Published: Sunday, 04 November 2012 12:59
Written by David DeCiero
Lately, there have been quite a few local wineries opening up. These wineries are attempting to capitalize on the trend of all things local. Unfortunately, it is very tough to find anything unique about these companies. This starts with the grapes. Most new wineries purchase their grapes from distant locales and offer nothing special in the way of location.
Over the past few years, I have visited quite a few wineries. Recently, they have started to appear more and more around here in Massachusetts. Being a curious person, I have started to take a look at the provenance of the grapes used to make these wines. The first reason I started looking is because Massachusetts and New England are not known to grow any wine grapes. Concord grapes can be used to make wine, but we don't normally see this being sold. In fact, most grapes used to make wine in New England are grown on the West Coast, New York, or South America. That's correct, it doesn't have anything to do with beng local. These locations offer much more hospitable growing conditions. If you see a Cabernet Sauvignon made from a Massachusetts winery, be assured it did not grow around here. The wineries here are getting the grapes, or frozen must shipped to them, and the wine is made locally. The question becomes why anyone would pay a premium for a product that has nothing local about it.
I would like to note that there are some wineries that do produce wine made from their own or very locally sourced grapes. The key is to look for specific grape varieties that do grow well around here. This list includes a lot of grapes that you may never have heard of, but represent hybrid grapes that can survive our relatively cold winters. The most recognizable is Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. If you see one of these, there is a chance that it was grown locally. The remaining ones, such as St. Croix and Marquette are a little more suited to our climate, but don't have the taste profile that most people like.
As a winery owner, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding the provenance of your grapes. It may be true that most people don't care where the wine comes from, but I would suggest being prepared for those questions. Here is a list of wineries that do produce some local grapes:
Turtle Creek Wines
Lincoln Peak Vineyard and Winery