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Restaurants Should Stock Local Wines

Located on Rt. 13 in Salisbury Maryland, Chesapaeake Steakhouse offers a wonderful menu with a fine selection. Noting a small sign that with a list of a few wines, Kathy asked the waiter if they had any local wines. His response was that they have a Beringer. That winery is about 3000 miles away, not quite what I’d consider local from Maryland. European vineyards are just 3600 miles from Maryland. On the other hand, the closest Maryland winery is less than 15 miles away.


There seems to be some confusion about the difference between drink local and drink domestic. It appears that many restaurant employees do not know the difference. Some restaurateurs are not even aware of local wineries and the wines they produce. It appears to be easier to just accept a wine list that someone else has developed and then use only that list with customers. This procedure may have been acceptable a few years ago, but today’s wine drinkers are more intelligent about wine than previous generations.


The eat local and drink local movements are becoming more popular and should not be ignored. Drink local wines means using wines from wineries that are within close proximity as opposed to wineries that are 3000 or more miles away. Not only does this close proximity give wine drinkers a “taste the place” experience but it also affects the environment. What is the carbon footprint for transporting wine from the west coast to the east coast compared to the carbon footprint of transporting wine from an instate winery? One can make the argument that transporting a case of wine fifteen miles has a higher carbon footprint than transporting thousands of cases thousands of miles.


Restaurants often make the claim that the customers are unaware of local wines, so they only stock wines from well known regions. It would be refreshing if a waiter could say, “We carry some local wines, you might be interested in discovering what a Cabernet Franc from Maryland vineyards tastes like.” As the number of people who want to taste local foods and wines increase, restaurants should explore the local wines.

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