Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving thanks to local wine

Thanksgiving Day dates back to the early 1600's (most assign the Pilgrims' feast in 1621 as the first, but prior Thanksgiving feast have been recorded) in the United States. The feast that now is the official kick-off of the winter holiday season (or a halftime show for an annoyingly few) actually began as a celebration of the year's harvest. For many Americans it now is an excuse to stuff our faces, watch football and drink wine. So it is almost like every Sunday except we gather with family and have leftovers for a month afterwards.

Many of you reading this have already planned the wines the you will serve with or bring to the feast. Most likely you have chosen or will choose a pinot noir or a riesling, as those are probably the two most suggested wine pairings. The Thanksgiving Day meal is probably one of the most diverse collection of foods to have ever graced millions of tables at the same time. There really isn't one magical wine the goes perfectly with turkey, green beans, potatoes and cranberries. Cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, zinfandel and ribolla gialla would all work equally as well. In fact, almost any wine makes sense at the Thanksgiving Day table. Instead of trying to match the wine with the food, I would like to suggest an alternative (I'm sure many other people are suggesting this as well...).

As the day is meant to give thanks for the successful harvest (originally from local sources...), I suggest that we all attempt to give thanks that all 50 states have local wine industries. The American wine industry is as diverse (and delicious) as ever. We all know that California produces a bounty of wonderful wines year in and year out. So do France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But (for you non-Californians) so do your local producers. Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia are leading the pack of the New American wine. Iowa, Louisiana and Wisconsin all make wine, too (and I have tried wine from each of those three!). No matter what state in which you reside, you will be able to find a producer working his or her butt off to try to make a local wine. Seek one out to try with your turkey.

I will have local wine on my table this Thursday. Please do those local farmers a favor and give them thanks by gracing your table with something local. It would mean the world to them, even if it is a once-a-year occasion for every American to recognize that they exist, that they're working hard and that their product means something to you. Let's all give thanks to local wines this year!

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