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“Local Food, Local Wine, and Why They Don’t Like Each Other”

2nd panel discussion at 2012 Drink Local Wine Conference in Denver, Colorado.

“Local Food, Local Wine, and Why They Don’t Like Each Other”

Moderator: Dave McIntyre, co-founder of Drink Local Wine, columnist for Washington Post
Panelists:René Chazottes, Director of Wine & Master Sommelier, The Pacific Club
Evan Faber, Beverage Director, SALT
Jensen Cummings, Executive Chef, Row 14 Bistro and Wine Bar

This passionate 50-minute presentation dwelt on what consumers are looking for in terms of local food and local wine.The presentation noted that consumers want to purchase fresh local foods but then they are handed a California wine list.

People have a new sense of exploration. People are looking to try the flavors in the community that they live in, looking for a sense of something unique. When they find it they feel a connection with their community.

Jensen noted that people are becoming adventurous and want to try wine from their state. What is it about Colorado wines that speak of community? “Slowly but surely” people are coming to Colorado wine. Bumper stickers say “native” draw people in to supporting the local concept.

René commented that people want to experience something new. Don’t confuse people with four different Viogniers. When people are confused they go back to Chateau Budweiser or something familiar.

Dave McIntyre made a reference to VA wine noting that people will sometimes say that Virginia winemakers make a few good wines but they are too expensive. Therefore wineries have to get the wine into people’s mouths for them to discover local wines.

Evan commented, people need to find the nuances of wine, not whether it’s good or bad. Using words that people know makes wine more interesting for people.

Jensen noted that a lot of people drinking Colorado wines are from out of state. People come to experience Colorado and want to drink local wines. People who live here want out of state wines. Restaurants have only an hour and a half to two hours to make an impression upon diners.

When local becomes better accepted we will be able to explore new flavors and tastes and eventually be able to grow unusual grape varieties that grow well in the local regions. Wine should be approachable and easy.

Suggestion: Remind consumers that wine has a history in the United States prior to Prohibition.

Cheers! Kathy

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