Selections from wineries outside of Washington, D.C? Specific vintages from the Finger Lakes region? Reislings from Ontario? Chambourcin from central New Jersey? California may still be the hub of commercial domestic wine production, but vineyards across North America are showing that they, too, can produce quality, flavorful wines for their communities.
Winemaking businesses are taking root all over Canada and the United States. In 1999, there were just six wineries in Loudoun Valley, Va., a region near the nation’s capital. By 2013, there were 40 wineries in that same region, and the number keeps growing – so much so that the region has been dubbed “D.C.’s Wine Country.”
Loudoun Valley is just one area of North America that has seen a boom in local vineyards, wine tastings and direct-to-consumer resale of products produced on their estates. The Wine Business Monthly database indicated that the total number of wineries in the United States recently showed a 4.5 percent increase from one year to the next. Wines of Canada points out there are now more than 800 licensed wineries in Canada and more are in the planning stages. The most popular areas for producing Canadian wines are southern Ontario by the Great Lakes and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.
The regions known for producing American wines are more diverse. While California, Washington and Oregon clock in with the most wineries, Texas, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Missouri make up the top 10, according to the American Association of Wine Economists. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now have their own wineries.
With so many star-spangled and maple-leaf loving wine enthusiasts, one never has to travel far to sample a local vintage. What makes many local vineyards so appealing is their backstories. Consumers have long been interested in the origin tales behind products, as taste and appearance alone often do not move niche items. Local wineries appeal to the public because they connect consumers to the wines and the vineyards on an emotional level. Who doesn’t want to see a local vintner succeed in an industry dominated by big names from Europe and elsewhere? In addition, serving and enjoying a wine from one’s own state or province can be a talking point at any gathering, helping to inspire even more local wine fans.