How To Drink Local Wine

My favorite way to discover local wine is through travel. As I drive to conferences or visiting relative, I like to stop by the local winery and taste what they are producing.  I love talking to the wine makers and learning about their story.  Their passion for wine is always infectious.  Currently, I have a problem. Getting away has increasingly become difficult due to family responsibilities (i.e., reining in teens)

My solution? Well the first option is to comb my local wine shops (which may in fact be local grocery stores). Grocery stores? Well, being a foodie type, it makes for easier menu planning.  I have found myself doing this on the road as well.  In part, because I eat better on the road when I am picking fruit and veg instead of eating fast food, but also because in many states, grocery stores have wine (Yes, I know you don’t New York State – get over yourselves on that matter).

I have picked up great wines in Virginia, Indiana Illinois and Nebraska at grocers or their closely associated liquor stores.

Some standouts? Bloom, a small chain that I found while visiting my 104 year old grandmother and other relatives in Virginia Beach. They have a nice wine section that has got one of the nicest selections of local wines that I have ever seen.

My nationwide? Whole Foods is a great choice. With its dedication to fresh and local ingredients, it makes sense that they would feature local wine. Given their national reach? Local wines extend to regional options extending my non-travelling reach. Lately, I have found Firelands Gewurztraminer from Isle St. George, near Sandusky, OH and from Illinois, Prairie State Winery, Lynfred and Glunz Family all in my local WF.

Surprisingly, in Chicago, I have found that smaller, ethnic groceries are full of local options as well. Maybe this is because they are being supplied by alternative distributors. I am not going to argue the point so long as I can find new and original options. In my neighborhood, I am recommending Foremost liquors which vary from neighborhood to neighborhood as to their options.

I have also found increasing local options at my neighborhood Jewel where the wines of Indiana’s Oliver Winery  and Michigan’s Tabor Hill have found themselves on the shelves.

These are very pleasant surprise for a local wine lover.

My new way to get local wine? If I can’t get to the wine? I am having it brought to me.

While not all smaller wineries can and do ship, we should take advantage of those that do. How to chose?  I am using results for wine competitions.  An imperfect system to be sure, but one that is making it easier for a lover of local wine to extend their selections.

What are your favorite regional American wines?  Let us know and maybe I will be checking them out soon!

 

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor
October 10, 2011

Canei Go Home Again?

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

While most kids in high school were trying to get someone to buy them beer, I was that weird kid drinking wine.

The wine I was drinking was about the same level of quality as their beer, but I didn’t care. I was drinking real wine. From Italy. It was imported. And it was advertised on the radio. In the Buffalo area, where I grew up the ads were voiced by Danny Neaverth a long-time Buffalo radio god.

The ads?

Canei?* Yes, You Can!

*(pronounced like Can I)

Oh it was Klassy! It even had a screw top making it super convenient for the teenaged Gretchen.

I drank this wine as I moved into my college years (where it was actually not entirely too awful with the Thai food we ordered from Tipsuda (sadly, long gone!)

Why mention this?

Well, yesterday, while on a quest for a new hydrometer (people keep breaking them which I find annoying) and the liquor store that I visited to replace the broken equipment, there it was.  A bottle of Canei.  I haven’t seen a bottle of it in years.  It was calling me.  Like a siren’s song.

So we bought a bottle and brought it home and poured it while eating a Giordano’s Pizza (another 1985 pairing).

And like the siren’s song, the Canei dashed me on the rocks.

OMG.  It sucked.  SUCKED.No I Can't (stomach it anymore)
What was teenaged me thinking?  I don’t know.  I was 19.  I didn’t know any better and it was my introduction to buying wine.

Clearly, my taste buds have moved on.  And we ditched the Canei and opened a dry rosé instead.

So Canei go home again?  No, I can’t.

And I am guessing that the Ruinite and ice won’t be nice.

Sometimes I Cheat…

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

I don’t always go visit wineries… Sometimes I pick up wine at the liquor store, like I would if I were at home. That way, I can bring home more wine.

5 TrailSuch was the case with this wine that Kevin suggested that we open this bottle last night. It is from 5 Trails Winery in Nebraska, which I did not visit. I went to Feather River and tried to go to South Fork Winery instead. And to me, this is a shame as this was a GREAT wine. It tasted of pears and citrus and was full and fruity.

It is produced from the Frontenac Gris grape which came from one cane of Frontenac grapes grown at the University of Minnesota. This one cane produced gray fruit instead of black and is the source of all the existing stock of the Gris varietal. I had to look this up as I had never heard of it before.

I was once asked if I could claim that I wine from Southern Illinois (or any of the other places that I look for local wines) was as good as a wine produced in Italy or France. At the time, I argued that it was irrelevant because they were different wines and were meant to be so… This wine, however, I will put up against a Moscato anytime. It was excellent.

And this is what I love about VinoVerve and local wine.