March 30, 2017

Midwest Wine Memo

This column contains items of interest regarding Midwest Wine.  There is no information about health care reform, budget deficits or celebrities.

Humidity and Wine Antioxidants

Academic Wino posted an article on resveratrol which is the healthy component of wine.  In the article, Canadian wine researcher Gary Strachan writes, “The level of resveratrol  in plants is (thus) related to that plant’s constitutive resistance to infection, but it can also be related to the cultural conditions. Grapes grown in humid regions with higher incidence of mildew tend to have higher resveratrol content than grapes grown in low humidity with reduced mildew risk.”

Given the summer humidity levels in the Midwest, our wines must be loaded with resveratrol and therefore very good for anti-aging.

“Local” Restaurants Need to Support Regional Wine

Restaurants with no local wine that gush about how committed they are to being “local” need to be called out.  If you’re dining at an alleged “farm to table” restaurant will no local wine, please let the manager know you want real local wine.

The objection restaurants use to justify not having local wine is that “nobody orders it.”  However, most chefs and somms have not tasted regional wine, so they don’t how to pair it with food.  In addition, most servers prefer to recommend a “safe” wine instead of one that complements a dish made with regional ingredients.

As an industry, we need to do a better job educating restaurants about Midwest wines. Getting on restaurant wine lists conveys a huge amount of credibility and it’s key to “legitimizing” Midwest wine.

Where the Midwest Fits in the Jancis Robinson World View of Wine  

resized_200x253_WAW7_US_coverJancis Robinson’s “The World Atlas of Wine,” 7th edition, has been released and it’s an impressive pictorial tour of the world’s wine regions.  For U.S. regional wine,  this year’s Atlas represents something of a breakthrough.  For the first time, a U.S. emerging wine region gets major treatment. Virginia, home of America’s first wine connoisseur,  Thomas Jefferson, commands almost as much space in the book as Napa Valley.

Reportedly, the Midwest received more coverage in the 2013 version of the World Atlas than the other six previous editions.  Never the less, our region was relegated to a few column inches in the “North America” section.

In describing the Midwest,  Robinson writes, “Missouri is the only state with long history of wine growing on any scale.”  Robinson apparently is unaware that Ohio was the largest wine producer in the U.S. before Prohibition.

Robinson has nice things to say about Michigan however.  “Michigan…almost rivals Oregon’s position as the fourth most important vine grower of all the states…” she writes.

The World Atlas of Wine incorrectly states that “French hybrids dominate vine growing in the Midwest.”  In reality, most of  the hybrid grapes being planted today in the Midwest were developed by the University of Minnesota, Cornell and private breeders like Tom Plocher and Lucian Dressel.  In addition, vinifera production in many parts of the Midwest has surpassed hybrids.

In the book’s introduction, Robinson notes that, “This world is very different than the wine world of 2007 when the last edition was published.”  To her credit, Robinson is open to exploring wine from all over the world, including the Midwest.  In the next edition, Midwest wine regions may get the same star treatment as Virginia did this year.

50 Sips A Taste of America

logoSpeaking of U.S. regional wine supporters, there’s a new wine store in Livonia Michigan that is working towards stocking wine from all 50 states. Nicole Grenon of  “50 Sips A Taste of America” has built a line up of wines from 11 different states since opening in August. Grenon spent 20 years as an Air Force avionics mechanic before opening her wine, beer and gourmet store.  “Currently we have over 50 Michigan wines on our shelves,” she said.

“At 50 Sips, we like to support the smaller Michigan wineries that are not always easy to find at wine retailers,”  Grenon said.  Among the Michigan wines she’s recommending to customers are Burgdorf’s Winery in Haslett and Rose Valley Winery in Rose City.

On Veterans Day (November 11th), 50 Sips will have a Veteran’s Day Memorial Celebration. David Keuhner from Honor Winery in Virginia will be pouring his wines along with local VFW’s as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project and Veteran’s Haven. 75% of the proceeds of the event will go to Veteran’s organizations.

For more information see:  Veteran’s Day Celebration

About Mark Ganchiff

Mark Ganchiff is the publisher of Midwest Wine Press, the leading source of news on the growing wine industry in the central United States. Mark has been a wine judge at the 2012 and 2014 INDY International Wine Competition, the 2014 Cold Climate Wine Competition, the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, the 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition and the 2013 Michigan Wine Competition. He also enjoys speaking at wine events including the Cold Climate Wine Conference, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Meeting, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Mark’s articles about regional wine have appeared in Vineyard & Winery Management, WineMaker and several regional magazines.
Mark is a Level One Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. He lives in Louisville, but also has a residence in Chicago.