that still think that all wine comes from California or Europe or Australia… or some place equally foreign and far away. For those people, I say this: Open your eyes and explore the wine all around you. Marguerite and I sure are!
Oh and Marguerite? Here is your map! I am looking forward to being able to visit some of these over TWO HUNDRED wineries in the near future.