Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Converting Skepics

Virginia wine is in an interesting place as 2012 gets underway. The quality continues to improve as more and more people realize that Virginia's wine industry isn't just a fad. Despite great advances in quality - I'm not the first person to admit that Virginia makes some damn good wine nowadays -  the broader wine-drinking population still scoffs at Virginia wine as being of poor quality, too sweet, or "a headache in a bottle." Several people have used that last phrase on me. 

While I wish Virginia wine had a better reputation, that Virginia wines were not segregated to the "local" section of most wine shops, and that consumers viewed Virginia wines as a viable and highly enjoyable option, changing mass opinion is a huge undertaking. Changing an individual's mind is far easier than changing a collective mind. All it takes is a corkscrew and a bottle that you like.

When someone scoffs at Virginia wine, I try to convince them that they are misguided and missing out. I will mention the advances in quality, the Old World characteristcs some of the wines now have have and the praise that the world's wine critics now bestow on wine from the Commonwealth. 

When I can, I much prefer to show rather than tell people that there is some great wine being made in Virginia. I had the opportunity to do just that not too long ago. Someone was planning to host a party with local food and wine, but backtracked on the wine. "Virginia wine, to me, just sounds terrible," she said. After the party, I brought over a bottle of 2007 Chateau O'Brien Buddy's Bistro Red. It's deep, dark color, smooth tannins, ample dark fruit and spice characteristics made it a huge hit with everyone.

Buddy is the dog on the label. His wine is quite good
In fact, everybody who tried it wanted to know where they could buy it, how far away the winery was and what other Virginia wines I would recommend. I gave them a few selections to try that were also $20 or under and urged them to visit the wineries, try the wine, meet the people involved in making the wine, and then let others know about their positive experiences. 

Make it a New Year's Resolution to try different wines from Virginia and tell others about the ones you like. 


1 comment:

  1. I guess if I was picking a wine to introduce non-Vawine fans to va wines Chateau O'Brien would be on my short list too as long as I was sure they were red wine fan.

    VA has had a few good years where weather produced some really good fruit. I'll be interested to see how the 2011 season will stack up with the nightmare that was the harvest season.

    Hopefully the winemakers can be creative enough with it so 2011 won't be a set back. I think the real thing holding VA back is the quantity issue with most wine produced selling out of the winery and being drank within 12 months there isn't much being distributed to develop a large reputation in other parts of the world.