The United States of Wine

While we tend to focus on the familiar, Dezel Quillen make a point of taking us on a journey through some of the lesser known, but exciting, emerging regions for wine in the good old US of A!


I began my wine journey mining for hidden gems in little known regions along the east coast of the United States. A common response to many of the wines I shared and wrote about back then went something like this; “What, they make wine there?” In fact, wine is produced in all 50 states, but many people can count on one hand the wines they have tried from different states. To their credit, trying wines from some of our nation’s emerging wine regions, that may or may not be made from unknown grape varieties, might take a bit of effort and a lot of curiosity. After all, many of these producers’ production totals are so limited that finding their wines in your local shops is near impossible. And let’s face it, most consumers generally drink familiar brands that are available to them in their respective marketplace. Availability, name recognition, and consumer perception issues are all potential challenges for these wines. The phrase “variety is the spice of life” is particularly true when it comes to wine. Adventurism, exploration, and discovery, all things I embrace, are the key to stumbling upon hidden gems. More times than not, all doubt is removed if the quality shines through in lesser known wines originally perceived in a negative light. Trying the wine is the hurdle – high quality, personality-driven wines can be grown in areas of the US that one wouldn’t imagine. All that said, I’ve been out mining again, and encourage you to become familiar with these five hidden gems if you are not already. Check out their sites, read their stories, and try their wines. I will be sure to return after my next expedition and share some more!

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  • No question of the quality of 'other states' wines. I've tasted and bought many wines from Maryland, Va, Pa and my home state NJ. But there is always the 'value' that needs to be addressed. Too often I can find an outstanding local selection for $ 20 but it's no better than $ 14 from California (or Ore, or France etc etc). Or $ 35 compared to $ 24 likewise, and so on. Many volume producers turn superb quality in their mainstays which is too hard to ignore simply to buy locally. This is unlike local breweries that have significant taste plusses relative to the big beer makers.

    Oct 11, 2014 at 10:42 AM

  • While vacationing on Beaver Island, I hesitantly bought a bottle of St Julian's Red Table Wine ($9.99 at the only grocery store on the island, McDonough's) and was pleasantly surprised. Although a lightweight wine (rated lower on Michigan's recommended winery list), it lasted awhile longer than a more expensive (and heavier) wine would have under the circumstances. I was vacationing by myself so the bottle, just recapped, lasted a week without any evidence of souring. I didn't have an air extractor with me. From now on while vacationing, I will be trying locally produced wines rather than buying the old tried and true. It should be part of the adventure.

    Oct 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM

  • Snooth User: Jamie Bothen
    1138350 121

    I used to live in Virginia. Now I live in Cincinnati ( the Kentucky side which does not allow getting wine shipped to you from other states) so I make a yearly trip to Virginia just to get wine. They are making Petit Verdots and Norton's of a quality that cannot be found elsewhere. They also make stellar Petit Manseng, Viognier and Meritages.

    Oct 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

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