In the last fifteen years, the amount of wineries in the United States has more than quadrupled and not just in the traditional wine territories of California, Oregon and Washington. In fact, a more accurate location for today’s wine country would be on the opposite coast in Virginia, North Carolina and New York – not to exclude the booming wine production on America’s ‘middle coast’ in Michigan.
While California still creates the vast majority of wine made in the United States, wine of some sort is now produced in all 50 states. Yep, all 50…even Alaska. Big Wine and California may still dominate the market, but the now ubiquitous small, artisanal wineries are shaping the landscape of American Wine and driving the growth of the industry with advances in both quantity and quality.
Small, family-owned wineries are focusing more intensely on viticulture, alternative and advanced farming techniques and technology, such as oak alternatives and Skolnik’s stainless steel wine barrels. Local wine is more present and palatable than ever before. Tourists across the country can find a winery local to their vacation destination with ease should they want to experience the flavors of their journey – even if their journey has brought them to a flyover state.
Even while recovering from the wine shortages of 2010 and 2011, the industry is positioned for strong, continuing growth this year. Wine enthusiasts have emerged from the recession, ready to treat themselves to finer vintages and more expensive, craft wines and ‘on premise’ sales in restaurants, airlines, cruise ships and other hospitality venues are exploding. And, of course, there is the ever present love of Charles Shaw or “Two Buck Chuck” among the younger crowd.
It’s 2015 and wine is literally everywhere. Never before have so many wine writers had to dedicate pages upon pages to the wineries of Virginia.