Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sip Locally, Imbibe Globally

Partner's Village in Westport is a cozy cooperative of  artisans, small retailers, and of course a coffee shop.
It is a great place to buy local.
We were probably on our way to or from our favorite vineyard when we stopped by Partner's Village a few months ago, and found a page-a-day wine calendar in its bookstore. Back before the diversions of the internet, we would often have several calendars of this kind, but have not used them so much in recent years. We could not resist a year of learning more about wine, though, especially since we could buy the calendar from a local merchant. Little did we realize that "local" would itself be a major theme of the calendar's individual pages. Within the first few weeks, we peeled off several cogent geography lessons, most of them about the delights of local wine.
January 17/18: The story of our summer weekends on the Coastal Wine Trail.
January 15 has this inviting photograph and the following advice: "Attending a housewarming party? Choose a local wine or, if gifting the bottle to a friend far away, seek out a winery in his or her area and attach a map with directions to visit the winery."
This can work even in places too cold for "real" grape-based wines. We have enjoyed visits to wineries specializing in other local fruits in Vermont and Wisconsin, so a little research can probably yield a bit of bottle terroir just about anywhere. Of course, some people do not drink wine, but the same idea can be applied to the providers of other local foods.
January 20: "In excess of 10,000 different kinds of grapes exist, though the wine-drinking public focuses on only a handful, approximately 230 prominent grapes."
In this way, wine is similar to other foods. Of the thousands of plants known to be edible, humans get the rely on just a few -- rice, corn, and wheat account for 60 percent of world caloric intake. More alarming is that within any given crop, we tend to narrow the gene pool through increasing reliance on just one variety of each.

And now for the global...

January 19: The terms New World and Old World are used throughout the wine industry. Old World refers to regions from Mesopotamia to the Atlantic, including North Africa and Europe. New World includes South Africa, Australia, and North and South America, where wine has been grown only for the past 200 to 300 years.

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