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7 things you need to know about regional wine

Dlwbutton This is DrinkLocalWine's fourth annual regional wine week, which means all sorts of goodies and festivities at DrinkLocalWine.com, including the 47-word essay contest and voluminous links to regional wine stories, photos and interviews. The blog will be all regional wine this week; but don't worry, it won't hurt.

That's because, to paraphrase my partner in the locapour movement, Dave McIntyre, local wine is no longer a novelty. There are thousands of regional wineries, they're in each of the 47 states that aren't California, Washington, and Oregon, and the quality of the wine has improved dramatically in the past decade. But that doesn't mean that regional is as respected as it could be, or that nearly enough people know about it. So, after the jump, seven things you need to know about regional wine:

Regional Wine Week 2011

There are two things to note about DrinkLocalWine's 2011 Regional Wine Week, which runs Oct. 9-15. First, it's the most ambitious effort in the event's four-year history, and it's not like we didn't try to make it a big deal in the past.

The second? Prizes. Lots and lots of prizes. More, after the jump:

Local food and local wine

One of the handicaps that regional wine has faced over the past several years is that it has not been embraced by the regional food movement. Locavore has become a key term in the foodie and chef vocabulary, but locapour (with several notable exceptions) has been missing from the discussion. And, when local wine advocates like Todd Kliman point out this discrepancy, they take a lot of abuse.

Which is why I was so glad to hear Kent Rathbun — yes, that Kent Rathbun — plug local wine during our chat at the State Fair of Texas yesterday. Local wine, he said, is a part of the local food movement, just like local tomatoes and local cheese. It's not local wine and local food; it's local, and it's all part of the same process.

His advice? Consumers need to try local wine with the same enthusiasm that they try other local products. The quality is good, he said, and getting better. And you know what you're missing until you try it.

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