East Coast Wine Party
Working in the wine industry in Florida and then in California, I received an interesting perspective as to what is defined as “Wine Country.” I heard that there is wine made in almost all of the United States. This is not to say that every state can grow grapes but many states purchase juice from one of the grape growing regions and make their own wine.
This gave me the idea of throwing an “East Coast” Wine Party. I figured it would be a fun chance to try some of these “lesser known” grape growing regions and share them with some other people familiar with the California wine industry. While I was in Florida, I had heard quite a bit about the Finger Lakes grape region including New York, Pennsylvania and Canada, so they were definitely on the list to try. Another place that had come up more now, and a little then was the Virginia area.
When choosing the wines to be included at this party, I asked around a little bit to see what grapes to focus on and get some ideas of specific wineries. My mother-in-law used to work at a winery in the Finger Lakes region so I tried there first. What I found out is that California has restrictions as far as shipping wine in. Who knew? That winery didn’t have a permit to send wine to CA therefore I couldn’t get it from there. I ended up looking on a couple wine sales websites ((www.winemadeeasy.com) and (www.marketviewliquor.com)) to find a Niagara wine and an Ice wine made from Concord grapes.
I had another challenge when ordering the Virginia wine. There were a couple different wineries that had been recommended to me so I hoped to buy a bottle from each to compare them. When I tried to do this, I found out that some places have order minimums, so I was again restricted to what I could buy. I was anxious to try a Viognier and Cabernet Franc from Virginia since it seems they were taking hold in the Virginia climate. I also heard about another grape from Virginia (Chambourcin) that came recommended as an easy to drink red wine.
Having the desire to share some of the wines from my old stomping grounds in Florida, I was sure to include a couple of my favorites from there too. Luckily I was just there in October so I had some bottles ready to go. I included a variety of what the winery had to offer. A white hybrid grape, specially developed to grow in the hot wet climate of Florida, a red grape developed by another college in Florida also keeping in mind the growing conditions and a white grape that is native to the Southern US.
One thing that I did consider since I was ordering this wine online was the time it would take to receive the wine and if I really had to consider “Bottle Shock?” I ordered the wine 3-4 weeks before the event with hope that the wine would have enough recovery time.
See the list of wines below that we were able to get our hands on (the grapes are listed in ( ) and the grape growing region is listed in italics at the end of each line):
Rosa Fiorelli Blanc du Bois (Blanc du Bois) Florida
Pippin Hill Viognier (Viognier) Virginia
Rosa Fiorelli Aurora (white muscadine) Florida
Rose and Reds
Rosa Fiorelli Rosato (FAMU 99) Florida
Chateau Morrisette Chambourcin (Chambourcin) Virginia
Pippin Hill Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc) Virginia
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards White Cat (Niagara) New York
Lakewood Vineyards Borealis Ice Wine (Concord) New York
We invited everyone that we could think of who might enjoy our little social experiment. In our next entry, we’ll share everyone’s reviews of the wines!
*Thanks to www.findyourcraving.com for the awesome American Grape Growing Region map (AVA)!