The NEW World

The wine world has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In the late 1960s, most people would consider France and Germany to be the best wine producers in the world. At home on the bottom shelf and labeled as Burgundy or Chablis, California wine was seen only as inexpensive alcoholic grape juice, not at all in the same category as European wine.

Many of the "new world" wines that we consider to be classic today only sprung up a few decades ago. Few, if any, took Napa Valley Cabernet seriously until 1976. The first high-quality Argentine Malbec was imported to America in the mid 1990s. Many of the original Oregon Pinot Noir producers are still on their first generation, and the Pinot Noir grape wasn't well-known until the early 2000s.

Even now, new regions are being discovered all of the time. Many producers are exploring new places to make wine like Northern Michigan, Texas, and Idaho. While not all of these regions will prove to be suited for great wines, it's important to remember that non-European wine is still an incredibly new concept. Even amongst internationally recognized regions, many producers are pushing the envelope with previously obscure varietals like Grüner Veltliner and Albariño.

I am so excited to see what grapes people will be growing in Sonoma 30 years from now, or what Washington wine will be known for to the next generation. Only time will tell.