“Wine country” used to mean Northern California. Then Sideways told us about Santa Barbara County and its pinot noir. Visitors to Portland learned that just an hour’s drive away they could sample some fine pinot in the Willamette Valley as well. And people don’t go to Walla Walla for the onions.
Today, “wine country” is everywhere. With wine – good wine – being made throughout the country, my neighbors in the Washington, D.C., area can drive an hour to visit a winery. An overnight trip to Charlottesville puts them plunk in the middle of the Monticello Wine Trail.
“Someday, people will get on a plane in Cincinnati and say they’re going to wine country, and they’ll land at Dulles,” says Paul Breaux, founder of Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Va., referring to Washington Dulles International Airport. Dulles is on the edge of “D.C.’s Wine Country,” Loudoun County, which boasts about 30 wineries.
Of course, Cincinnati folks could also drive to visit Ohio River Valley wineries.
Paul Wagner, founder of Balzac Communications and Marketing, a major wine PR firm, recently posted on his blog, “Through the Bunghole,” about “The 50 States of Wine” that he’s discovered on his travels. He told me last month that the “drink local” message is getting through. “The idea that when we travel, we don’t have to drink the same wines we drink all the time at home is really taking hold,” he said.
That’s why I’m looking forward to visiting Denver in two weeks for the fourth annual DrinkLocalWine.com conference. I don’t often have the chance to taste Colorado wines. When my father lived in Divide, north of Pike’s Peak, I would stop at the Wines of Colorado store on US24, on the way up the mountains from Colorado Springs. That’s where I discovered some nice Riesling and Cabernet Franc and developed my desire to visit Grand Junction. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go there on the post-conference trip arranged by Jeff Siegel, my co-conspirator at DrinkLocalWine.com; but I do hope to find out if Carlson Vineyards‘ Gewurztraminer is as good as I remember.
And of course, you can visit Colorado wine country as our DrinkLocalWine.com sweepstakes winner of two Amtrak round-trip tickets from Denver to Grand Junction. Just visit the DrinkLocalWine.com Facebook page and fill out the form by clicking on the Sweepstakes button. Entry deadline is April 26.
Our previous conferences have been in Texas, Virginia and Missouri. Virginia of course is familiar territory for me, but now if life or work takes me to Texas or Missouri, I can seize the opportunity to try the local wines with confidence.
That’s what DrinkLocalWine.com is all about: Wine from around here, wherever “here” happens to be.