East Coast Wine News, March 1

The award-winning Merlot from Sharrott Winery, in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA of New Jersey.

A round up of the news from February 23 - March 1, 2021 on the East Coast wine industry because the news is out there, and it needs to be highlighted.

  • The editors of Wine Enthusiast highlight the states where Merlot is a star grape, and they've included a couple of East Coast states. Both New York and Virginia are on the list, and they recommend some bottles from both mid-Atlantic states.

  • Speaking of Merlot, Erin Kirschenmann writes for Wine Business that Sharrott Winery's 2018 Merlot is part of what makes the New Jersey winery one of the Hot Brands 2020. She interviews Larry Sharrott about why New Jersey is right for wine and why it's right for Merlot. (Sharrott's 2018 Merlot won the 2020 New Jersey Governor's Cup.)

  • Cider is having a natural wine moment, according to Carmela Caldart for Punch. In New York, North Carolina, and throughout the country, cidermakers are producing ciders as fine as wine with apples only, co-fermenting apples with grapes or other fruits such as cherries.

  • NPR's reporting project State Impact takes a look at how climate change is threatening Pennsylvania farmers, including winegrowers. Rachel McDevitt interviewed Carl Helrich of Allegro Winery in York County about how he's noticing more freak weather than he did earlier in his 20-year winemaking career. It makes deciding what to plant more difficult because wine grapes are often chosen based on what will make great wine 10-20 years from now. But, with freak weather becoming more common, what's planted today may not be right 20 years from now because of climate change.

  • In Massachusetts, winemakers are also working to combat climate change. Western Mass News interviewed Noel Powell, winemaker at Aaronap Cellars in Westford, who says Massachusetts has it "difficult from a wine making perspective, due to short growing seasons and cold snowy winters," and climate change messes with their growing season just as it does in wine regions throughout the world.

  • New York's Finger Lakes region is known for its vinifera - particularly Riesling - but some wineries are turning to particularly cold hardy grapes developed by the University of Minnesota such as Marquette and Frontenac that can withstand freezing temperatures between minus 30 to minus 40, reports Chris Scholomiti for Auburn Pub.

  • Augusta Free Press reports that Carrington King of King Family Vineyards was named Virginia Vineyards Association Grower of the Year.

  • The Virginia Vineyards Association has also elected a new president, Skip Causey, according to Augusta Free Press. Causey is the owner of the Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery in Stafford.

  • The Cork Report, a website dedicated to East Coast and other American wine regions, has a new free subscription newsletter. Lenn Thompson, founder of the website, sends a wine review each weekday, highlighting bottles and giving readers an education on wines you won't find in many other publications.

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