by Drew Baker
This morning I learned that a respected young family on Long Island making deliciously creative wines was denied a zoning variance. According to Regan Meador, co-founder of Southold Farm + Cellar with his wife, Carey, “This effectively means that Southold Farm + Cellar will cease to exist.”
We need young, talented farmers crafting delicious products now more than ever. That’s why the news out of New York this morning is so disheartening.
As a society we need to embrace locally farmed and thoughtfully made wines. Why? Because we can’t afford not to. The implications are that big. Local wines are the product of local farms.
Here are 5 important reasons to drink local wine:
1. Local wineries are economic engines.
In Maryland alone, the number of wineries has risen from 12 in 2000 to over 70 today. That equates to hundreds of skilled jobs, millions in economic impact, tax revenue, and a long coat tail effect for nearby restaurants, shops and B&B's.
2. Vineyards are de facto land preservation.
They preserve land for 30, 40, 50+ years without the need for preservation tax credits or subsidy. Vineyards are good for taxpayers and land values.
3. Vineyards are great for the ecosystem.
Unlike typical commodity crops (corn, soy, cotton, oats, etc.) the land is cover cropped year round. The most thoughtful vignerons use diverse cover crops to entice beneficial insects and promote healthier vines with stronger immune systems that demand fewer inputs. Beyond the quality of the grape, this works in tandem with nature, not against it.
4. Wine is drawing young people back into farming.
Southold Farm + Cellars and Old Westminster Winery are two great examples. The average farmer in America is 60 years old. The average age on our farm is half that. This is good for the future. We need more young, talented farmers.
5. Sheer enjoyment.
Absolutely delicious wines are being made in nearly every state in America. Good vineyard sites, meticulous farming, thoughtful cellar practices and personal commitment will yield wines that display depth, character and most importantly, are a joy to drink.
Please reconsider the importance of drinking local wine. And purchase some wine from the good folks at Southold Farm + Cellar. They deserve our support.
Wine & Business
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