I'm in Illinois, so that means I'm going to try and buy some Illinois wine. It's one of those things that the Wine Curmudgeon does. So I go to one high-end grocery store in a high-end suburb. Nope, no Illinois wine (and the guy behind the counter is even a little surly about it, so the Wine Curmudgeon gives him the evil eye). I got to another high-end grocery store in another high-end suburb. Nope, no Illinois wine.
Is Illinois wine any good? I don't know. I can't find any to buy so I can taste it.
I was actually quoted quite eloquently about this subject in the Santa Fe newspaper when I was in Taos (shameless plug alert): ""Regional wines are under appreciated. They are better than people give them credit for being." And, the quote the writer left out: "People in regions of France drink wine from those regions. So why don't Americans?"
A couple of reasons: First, they're difficult to find, as I have learned repeatedly, this experience not being unusual. This is a chicken and egg thing -- do retailers not carry them because there is so little interest, or is there so little interest because retailers don't carry them? I tend to the latter. Second, and it's a brutal reason, much regional wine isn't good. It's too sweet or too poorly made or made with poor quality grapes. But that doesn't mean it all tastes like that.
I'm told Illinois wine is passable and improving. Several wineries use hybrids that I especially like, such as norton and vidal, which means they take climate, soil, and the like into account. Their list of medals won includes some impressive competitions. So it's certainly worth trying.
If only I can find some to buy.