Italian Grapes in the United States

Posted by Michael Snodgrass on

Whether it’s due to attending the Vinitaly International Academy’s (VIA) Italian Wine Expert exam in Verona, or the numerous Italian restaurants I have worked for, Italian wine has a special place in my heart. So many different grapes, from so many different regions of Italy, are starting to pop up all over the United States (and the rest of the world). Even though the local terroir is what makes many of these wines so special, I’m excited to see what these grapes can do here, stateside.
Growing these Italian grapes, and drinking these wines, can have many positive effects. This movement benefits not only the wine consumer, but America as a whole. It provides economic growth for the American people through the creation of jobs and multiple sources of tax revenue. It keeps more money here supporting local businesses, rather than purchasing exports from abroad. These exports also have an added cost of tariffs, shipping, and storage that add to the price of your bottle(s) of wine, which would be greatly reduced. The carbon footprint is also reduced as these wines have less distance to travel form the winery to your glass. This is not only better for the environment, but once again saves you money. The United States tends to have less laws on production methods, allowing wineries more freedom. This not only leads to the ability to make new, exciting styles of wine but once again, at a cheaper price due to the cost of some mandatory production methods.
Now that we have your attention, go out and pick up a bottle with an Italian grape grown here in the United States. I’ve seen many grapes including Aglianico, Barbera, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Dolcetto, Grignolino, Arneis, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Friulano, Malvasia’s, Sagrantino, Refosco, Ribolla Galla, and even Lagrein (one of my new favorites this year since my VIA blind tasting in NYC). These grapes are finding success all over the United States; in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, New York, and many others. You can also find them around the world in places like Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. I encourage you to try as many of these as possible, but don’t forget their roots and where they came from! I find it best to taste them side by side!!

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