In honor of the 41st Earth Day, the EPA has launched a new campaign, “Pick Five,” a “Do One Thing” on steroids if you will. The campaign acknowledges that “environmental action can mean doing different things in different places,” but posits that if everyone commits to five things that they can do in their own locales, together we can make a huge impact on the environment.
We here at Vino Verve certainly agree, and we encourage everyone to consider making a Locapour commitment one of your “Pick Five.”
Local wineries and breweries exist in every state, and the trend is growing with new vineyards, wineries and breweries being established every day. Many states’ tourism websites include lists of local wineries, and many now have established wine trails and local wine organizations that provide trail maps and links to the wineries’ websites. And don’t assume there’s nothing close to you – when Gretchen and I first started down this “win(e)ding road,” we both naively assumed there would be at best a handful of wineries in our areas – and yet, we’ve found a treasure trove of great wine and charming wineries across New England and along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Locapour is a commitment, though. For the casual, “I just pop into my local liquor or grocery store when I need something,” buyer, it can be difficult to become a Locapour. Most local wineries don’t produce the volume necessary for distribution across major markets, and many liquor stores, particularly smaller ones, may not even have a local wine section. But it never hurts to ask, and the more people ask for something the more likely the proprietor will be to try and provide it in the future.
Locapour also means stretching beyond your comfort zone. You are not going to find big, bold California-style wines produced in most of the rest of the country. Here in New England, for example, you’ll be hard pressed to find a local vineyard or winery that produces Cabernet Sauvignon – it’s just not a grape that knows how to appreciate long, cold winters. But you’ll find quite a few local wineries producing Cabernet Franc – a charming cousin that produces rich, fruity reds that are eminently drinkable and not as heavy as the Sauvignon. And for all of you out there who avoid reds altogether because you find them too heavy, too dry, too whatever, your local wines may change your mind, as many are fruitier and lighter than the “big” wines you find coming from the major wine regions.
As John Lennon once sang, “Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream…” Let go of preconceived ideas of what wine should taste like. Forget that you “don’t like fruit wines” or that “red wine gives me a headache.” Don’t assume local = amateur. And most importantly let go of the idea that to be great, or even good, a wine must be made from one of the commercially common grapes: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, zinfandel, chardonnay, pinot.
So, in honor of Earth Day, join us in making the Locapour commitment. And to help you get started, below are weblinks to state wine associations or information on local wineries in your state. Salut!