One of the difficulties with trying to figure out where regional wine is in relation to the rest of the wine world is the Wine Curmudgeon's natural curmudgeonliness. Yes, the National Restaurant Association can say, for the second consecutive year, that local wine is a top priorty for restaurants. But I'm the kind of guy who looks at that and tries to decide if the survey was rigged. In other words, I'm not only waiting for the other shoe to drop, but expect it to hit me on the head.
So what happens when I'm in Denver last week doing some groundwork for DrinkLocalWine's fourth annual conference, set for the Colorado capital at the end of April? Almost complete and total enthusiasm, not only for what we're doing but for local wine. More, after the jump:
More importantly, everyone I talked to, and I talked to everyone, said they were excited about Colorado wine, the conference, and DLW's mission: To let the world know wine is made in 47 other states. I had to tell the story about how Dave McIntyre and I started this thing so many times that even I got tired of it. And I can usually talk about DLW until the other person's eyes glaze over.
The assorted print, Internet and electronic meda on hand, almost to a person, wanted to know what Colorado wine was like, where it was headed, and why we were coming to Denver to do the conference. (The answers: Much improved, and we had some excellent wines at the event from Bookcliff, Boulder Creek and Grande River; only going to get better; and because what's going on in with Colorado wine is something that other states need to know about.)
The media were especially interested in the relationship between local wine and local food, which is something we've been hitting hard over the past couple of years. The local food people sometimes have a difficult time seeing that local wine can be just as local as that piece of bacon or tomato.
The best part of the evening came when one craft beer drinker, who wasn't much of a wine guy and didn't really see the local angle, said to me, "You know, I'm going to have to start drinking more Colorado wine. This is really good."
How un-curmudgeonly do you think that made me?