2 New Wine Regions To Check Out
Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of wine regions sprouting up in both the United States and overseas. While these wine regions aren’t likely to ever produce wines on par with Napa Valley or Bordeaux, they are certainly capable of producing good wines that offer affordable entry level price points for wine drinkers, both new as well as experienced.
Arizona is an interesting case. First, the temperature is incredibly warm, much warmer than most world class wine destinations. Secondly though, much of the wine being made in Wilcox is coming from grapes grown at extreme altitudes, think 2,000 feet or more above sea level. That high altitude helps to mitigate the high temperatures, but also means that night time temps are pretty cold, helping the grapes to regain their acidity. These are fruit forward, dense wines to be sure, but they are surprisingly balanced largely because of the cold night time temperatures. I think it is also important to note that there are a number of start up wineries in Wilcox, coming from more well known areas of California. Many new winemakers are realizing that the cost of starting a winery in Arizona is dramatically less than starting one in Napa Valley or Sonoma, so there is definitely an influx of new talent coming into the Arizona wine scene. Wilcox vintners are still trying to find the perfect grapes for both the climate, as well as consumer sentiments since Syrah grows well, but consumers are unsure about the wines. Many think that Spanish or Portugese grapes may be the right long term choice here and personally I’m excited to see the direction that Wilcox goes.
It says a lot about the diversity of California’s historic Napa Valley that one of the lesser known AVA’s within Napa is just coming onto the national radar now. Coombsville is pretty far removed from the classic Napa area of Rutherford but it is still Napa and the same world class winemakers that work with fruit from better known areas are now spending time searching for cool climate vineyards in Coombsville and bringing that fruit into their state of the art production facilities elsewhere in Napa Valley. There are two main reasons for the rise of Coombsville. First, cool climate growing regions are all the rage. The Sonoma coast is one great example and if someone in Napa wants a cool climate vineyard, Coombsville is the place to look. Secondly, prices in Napa are passing the ridiculous stage for well known AVA’s including everything from Rutherford to Stag’s Leap. Coombsville offers a more affordable alternative, if you’re a start up then buying fruit from Coombsville seems attainable when compared with other sections of Napa.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into two regions which are set to enjoy greater influence within the wine establishment. No matter if you are a brand new growing region like Wilcox, or a smaller and lesser known area within a world class growing region like Coombsville, the wine industry seems to be in a period of continuous growth.
Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, a wine club and gift basket business based just outside of San Francisco. Part of his day job means he gets to continually taste new wines and meet people within the wine industry.