Ship the Bottle
More vineyards may be delivering across state lines
A recent Supreme Court decision has wine lovers who hanker for out-of-state wines raising a glass in celebration. The court struck down New York and Michigan laws that allowed in-state wineries to ship wine to residents but effectively barred out-of-state wineries from doing so. The ruling, which mandates a level playing field, could affect shipments to and from at least 19 other states, including West Coast wine meccas California, Oregon, and Washington.
While it's too soon to know how states will respond, experts are hopeful the ruling will uncork shipping nationwide. We asked wine critics on both coasts--Matt Kramer, contributing editor for Wine Spectator magazine and Oregonian wine critic, and New York-based Joe Czerwinski, tasting director for Wine Enthusiast --to suggest small vineyards that out-of-state oenophiles might consider once the dust settles:
Windward Vineyard ( windwardvineyard.com), named for cool Pacific breezes that blow through the Santa Lucia Mountains, grows and produces just one wine, a Burgundian-style pinot noir with hints of strawberry and cherry. The 15-acre vineyard is in Paso Robles, Calif.
Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California, Clos Saron ( www.clossaron.com) is a microwinery that produces only 400 to 500 cases of wine a year, including syrah and pinot noir. Owners Gideon and Saron Beinstock do all the work themselves; the mineral-rich volcanic soil gives the wines a spicy, earthy flavor.
Oregon's Willamette Valley is home to Evesham Wood ( eveshamwood.com ), which produces 3,600 cases a year of chardonnay and pinot noir. Kramer calls the vineyard "a superb pinot noir producer, an exceptional value."
Standing Stone Vineyards (standingstonewines.com) , on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in upstate New York, produces one of the New World's finest Gewurztraminers (a sweet yet spicy white wine), says Czerwinski. "The grape doesn't do well outside Alsace in France, but they've nailed it."
Shinn Estate Vineyards (shinnestatevineyards.com) started producing a merlot--the red wine that Long Island does best--just a few years ago. Vineyard owners Barbara Shinn and David Page, who serve their wines at their well-regarded Manhattan restaurant, Home, "get calls every other week" from buyers who must be turned away--and are pretty upset about it. They're hopeful the court ruling will soon let them say "Yes."
This story appears in the June 6, 2005 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.