In Buying Local Wines: Does the Idea Travel Well?, Eric Asimov writes that while one of the pleasures in wine retailing is pointing customers toward new and exciting wines, and especially to bottles that promote a sense of connectedness and community, wine retailer Jeffrey Wooddy of Rochambeau Wines in New York, feels a little frustrated that his customers are not always receptive to his advice.
“People can’t wait to rush off to the farmers’ market for local produce,” he said. “But when they come in here and ask what I have, and I say, ‘A beautiful white wine from Long Island,’ they say, ‘What else do you have?’ ”
Food authorities have argued convincingly that the public benefits politically, environmentally, ethically and culinarily from eating local ingredients and supporting local agriculture. But where does that leave wine, a peculiar example that is surely both a food and an agricultural product but does not fit neatly into any category?
…Throughout history most wine was consumed locally. But even in ancient times wine was a commodity, transported great distances to trade for other goods. The United States did not forgo good wine in the days before its own wine industry developed.
Wine may be portable, but its production is not. Though wine is now made in all 50 states, the quality and characteristics of a wine depend on where it is produced. So while you will have access to a fine Colorado wine if you live in Denver, if you want Chianti it must come from Chianti. The same goes for any other great wine that reflects its origins.
Read on for more of this very interesting feature that looks at locality, community and local wine and its place at the table.