I came across a curious report by The Chicago Tribune last week. It went like this, "the novelty of the golf course community may have begun to fade in recent years, but now vineyard living is emerging as an alternative. The American fascination with wine has never been more intense -- wine consumption increased by 25 percent or 142 million gallons between 2001 and 2006, according to the San Francisco-based Wine Institute -- and new housing developments are appearing alongside or right in the middle of vineyards across the country, even in areas not well known for their wine production."
A wine newbie, I have always been under the impression that the major wine producers in the United States were California, New York, Oregon and Washington. To my surprise, I recently learned that Idaho, Texas, and Arizona are giving the old timers a run for their money! Last year a New York Times article discussed how farmers in those states are moving away from growing agricultural crops to growing grapes.
I never thought I'd see the day when American farmers would abandon corn, cotton and sorghum for wine!
Our country is so consumed with wine that people are switching from golfing and reading to studying viticulture. Growing up in Florida, I knew nothing about wine, mainly because no one in my family drank it and we weren't exactly surrounded by vineyards. On special occasions we'd toast with "Champagne ," (actually Asti Spumanti) but other than Martini & Rossi, I didn't know what else was out there.
Oh boy, things sure have changed. Now, Iowans can learn to appreciate wine right at home. It isn't all about California and New York anymore.
So... to all the farmers out there… I salute you for taking a risk! Not everyone can grow grapes for wine making, but then again, not everyone is willing to leave their comfort zone to start over again with something exciting and new. I'm looking forward to trying some Ohio Riesling and any other offerings from the Corn Belt. Maybe I'll even treat my Florida family to some for Thanksgiving!
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