Every state in the union produces wine and the quality is increasing rapidly. I recently was a judge at the Riverside International Wine Competition which judges wines from all over the world. Go to www.riversidewinecompetition.com. The trophy for “Best winery of the year” went to a New York Winery called Swedish Hill. Washington state’s St Michelle received “Best dry Riesling” while Michigan state’s St. Julian took the medal for “Best sweet Riesling”. When I travel the US selling wine I always like to try the local wines. I’ve always said I like to make wines and drink wines that talk to you. In the case of our Jana Mendocino Riesling, which also won Gold at the competition, the wine needs to say I’m Riesling, I’m Mendocino and I’m from the 2009 vintage. Wines from colder growing regions tend to have the ability to talk to you because they tend to not have the opportunity to get overripe.
Last month I did a winemaker dinner at the Wooster Inn in Wooster Ohio. Wooster is the agricultural extension to Ohio State University out of Columbus. I was seated next to Todd Steiner who is the head Enologist (Winemaker) for Ohio State. Needless to say we hit it off. After dinner he conducted a private tasting of new and unknown varieties the university is testing in Ohio’s grape growing regions. There was a large group of wine.woot attendies and he conducted the tasting for all of us. The wines were fabulous. They were all made in small batches at the university. Smelling and tasting the wines made me homesick for the wines of the Rheinland Pfalz, Germany. Which is where I cut my teeth on wine and went to Enology school. Look for some great wines to not only come out of New York and Michigan but also out of Ohio. The picture above is of some of the wines we tasted.