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If Local Food, why not Local Wine?

The third session of the Drink Local Wine Conference delved into the idea of the “eat local movement” and asked why not add local wine. Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post moderated the session of panelists that included Todd Kliman of Washingtonian magazine, Andrew Stover of the Chef Wino blog and Mary Watson-DeLauder from Lansdowne Resort.

Restaurants and stores do a good job of having local foods, however they lag behind in having local wines. Todd discussed the state of local wine in D.C. area restaurants. He stated that it is pitiful. Only a handfull of restaurants have a single or perhaps two wines on their list from local wineries. The restaurants are slow to pick up on the developments occuring at Virginia and Maryland wineries. Todd went on to say that restaurants are using the term “local” for foods. But the term “local” does not extend to wines. Andrew stated that the millennials do not care about wine scores and are more acceptive of local wines.

So how do wineries encourage restaurants and stores to offer local wines? According to Todd, the restaurants that will be accepting of local wines are the more casual restaurants that are interested in teaching customers about local products. These restaurants are not the typical white tablecloth restaurants. Andrew also put emphasis on the casual restaurants as a starting point for local wines. Mary suggested that wineries learn about a restaurant’s menu. Wineries should do their homework and approach restaurants with suggestions of what foods on their menu would match their winery’s wines. Go after those restaurants that are more likely to be receptive to local wines. An idea from the audience is to have restaurant chefs come to the wineries to taste their wines and learn about their stories.

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