The locavour movement champions the use of locally grown and raised foods, often within a specific radius of the place of consumption. The reasons for this are many. One, it supports the local economy and the small farms that reside within it. It also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of trucking food around the country or shipping it around the world. A locapour is someone who drinks or serves beverages made from within a specific radius of consumption as well, whether it be within the country, state, or county lines.
In New York, there are many restaurants devoted to serving locally sourced foods, but why are there not more who serve locally produced wines? New York State produces a great amount of wine – the state is number 5 in terms of production of wine in the United States – yet the wines seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to eating and drinking locally. I’m not sure entirely why. Is it a form of snobbism or is it ignorance? California restaurants serve their state’s wines overwhelmingly over those from another state or country, so what’s up New York? Even when traveling to far-flung wine regions, bars and eateries pour the local product proudly alongside locally sourced foods.
Like most sommeliers and wine-lovers, I do love wines from around the world. I drink tried and true classics like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Chianti and Rioja, German Riesling, Austrian Blaufrankisch, and Argentine Malbec. But, I also want to support the local farmer by serving or carrying wines from my own back yard. Judging the New York Food and Wine Classic has really opened my eyes to what this state can do with a few bunches of grapes. At my first judging, I was sure that there would be wines that I wouldn’t even want to taste, let alone drink, and boy was I wrong! Delving into the diversity of wine styles opened my eyes to discover that there are so many great wines (and spirits) being made right here in New York – there really is a wine for every palate.
Everyone at Maslow 6 loves wines from all over the world, but take a closer look at our shop shelves. There are representative wines from Long Island, the Finger Lakes and even Redhook. Look further and you’ll find California, Washington State, and Oregon. And there’s not just wine, there are spirits too: Long Island Vodka, Finger Lakes Rye, and grappa from Oregon.
I’m not giving up my Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Rioja anytime soon, but I will open my eyes and palate more often to try the wines from these great 50 states, and give them the attention that they deserve. Our upcoming class, Grapes and Grains from the Heartland of the USA will highlight wines and spirits from the U.S. Join us, and discover for yourself how much fun being a locapour can be.