East Coast Wines To Keep Your Eye On
Each year, the East Coast produces an average of 51,761,850 gallons of wine–– almost enough for my mom’s book club!
The East Coast wine scene can be largely attributed to Virginia and the states north of Virginia. A lot of people think about wine production in the United States and immediately they think about California, Oregon and Washington. It is a common argument that the East Coast has too much humidity to produce quality wines.
However, the east coast is home to over 40 American Viticulture Areas, or AVAs. AVAS were established to create a geographic system to classify different variations of grapes. Each AVA is characterized by different climate factors that affect growth patterns and the taste of grapes grown in the region.
Now for a more in-depth look at notable East Coast wineries.
Barboursville Vineyard was constructed in 1814 and has been up and running ever since. The winery was founded by James Barbour, a former governor for the state of Virginia. The 900-acre winery can be found nestled in the foothills of Southwest Mountains in the Virginia Piedmont.
The soil contains various types of clay that work cohesively with the weather conditions to determine which grapes will be most successful in a given year. The most popular wine by Barboursville is Octagon.
Octagon is red blend comprised of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, both popular black grape varieties in the United States. The wine is described to have elements of fresh fruit, specifically cherry.
Dr. Franks Winery was founded by Dr. Frank himself in 1962 in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Dr. Frank had immigrated from Europe 10 years prior to the ribbon-cutting of his winery. The winery was known for its production of vinifera grapes, a common European grape and a staple of many Old World wines.
One of the most popular wines at Dr. Frank’s winery is the 2016 Blaufränkisch. Blaufränkisch is an Austrian wine variety typically known to have a spicy finish. Dr. Franks 2016 Blaufränkisch grapes were grown in the Banana Belt, the hottest area of the Finger Lakes region. The medium-bodied wine is described to have chords of blackberry, chicory and toasted rye.
Black Ankle Vineyards opened its tasting room doors October of 2008 in Mount Airy, Maryland. The winery is named to honor their predecessors in the world of wine who crushed grapes by foot.
Black Ankle is best known for its wine, Crumbling Rock, a red blend comprised of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The acidic nature of the wine is attributed to the long-aging process required to produce Crumbling Rock. The wine is described as lively and fresh, supported by its notes of zest and cherry.
Diamond Hill Vineyards, staple for East Coast wine production, was founded in 1976 in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The winery is about 30 acres, so pretty much half the size of Rhode Island!
Best known for their Pinot Noir, a dry red wine trademarked for its undertones of cherry and leather. The spends one year aging in French Oak and is best enjoyed after decanting. The winery follows strict protocol to ensure all wines are certified organic.
Winterport Winery is a small winery in Maine that started in the basement of a family home with a DIY wine kit. Winterport Winery is best known for its wide array of fruit wines. For everyone out there who just said “aren’t all wines fruit wines?” Cut me some slack. I just work here.
Winterport Winery has won over five awards for its Blueberry wine. A good rule of thumb when considering blueberry wines is that a blueberry-based wine tastes as much like actual blueberries as a grape-based wine tastes like actual grapes. The Winterport Blueberry wine comes in regular and dry varieties and is suggested to be paired with steak, roasts or legumes.
East Coast wines have a stark contrast to their West Coast counterparts. That being said, the East Coast offers various soil compositions that are not found on the West Coast.
The East Coast is famous for its red blends and fruit wines. Next trip out East, consider planning a road trip through the wine country of the Northeast.
By: Laura Groshans