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It was over three years ago when I discovered the Slow Wine initiative and organization while attending an Italian wine tasting event in Houston. Slow Wine became a natural progression out of the Slow Food movement in Italy. The organization has a simple mission to promote and support food and wine producers that believe their goods must be good, clear, and fair.
The Slow Wine Guide has been published for several years with expansive coverage of Italian wineries and growing content about wineries in the United States. In Slow Wine Guide USA 2021: A year in the life of the vineyards and wines of the USA, over 280 wineries and 850 wines from the USA are featured in their own guide, a first for Slow Wine.
The Slow Wine Guide USA focuses on wineries that produce high-quality wines, show adherence to terroir, exhibit value for money, and show environmental sensitivity in their practices. The Slow Wine team meets personally with all of their featured producers to learn about their story, their wines, and to build a relationship with them. While reading the guide, I came across several wineries that I’ve visited in my wine travels over the years. I found it interesting that I learned things about these wineries from the guide that I didn’t learn during my visits, showing the depth of the guide’s material. The guide has an extensive listing of California wineries, a notable number of Oregon and New York wineries, and a newly forming Washington section of three wineries. Since Washington State was introduced with three featured wineries, hopefully, we will see a Texas section before too long.
Each listing begins with an introduction to the founders and owners of the wineries, then presents an overview of their portfolio of wines along with info about a few noteworthy wines. The guide does go technical, listing the acres of vines the winery owns and manages, annual bottle sales, what is used for fertilizer, plant protection, weed control, yeast, and percentage of grapes purchased. While organic or other certifications are not required, information about certifications is provided. One stringent requirement is that wineries and vineyards do not use synthetic chemical herbicides. Most wineries listed use mechanical methods for weed control. While there are some bottles listed that I consider to be high dollar, most bottle prices would fit right in line with what we see at Texas winery tasting rooms. There are even quite a few bargains listed when considering the craft that goes into these wines.
I did find the Slow Wine Guide USA to be a slower read, not because of a lack of interesting material but quite the opposite. I found myself stopping on a regular basis to pull up wineries’ websites so I could learn more about them and scope out their offerings. The guide is organized alphabetically by state. I do think it would be helpful to add region info to the listings so readers that don’t know the ins and outs of the featured states can more easily garner where the wineries are located. There is a handy Index of Places in the back of the book that has the listings organized by city/town. This makes the book easier to use as a travel guide which I look forward to doing in the future.
Authors: Deborah Parker Wong and Giancarlo Gariglio
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2021
174 pages, paperback
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