To understand the State Of The Grape one must first realize where it all began. Over the course of the last four decades wine has been reinvented many times. This is due in great part to the insatiable palate of the consumer and the overwhelming drive and passion of winemakers to produce better wines. If you are a wine drinker you understand that your palate evolves as you become a passenger of your own wine journey. As for winemakers they are like great artists who are never satisfied, always longing for more.
In the late sixties and very early seventies wine was identified by wine drinkers as red and white. There was not the plethora of choices that we see on the shelves today. It was not until the mid-seventies and America’s Bi-Centennial in 1976 that wine had its coming out party in the United States.
The movie Bottle Shock, whose title referenced the state of wine in a bottle effecting coloration and clarity of wine, depicted a real competition of the best French versus California wines. At that time California was one of the only states in the U.S. producing varietal wines deemed worthy of being in this prestigious competition.
The best wine judges in all of France were assembled to conduct this blind wine tasting. The esteemed panel of judges had no idea where the wine was from or what type of wine it was. The results of this competition were historic and perhaps the most profound in the world history of wine. California wines were chosen as best of in both the red and white wine categories. The country of France was stunned as these wines were chosen in a blind tasting by the best judges in their country. The news made the cover of Time magazine and America’s wine industry had its coming out party and has never looked back.
So what is today’s State Of Grape? The historic wine competition of 1976 was the point where the American consumer realized that wine was not just red or white but rather a red cabernet sauvignon or white chardonnay wine. This was a turning point for growing and winemaking in the United States. As winemakers strived to make better wines, they looked to the Old World in their approach to crafting wines.
New World winemakers learned from their counterparts that technique, where grapes were grown, how grapes were planted in a vineyard, pruning techniques, and weather influenced the type and style of wine produced.
Over the decades looking back the consumer viewpoint has changed from red and white wine, to wines of type or varietal, and today’s more informed wine drinker now seeks out wine that is not just red or white but is produced from their favorite grape and is from an area or region of the world producing a varietal wine that is also made in a style that is to their particular liking.
Today’s winemaker understands the science behind producing wine and what the informed consumer demands in a wine. As an evolved wine lover and wine consumer advocate these are a few things I consider when recommending wines of value for you. Where the grape is grown, how has the vineyard been planted and managed, is the varietal best suited to be grown in this area or region, what has the winemaker produced, does the wine demonstrate characteristics of sense of place, and does the varietal have a sense of self within this particular wine. This is the State Of Grape, from my table to yours. For a review of recommended wines please visit www.WineGuyMike.com and click on Corridor.
Liquid Planet is located in the heart of Downtown Missoula, for your ultimate wine shopping experience. They feature a large selection of fine wine, accessories, and Riedel stemware. Liquid Planet is Missoula’s “Best of Beverage”.