Tasting Vermont WineJanuary 11, 2019
On January 11th, the Vermont Grape and Wine Council held their annual meeting to check in on how the growing season went for everyone, what their priorities were for 2019 work, marketing ideas, and legislative initiatives. The Vermont Fresh Network has been working with the Grape and Wine Council for several years now to increase the sale of local wines in local restaurants. Good news - according to reports by both distributors and winemakers, those sales are increasing.
In 2019, we'll continue our work with a focus on training winemakers, restaurant servers, and beverage managers in effective ways to present Vermont wine to customers. It's trickier than you might think. Vermont grows unfamiliar grape varieties, so when a diner in a restaurant says they'd like a Merlot or Chardonnay, they're asking for something that isn't grown in Vermont. They know what a Merlot is going to taste like, but not necessarily what a Marquette tastes like. Will they like a Marquette? Will they trust the recommendation enough to buy a glass of it?
There are ways around this conundrum.
One option is to bring winemakers to restaurants to provide samples and talk about their wines, something we experimented with in the 2018 Vermont Wine Week and will be bringing back in 2019.
Another is to understand the primary Vermont grown grapes and how their flavors might compare to more commonly known varieties. To that end, we've published a guide to common Vermont wine grapes in rack card format: FINAL-Wine-rack-card-2.pdf
We can also think more carefully about the ways we talk about Vermont wine and its flavor. We'll explore that more in-person at workshops in 2019, as a prelude we published this report based on interviews conducted in 2017 and 2018: FINAL-Tasting-Vermont-Wine-Report.pdf
Cheers to more great Vermont wine in 2019!