Sport fans tend to support their home teams, to have a sense of pride in these local sport teams. In Boston, most local residents support the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots. Even if you are not a big sports fan, you still tend to have a sense of pride in your local teams. One's pride in your local teams often does not depend upon the greater success of those teams. These sports teams don't even have to win championships to have local fans with great pride in their teams. For example, Red Sox fans fervently supported their team despite the fact it took them 86 years to win another World Series.
Local teams, local pride.
This is a great concept and I wish people would have that same pride in their local wine industries. Every state in the country now makes their own wine, and those wineries need the support of their local residents. They need to be embraced like they were a local sports team.
Over the weekend, I attended the fifth annual Drink Local Wine conference in Maryland. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn about and taste a diverse variety of Maryland wines. Prior to the conference, I had never tasted a Maryland wine and at the conference, I probably got to taste easily over 100 Maryland wines. In addition, I attended several panels where a number of people involved in the Maryland wine industry discussed the past, present and future of their wine scene. The issue of local pride arose during these panels.
Like many states, Maryland wines have an image problem, including among many of its citizens. Though I saw much pride for their wine at the conference, the grand tasting also showed how numerous people still did not fully understand the type of wines that Maryland produces. Some previously believed that Maryland made only sweet wine so the grand tasting was an eye opener for them, giving them additional reasons to have greater pride in their state. Far more residents of Maryland need to have pride in their wine industry, to embrace it as they do their local sport teams.
I think it was especially fitting that the Grand Tasting was held at the Warehouse at Camden Yards, the park where the Baltimore Orioles play baseball. Maryland residents have great pride in the Orioles and they should have a similar pride in their local wine industry. That requires a greater comprehension of the local wine industry, a willingness to explore and taste local wines to learn what they have to offer.
I heard a local chef, whose restaurant emphasizes local ingredients, explain that he was still ignorant of many Maryland wineries, which was part of the reason why his restaurant's wine list had only a tiny amount of local wines. As he has pride in local food ingredients, he should learn more about Maryland wine and obtain a similar pride in those wines. Locally, I have heard from a number of restaurants and wine stores who possessed much ignorance of the Massachusetts wine industry, failing to realize the quality that exists there.
I am using Maryland as an example and my point extends to citizens in every state. You need to have pride in your local wine industry, no matter where it fits on the spectrum of quality. Maybe your state doesn't make "championship" wine yet, but that still does not mean you shouldn't support it. Your support and pride in your local wine industry will give it an added incentive to improve, to raise its quality. Take some time to learn about your local wine industry and you might be surprised at the quality you discover.
Let your pride for your local sport teams extend to your local wineries!