Look, I’m no wine expert. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between $100-bottle of wine and Charles Shaw, a.k.a. “Two-buck Chuck.” The extent of my wine knowledge stems from three days I spent in Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California where I learned that Merlots and Cabs (Cabernet Sauvignon) are full-bodied red wines. I learned that they go well with red meats. Most importantly, I learned that when you are at a wine-tasting, if you say, “I’d like to revisit the merlot,” you’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about, and they’ll give you an extra pour (for free). If you say, “Can I have some more merlot?” they’ll be on to you and say, “No.” Feel free to use that trick, but don’t tell everyone you know. I want it to still work next time I’m in wine country.
Back to my point: I’m no wine connoisseur, but I do know one thing about wine – no country in the world has more top-rated wines than the United States. Wine Spectator recently issued a list of its top 10 wines of 2010, and five of the top 10 wines in the world were from American vineyards. In fact, the #1 wine of the year was from a vineyard in Paso Robles, California called Saxum. Judges gave this wine – a combination of several red varieties – a 98 out of 100, the best score given all year.
American vineyards didn’t just get lucky in 2010, they also had four of the 10 best wines in 2009. The #1 overall wine last year was a Cabernet Sauvignon called Columbia Crest from Columbia Valley, Washington. What is amazing about the Columbia Crest Reserve is that a bottle sells for just $27. That is a really good price for wine that just won wine of the year. Year in and year out, the U.S. has consistently produced many of the world’s best wines.
Even so, people often assume goods that are imported, like imported wine, are higher quality than U.S.-made goods simply because they are imported. I’ve seen people go into a liquor store looking for a bottle of wine to give as a gift, and purchase an imported bottle simply because it was imported and they didn’t know the difference between wines. The imported wine just seemed more expensive. If they had bought an American wine in the same price-range, they probably would have purchased a better bottle.
You can find great American wines practically anywhere wine is sold. If you like to buy wines online, here is a great website that offers only American-made wines: http://americanwinery.com/. They have some great deals, and a really great selection of fine American wines in all different price ranges.
Another fact worth considering is that tens of thousands of Americans are employed in the wine-making industry. Every time you pop the cork of an American-made bottle of wine, you are doing your part to put Americans to work.
So, next time you are surveying the wine list at your favorite restaurant and thinking about what wine to order with dinner, consider gravitating to the American wines on the menu. That is probably where you will find the highest quality wine at the most reasonable price on the menu. And if you really want to do your civic duty and stimulate American job creation, consider ordering a second bottle. It’s the least you could do for your fellow Americans.
Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.