The current wave of excitement in the "Go Green" movement is to "eat local." This movement advocates eating food grown locally to help support farmers in a "farm-to-table" cuisine.
This movement sometimes fails to recognize the "drink local" portion of the equation. However, for those of us who like to have a great glass of wine with a meal, drinking wines from local vineyards and wineries is a worthy cause, as well.
By no means does this say we should completely forget about that Port or Champagne and only request to be served local wine. However, a subtle change in attitude to begin incorporating these local wineries into our search for great wines makes sense, both economically and environmentally. Let's take a look at why choosing wine from a local winery is a good idea.
Terroir - celebrating uniqueness
Pronounced tear-wah this French term is used to describe the terrain in which something is grown. In this case, the "something" is the wine you are about to enjoy. Exploring local vineyards and wineries allows you to know exactly what type of climate the grapes were grown in, which gives you a great understanding of what to expect when it comes to flavor.
The climate and area in which the grapes were grown create the unique flavor of the wine. By enjoying a local wine with local food, you get the full experience of really living in your area. Many smaller wineries are trying to preserve a sense of unity and territory, along with the farmers. When you purchase a local wine, and eat locally grown food, you are helping to sustain your region's way of life.
Travel weary wine
A bottle of wine from across the country or world may have traveled thousands of miles to get to your door. During this travel, your bottle of wine had to withstand difficult elements. However, a bottle of wine you just uncorked from a local winery has fewer miles to travel, perhaps even just across the vineyard. Chances of deterioration from the long travels and uneven conditions increases the further away you go for your wine. Proper storage is less of an issue when the wine is delivered to your table from across the street instead of from across the globe.
Your price, your community, and your planet
Ordering from local wineries can also stretch your dollar. Generally speaking, local wineries are not rated by top critics, so they go largely unnoticed. In order to compete with the larger names in the industry, these smaller vintners keep their prices down to get noticed. Also, since there is not a large shipping cost involved, the consumer doesn't get the additional charge added into the price of the bottle of wine.
Don't forget the number of jobs the local vineyards create within your community. This helps to keep the local economy stable. Don't you feel better knowing you are supporting your neighbor while you enjoy sipping your favorite local wine?
Consider the waste of precious fuel resources shipping a bottle of wine around the world when a perfectly lovely bottle of wine may be waiting for you right around the corner. Conserving resources is a very large part of the movement to buy products locally.
If nothing else, local wine is the one to complement best the local food.
Giving more of your wine dollars to local vineyards and wineries just feels good. This will keep your money in the local community, help to provide much-needed jobs, and help you stay within your budget. Everybody wins when you buy locally. Why not give your local wineries a little support by enjoying the fruits of their labors!