Articles Tagged pennsylvania wine
A quick hit today to let you know that my take on the state of Pennsylvania wine (yes, we do make wine here in the land of scrapple) is now published over at PalatePress.com. If you’re curious as to why and how an apparently paradoxical wine market can exist in which small producers struggle both to keep their very grapes alive every year and to vie for critical recognition, and yet also can practically sell out every vintage, then go on over to Palate Press and read all about it.
The publishing of that article (which was about a year in the making) comes at an interesting time, when the Pennsylvania congress is in heated battle to progress legislation that would finally repeal Prohibition largely do away with its current state-run monopoly on liquor sales and distribution and thus make PA marginally less of a laughing stock among wine lovers in the U.S.
It’s been interesting to watch who has jockeyed for which special interests during the PA privatization fall-out. The unions associated with the PA Liquor Control Board particularly have had their haunches up, since any changes would either mean that they’d be losing jobs, or having to compete in more of an open market (in which case, they will almost certainly also end up losing jobs, since, as most people shopping for wine in PA would likely tell you, there’s no way in hell they’d be able to compete against providers that actually supply good customer service and actually close locations that don’t make a profit).
This quote, recently reported after the near-all-nighter that the PA congress held in moving the current privatization bill forward, in so far as it sums up the hard-line stances being taken in the debate, is one of my faves; primarily because it flies so dramatically in the face of common sense for anyone who has spent more than six minutes shopping for wine in a control state:
“The current system works. It works very well. It adds new dollars to the state’s economy. It grows every year,” Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, said. “This was the opposite direction … wrong bill, wrong idea, wrong direction.”
Uhm… Mr. Hughes, it also totally sucks donkey bong, is blatantly anti-consumer, and doesn’t actually deliver on any of its claims of increasing safety. But that’s okay, because it makes us money, right? Talk about a “wrong idea.” Long-time 1WD readers know that I basically got too “hoarse” screaming about the PLCB here in the past, and so I will spare you the shouting today (if you’re interested in some PLCB ranting, take a look back through the archives).
There’s still a loooong way to go to get to successful liquor privatization, as the recent but I’ve finally acquiesced to accepting baby-steps-style progress, which in this case is arguably better than living in the wine sales dark ages. PA’s privatization might indeed be delayed, but momentum is a powerful thing in politics…
It’s not every day that I get to shout out to my home state for something positive in the world of wine, outside of some of the wine itself, that is – usually it’s to rail against the PLCB monopoly.
In this case, the shout out is for an event that is supporting a great cause (The Fund to Benefit Children & Youth), is hosted by a kick-ass race-car-driving Italian (and now PA-resident) legend (Mario Andretti), and like its host is going for a record-breaker – specifically, an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by breaking the record for the largest ever simultaneous wine tasting.
This event is draped in ass-kicking coolness for me for reasons beyond just having my home-state show well in the wine department.
I grew up primarily in an Italian neighborhood and my ancestry is pretty much all-Italian, so Andretti is like a living legend for me and my old neighborhood buddies. He’s also an owner of a California winery – which proves yet again that you can take the Italian out of Italy, but can’t take Italy out of the Italian, baby!
The event is being dubbed The Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast and will take place on August 14th, 2010. Mario is serving as
the event’s toastmaster and will lead the simultaneous tasting via video at all of the participating PA wineries (which includes pretty much all of them).
A contest is being held to select the toast that will be recited by Mario (I can call him Mario, all Italians are on first-name speaking terms after all) during the event – you can submit a toast (100 words or less) at pennsylvaniawine.com now through June 21.
This is a local event that I can (and probably will) raise a glass to (sorry, couldn’t resist)…
(images: pennsylvaniawine.com, mosindy.net)
Actually, let’s take those in reverse order.
Here’s the deal – I have a love/hate affair with organic wines. I love the fact that they’re organic and environmentally-friendly; I hate many of the wines because they’re not any good.
And I’m convinced that enough wine consumers have reached a similar conclusion that they actually avoid buying wines labeled as Organic, which is why many good wines that could be labeled as officially organic don’t bother to mention this on their labels (see Alder Yarrow’s take on the subject of Organic wine labeling).
It’s not all organic wines that suck, and there are many excellent, premium wines that farm organically or biodynamically. But the extreme cases have a loooooong way to go before they will appeal to the average consumer.
Take Stellar Organics for example. Amazing things they’re doing for the environment and their community. BUT… they make a line of ‘No Sulfites Added’ wines (essentially, the only sulfites in the wines are those produced naturally in the winemaking process), and the samples I tried of those wines just aren’t very good. To the mini-review tape:…
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A very quick blurb to let you know that the latest edition of Chester County Cuisine & Nightlife has hit the stands. This month’s issue (August 2009) includes a piece that I wrote in late 2008 on Penns Woods winemaker Gino Razzi.
CCC, masterminded by WCDish.com co-founder and irrepressible Philly-area foodie Mary Bingham, continues to improve with every issue and seems like it’s really starting to hit its stride. And best of all, it’s FREE.
So if you happen to find yourself in visiting, living in, or mysteriously waking up somewhere in Chester County, PA, be sure to grab yourself a copy or two, or hit the PDF after the jump for a tree-friendly version!