If you happen to live near Sonoma County, California or Walla Walla Valley, Washington, finding awesome local wine really isn’t a problem. But, what if you don’t happen to live in a world-class wine region?
For some of us, the thought of buying wine shipped in heavy glass bottles over several thousand miles in temperature controlled transport seems a bit, well, unsustainable. What’s a wine loving locavore to do?
As I reported not long ago in my blog post, Are Urban Wineries Taking Over The Industry?, According to Nation’s Restaurant News’ top 20 restaurant trends for 2011 there are at least three trends that prove that wine loving locavore’s want more options (sustainability, hyper local and locally produced wine and beer). If you wondering how to tap into the sustainable, hyper-locally produced wine and beer trend here are four ways.
Urban Wineries. Whether you like to drink red wine or white, these days if you live in a major metropolitan area you probably don’t have to go far to find to find high quality, local producers right in your own city. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are have taken note of urban winery ‘revolution’ and according to a blog post in Eater.com, there are notable urban wineries in the Bay Area, New York City, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Sacramento and Cincinnati (yes, Cincinnati…). Several of these metro regions even have their own urban winery trade groups, like the East Bay Vinters Alliance and South Seattle Artisan Wineries.
Wine and Dine Locally or The Locavore Wine Hipocracy…No More. Back in July 2010, the food critic Todd Kliman posted an article that ‘exposed the ridiculous double standard of the locavore movement and how they ignore great American wines.’ The good news is that chefs across American have begun to agree with Kilman and are spending more time developing wine programs that keep things local. Take flour+water in San Francisco. They have an upcoming winemaker’s dinner with Two Mile Wines and a large reason they took notice of the Oakland, CA winery is because they are just across the bay bridge. Or the Virginia Winemakers’ Dinner at Massanutten Resort which has been offered every Thursday for the past 10 years (before most people even knew there were wineries in Virginia and way before the term ‘locavore’ was even coined.) Or Luce-Hawkins in Jamesport, NY where they not only carry most of the Long Island’s wineries, but where they carry local wines on tap and local wineries keg wines just for them. Which leads us to…
Wines by the cask. Next time you go into a wine bar ask them if they carry wine by the cask. As reported in Slashfood:
Boutique, smaller-sized wineries are reaching out to local wine bars and selling them on the idea of pouring wines from kegs behind the bar. This is happening all across the country. Think of it this way. You get to try a wine that isn’t sold at your local liquor store or featured on a restaurant’s wine list.
As the folks behind Toast Wine Lounge, a new spot in Oakland, CA, wrote in an email:
By offering carafes and glasses of wines from the cask, we are able to provide extraordinary wine at incredible prices because of the cost savings accomplished by not bottling the wine. Additionally, we feel great about reducing waste by eliminating bottles. We are delighted to have found wine made by local producers that knocks our socks off and are excited to share wines like those from Andrew Lane and Skylark wineries by the glass from the cask.
Find a winery near you. Believe it or not, there are wineries in almost every state and quality continues to improve. Many states have at least one or a few excellent producers. Try the Locavore Network and search by zip code for nearby wineries …Who knew there were four wineries within 100 miles of Atlanta (including the award winning Persimmon Creek whose winemaker, Caroline Hoogenboom, hails from cult winery Dana Estates.)
Have you had a local wine experience? Please share!
Jennifer Kaplan is founder of VineCowd.com where artisanal wine producers are connected to wine lovers and wine-centric restaurants (disclosure: including Two Mile Wines and Toast Wine Lounge).
Photo courtesy of Tim O’Meara for Two Mile Wines.