By Drew Baker
Have you ever enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine that was grown and produced locally? We certainly have. Sure, Maryland may not (yet) have the same venerable notoriety as other regions of the world for fine winemaking, but the secret is getting out: noteworthy wines are being produced here.
So with that in mind, track with me on this thought: Ever been to a “farm-to-table” restaurant that didn’t feature a single local wine?
There’s a disconcerting disconnect here – an elephant in the restaurant: Grapes grown, produced, and bottled on another continent are featured at destinations purported to be designed for locavores.
Friends, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are the 3 main reasons local restaurants don’t feature local wines:
1. Some folks don’t see wine as a local farm product.
Delicious wine is grown on real farms. At Old Westminster Winery, we pour our hearts and souls into producing great American wines on our little slice of this planet. It all starts in the vineyard. We only have two goals in our winery: 1) produce a balanced wine that reflects both the vineyard and the vintage; 2) don’t screw up what we’ve grown – count it as sacred.
2. Restauranteurs aren’t feeling any pressure from their customers.
Don’t you think it’s time for “farm-to-table” restaurants to put their menu where their message is? We do. No more free passes for the elephant in their dining room: a purely International wine list.
Now don’t get me wrong, we all love Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy. And I also recognize the differences between a local tomato and a local bottle of wine. But just like any other ingredient, the best local wines are worth seeking out and deserve a place on any wine list.
3. Inconsistency plagues many local wineries.
Local wineries aren’t without any fault. For every great wine being made, there are others that aren’t serviceable. Our industry needs to start taking its own reputation seriously and cater to thoughtful consumers. Growing world-class wines locally starts with a committed winegrower thoughtfully farming a good vineyard site. This formula yields grapes fit for the production of remarkable wines. It’s time we celebrate producers taking this task seriously and cut bait with the others.
At Old Westminster Winery, we’re doing our part to craft distinctive wines fit for the most prestigious wine lists. And we’re so thankful for the dozens of restaurants that proudly feature our wines.
But we’re just getting started. The tide is shifting. Let's work together to put Maryland wine on the map.
Wine & Business
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