Originally, the idea was simple. A handful of wine writers would blog about regional wine on the same day, score a few points for North American wine that isn't from California, Washington, and Oregon, and maybe attract a few new visitors to our sites.
So how did we end up with DrinkLocalWine.com, an annual Regional Wine Week in October, our annual DLW conference, and more stuff still to come?
DrinkLocalWine.com was created by Jeff Siegel and Dave McIntyre as a portal Web site that would give readers access to the various writers participating in the blogging effort during Regional Wine Week. It was -– and remains -– a shoestring effort, with no Flash multimedia or slick little Web tricks.
So what is DrinkLocalWine.com all about? It’s a product of excitement and frustration. Excitement because the dramatic increase in the number of wineries throughout the United States and Canada, along with an impressive increase in quality, offered countless opportunities to discover new wines, new grapes, new flavors.
Yet we were frustrated that these opportunities are routinely shrugged off by major wine publications, retail stores, restaurants and even consumers. Try to find New York rieslings in Manhattan, or Virginia's best viogniers in Washington, D.C. -- not impossible, but very difficult. In too many places, local wine is still treated as a novelty.
It's about time regional wine gets the respect it deserves. Yes, some of it still tastes like it was made from grapes strained through sweaty socks, but much of it is as competently made as anything from California. We should drink regional wine. There is no law that says all wine has to come from California. In Bordeaux, the French drink wine made in Bordeaux. In New York, why shouldn't we drink New York wine?
In the global economy, we are lucky to be able to drink wine and eat food from anywhere. Yet increasingly the trend is away from giant agribusiness and toward a restoration of local farms as we insist on produce and meat “from around here.” Vineyards are farms. Local wine should be part of the local food movement. Wine Country is Everywhere.