THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
Eating local is all the rage. But what about drinking local?
You’re already growing your own tomatoes, peppers and basil, because they just taste so much brighter when plucked right out of the soil. And, of course, you are a big supporter of your local farmers and take your eco-bag to the farmer’s market every weekend for the fresh veggies, berries, jams and plants you don’t grow yourself.
Come September, you can’t wait to pick apples and pumpkins at your local farm, and your kids look forward to blueberry and peach picking every spring. Eating local just makes sense, both to support local businesses and get a fresher product without fear of listeria from that harmless looking supermarket cantaloupe. Even more importantly, the local products actually have an aroma, and just taste better, right?
But let’s get serious…what about the booze? Everyone loves their local brewpub, and regional craft beers are on the rise. Next to our locally raised pork and backyard tomatoes, there’s usually a six pack of Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson in my fridge at any given time. Mostly because it’s delicious, but also, because we are proud of the awesomeness of our regional brews.
So, what about local wine? This is where it seems to get stickier. Personally, I have a love of wines from France and Spain, and given my work over the years with Rioja, Rhone, Burgundy, Alsace and Provence, I still lean towards these wines. But, I moved to wine country for a reason and the local wines are taking over my collection these days.
No, I’m not in overpriced Disney World Napa Valley (sorry Paul), sunny Sonoma or sleepy Walla Walla. Moving 3,000 miles west was not an option for someone with an outspoken Italian mother (I believe “over my dead body” was her exact words). Instead, I fell in love with romantic Virginia wine country and moved south. When I tried to tell my fancy wine geek friends how good the local wines are down here, it was either met with a goblet full of eye rolls or complete dismissal as they continue to sip their 15% alcohol Cali jet fuel.
Times they are a changing and the #drinklocal movement is on the rise, catching up with the ever-popular #eatlocal and farm-to-table movement. This week marks the 4th annual DrinkLocalWine (DLW) regional wine week, founded by regional wine supporters Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post and Jeff Siegel of The Wine Curmudgeon, encouraging people to drink local wines outside of California and the Pacific Northwest. From Texas to Virginia to New York, there are local wine supporters that will talk your ear off about how good the wines are from just down the road. Just search for #drinklocal handles on Twitter, like #vawine, #txwine, and you’ll see how passionate the base is about locally produced vino.
It’s not just local politicians or us yocals pushing this juice. Well-respected palates, from England’s Master of Wine Jancis Robinson to Eric Asimov of the New York Times, are starting to appreciate the high quality wines made in lesser known wine regions like Virginia and New York. Com’on y’all, all the cool kids are doing it!
Support your local farmer on your plate and in your glass. Cheers!