Last Sunday, The New York Times regaled readers of its Business section with the story of Barboursville Vineyards, based not in Napa Valley or the Finger Lakes region of New York, but a state not really known for its wines: Virginia. That article came on the heels of a profile of the wine-making operations of New Jersey, which isn’t generally known for its vintages.
But, in fact, every state in the United States has at least one vineyard, even if some of these are fledgling operations. Here are some of the most strangely-located vineyards in the U.S. We can’t vouch for the wine; you will have to taste it yourself.
Table Mountain Vineyards (Huntley, Wyoming)
You might not think that the plains of Wyoming are fecund wine country, but Table Mountain, which started in 2004, has 10,000 vines spanning 10 acres. According to the winery’s site, “The winery produces hand crafted wines from 100% Wyoming grapes, raspberries, honey and agricultural products.” Among its wines – all supposedly full of “Wyoming character” – are a Stampede White and a Cowgirl Blush, in keeping with the spirit of the Wild West.
Pontchartrain Vineyards (Covington, Louisiana)
Louisiana’s settlers were French, so it’s perhaps not all that surprising that there’s some viticulture in the state, its punishing humidity notwithstanding. Started two decades ago, Pontchartrain Vineyards is located about 50 miles north of New Orleans. Of particular interest is the so-called “Louisiana Rosé,” which is apparently “very pleasant as an apéritif in late afternoon/early evening gatherings of people on patios or decks close to the Gulf of Mexico.” There’s also an intriguing desert wine, a 2006 old vine Zinfandel, which might go quite well with some Big Easy beignets.
Due North Vineyard (Franklin, Vermont)
Vermont has wonderful beer, famous maple syrup and all-around excellent produce, so it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s growing wine, too. Don’t count it as a strike against Due North that the vineyard is practically in Canada. The vineyard does have a sense of humor about its location: one of its wines is called Border Jumper, “a crisp white wine with lively aromatics and a stiff backbone.” Especially promising is the Amber Glow, a fruit wine made with apple and pear.
The Little Kentucky River Winery (Bedford, Kentucky)
Kentucky is rightly renowned for its bourbon, but that doesn’t mean it can’t mash some grapes, too. The Little Kentucky River Winery, near Louisville, is located on the banks of the Little Kentucky – and proudly so. Among its wines is Kentucky Rain, “named after the fact that Kentucky has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska. The numerous rivers and water impoundments provide 1,100 commercially navigable miles.” There’s also a dry red called 1812, “a tribute to the spirit and sacrifice of the Early Kentucky Militia during the War of 1812.” Tasting here might well turn into a history lesson. The vineyard also produces plum and raspberry wines, which, as you can imagine, are going to be on the sweet side.
Fall Creek Vineyards (Tow, Texas)
Texas has 341 vineyards, according to the Times, generating some $1.8 billion in revenue. This in a state known for swill like Lone Star Beer. Fall Creek is the oldest vineyard in Hill Country, which is famous for its barbecue – but, in keeping with the times, has a wine trail of its own. Founded in 1975, Fall Creek makes tempranillo and chenin blanc varietals that have garnered strong reviews.