As some of you may have gathered The Two Wine Brothers (Terry & Brad Johnson) are seriously geeky about wine. I've been known to go to extremes in my (Brad) attempt to immerse myself in wine - literally during the harvest and crush.
So it isn't too much of a surprise to learn that I am a vocal advocate and promoter of local wines.
During the past year I have launched a wine industry e-zine, called Winedustry: wine news for the "other" grapes. Focused on new wine regions and grapes, the ones you may have never heard about, Winedustry is intended for the nontraditional, non-vinifera wine community. Winedustry readership continues to grow each month, because in large part of our volunteer contributors (writers) and state field editors.
During the past few years I've taken my wine education more seriously through formal education. During this time I've expanded my knowledge of my personal wine making, then as of the past few years working at a commercial winery, and throughout collaborating with innovative wine industry folks.
One of those collaborations is now blossoming into a new project: Midwest Wine Review. Modeled in part by the successful regional wine competitions and from mainstream wine magazines, Midwest Wine Review will bring together skilled, knowledgeable and professional wine evaluators. The goal is to replicate, in the best way possible, the wine scoring systems of major magazines, but for new wine regions.
In the planning stage, Midwest Wine Review will conduct quarterly (or as needed) sensory descriptive analysis sessions and rate wines using an updated 100 point scoring system. This scoring system is a familiar metric for many wine consumers. The rating scores and accompanying brief description will be available to participating wineries. (See Midwest Wine Review story describing process).
Not long ago, I was communicating with my Winedustry Maryland Field Editor ((find her on Twitter as @ourgirl) or at her blog (http://thevineyardwife.com/)) about badges for Winedustry. She possesses extraordinary graphic artist skills and I asked her to design an image, a badge, to support local wine consumption and purchases. She came up with this image (see above). She elaborates on the creative process of making "I Drink Local Wine" badge - please READ STORY!
Nearly immediately, after posting a copy of this image (above) on Facebook, it went viral! Support for local wines is huge and this image has been shared more than 100 times in the first day! (Feel free to copy and use on your blog, facebook status update, or website).
New wine regions, places like Iowa, Missouri (which has a very long wine making history), Virginia, Michigan, Maryland - just to name a few - are making amazingly good wines. In many instances, you won't find a traditional varietal, and that's fine. Good is good...and Great is Great! Give new wine regions a chance and allow your own palate to be the judge.
Let us know what you find!