Make Locapour Part of Your Pick Five

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

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!

Alabama Alaska Arizona
Arkansas California Colorado
Connecticut Delaware Florida
Georgia Hawaii Idaho
Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana
Maine Maryland Massachusetts
Michigan Minnesota Mississippi
Missouri Montana Nebraska
Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina
North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island
South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee
Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming

Lists for Locapours – Browntrout

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Ever go into restaurant and look over the menu and see the Chef proudly proclaim that they are sourcing their proteins and veg from local farms? I see it alot here in Chicago.

Then I take a look at the winelist and there is nothing, I mean NOTHING local on it. When I have asked, I asked I get answers that relate to the economics of distribution (which is complex and a pain to figure out) or I get comments about the quality of the local wines as discussed in the comments of this Huffington Post piece.

So, when I see a wine list that has anything local on it, I want to cheer them on.

Kevin, I and the girls stopped for brunch recently at such a place. Browntrout.

The restaurant bills itself as serving sustainable, locally farmed, and organic products whenever possible. For most restaurants this has meant a trip to the Chicago Green Market. Browntrout grows its own herbs in their rooftop garden as well as establishing relationships with local farmers. Local and artisanal beers are also on the list as is locally roasted coffee and house made gingerale and Gale Gand’s Root Beer. But it is the wine list that interested me most.

Tasty!Most of the options were labels that I have previously seen and know to be sustainably produced. Ironically, many wine makers use sustainable practices but shy away from using in their advertising so that the focus is on the quality of their wine, not the method of production. I was pleased to see a couple of options on the list from local vineyards, specifically, the Pinot Grigio and Blaufrankisch from the Circa Vineyards in Leelanau Michigan. I was doubly delighted by the Blaufrankisch as it is a varietal that is largely only see in Germany and Austria. Unfortunately, I was eating brunch, so I skipped red wine and enjoyed the Pinot Grigio instead. It was a nice crisp wine with a lot of flavor. Kevin and I are certainly looking forward to trying the red at another point as the food at Browntrout was wonderful. Even the ever world-weary, Celia couldn’t find anything bad to say. That is high praise indeed.No mean featBrowntrout puts its "Loca" cred to the test and wins!

So get out there and support your Locapour restaurants. They aren’t just talking the local, green talk; they are walking the walk too!

4111 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 472-4111
Good food+Happy Teens+Good Wine=Happy Parents!

St. Louis Locapour List

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

While in St. Louis, I did more than drag an underaged teen from one winery to another… I went out to dinner… With grownups even!

Yes, it is true. After spending a long day in volleyball and touring Daniel Boone’s favorite wineries, the girl and I headed back to the hotel where she immediately ditched me for team related activities and headed up to see my favorite wine-loving volleyball mom. After snacking on some cheese and crackers and drinking some delicious Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant, An American Place.

The room for this restaurant is beautiful with ridiculously high ceilings due to the Mezzanine being above. The ceiling seemed to have Wedgewood cameos engraved, painted, however it is done.

One of the things that I liked about the menu was that the Chef/Owner Larry Forgione sources many of his supplies locally. Unlike many chefs, he extends this policy to his list of libations which contained selections from :

Mt. Pleasant
Chaumette Estate

Better yet, the meals were terrific. We started out with an amuse bouche of blue cheese panna cotta with a reduced balsamic glaze and chip of cured pork shoulder. Next I had the sweetbreads which were a treat I haven’t had in a long, long time and finally the hanger steak which at that point I forgot to photograph because I was enjoying the food and conversation…. Oh, and I loved the presentation of the shrimp cocktail, which I thought looked like mini versions of the St. Louis Arch!

More Lists for Locapours

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Lists 4 LocapoursFor my next installment of Lists for Locapours I am going to tell you about a Chicago restaurant that includes local wines on their list. Naturally, you would assume that this restaurant is of a lower quality.

You would be wrong.

Charlie Trotter’s even has a page on his website dedicated to American wines, stating:

“….By 2001, there were licensed wineries in all 50 states. All these producers have great pride in what they’re cultivating. Thus far, the results are good, with incredible potential in the years to come…..we invite you to enjoy our ongoing search for the quintessential wine produced in each of the 50 states, either from European and native North American grape varieties, or from other fruits. They may be red or white, dry or sweet. This chapter, like winemaking in North America , is a work in progress, and evolution. The search will continue as we cross borders and venture into Canada and Mexico .”

Some of the wines that are included on this list are:

1994 Lynfred Cabernet Sauvignon, from Roselle, Illinois… We have been there!
Hopkins Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Western Connecticut Highlands (VinoVerve has been there!)
Cedar Creek “Semidry” Vidal, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin (VV has been there but I forgot to post it… ugh! But I will soon)
2003 Sakonnet Vidal Blanc, Southeastern New England (from Rhode Island, and yes… we’ve been there!)

So, remember, the next time someone tells you that there are no decent local wines, and they certainly don’t pair in a fine dining environment remind them that Charlie Trotter disagrees.

Viva the Locapour, Charlie!