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!
October 10, 2011