When you think of local wines, do you just think of the big three, California, Oregon and Washington State? Did you forget about North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia wines? How do you define regional wines? Did you know that there are over 30 wineries with just 100 miles of Asheville? From Abingdon, Virginia to Tiger Mountain, Georgia to the Yadkin Valley near Hickory, we are we are surrounded by wineries and more are on the way.
I have been reading about the history of wineries on the West Coast from the 1850s to the 1970’s. It is fascinating to read how many vineyards were started by the early Europeans settlers. Prohibition closed down everyone with the exception of a few vineyards that only made grape juice or raisins. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that wineries started to take hold again in California and today they are over 1000. In North Carolina we have just reached 100 wineries this year. Imagine what it could be like in 20 or 40 years in the Western region of North Carolina?
Just how can we achieve this? This can only happen if YOU want it to happen. I believe this can be helped by visiting regional wineries, wine festival, wine dinners, and sampling regional wines. It’s going to take everyone working together to show that there is a demand for local wines.
We need shape that demand in order to increase the numbers of wineries and the quality wine production in Western North Carolina. There are many regional wines available and they are easy to find by go to www.NCWines.com. For those that attended the WNC Magazine Asheville Wine and Food Festival will remember many of the 30 wineries poured at the festival
When we go to a grocery store, we need to look on the shelves to see how many local wines are displayed. When you see the person labeling the wine with pricing stickers or filling the shelves at your grocery store, ask them, where are the wines from our region? Whenever you go to a restaurant, ask for the wine menu and look for regional wines. If you do not see any, ask them why. It’s not that you are necessarily going to buy the wine, and I hope that you do, but it is your obligation to always be curious about what’s from your area. Just as you know where your meats or vegetables are coming from, we need to know why that restaurant or store is not supporting local, regional agriculture – regional wineries.
We need to get the restaurants and stores to push their distributors to make available regional wines. The person stocking the shelves is usually is a distributor. By asking the waiter, and the waiter asking the owner, the owner will ask the distributor why they are not supporting local wineries.
I n talking with distributors, they say there lacks a demand for regional wines. Perhaps we lack a distributor for regional wines! Another comment I hear from the distributors are that regional wineries charge too much for their wine? Regional wineries deserve a decent price. Many regional wineries produce less than a thousand cases each year and a winery and vineyard is a very expensive business. They need to ask a decent price for their wines and in comparison to mega-factory produced wines from overseas and from the West Coast. We need to support our local farmers and a fair price.
When you go to the winery, tell them that you would like to help them get their wine to your favorite restaurant or wine store. Then tell the restaurant or wine store that you like to see more regional wines on their wine list. Tell them then names of your favorite regional wines. Help us grow the wine industry in western North Carolina.