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Apr 12, 2011 06:04 PM

Local vs Imported?

As someone whose has lived in the SF bay area for near 30 years, my wine experience is dominated by Calfornia wine. And more and more I find that I buy from vinyards within driving distance which here means 100 miles. I do buy some French and Aussie wines but i feel overwhelmed by the quality of the local stuff.
I know not everyone is fortunate to live in wine growing areas but for those of us who do, what percentage of your wine comes from your nearby area? Say within 100 miles.

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  1. For those of us living in the central valley the term "local" would have to be stretched out to about 150-200 miles to be meaningful, taking in SB/Santa Ynez north along the coast to Mendocino and inland to Nevada and El Dorado counties.

    Given these extended parameters I would estimate easily 80% local.

    1. I buy most of my wine in the SF Bay area because that is the closest source of quality foreign wine. My purchases are 80% Italian, French, Spanish and New Zealand. I do buy a lot of CA Zinfandel. I drink wine with food and I find the foreign wines generally preferable. I’ve tried CA wines from Santa Barbara to Trinity County in the north and from the coast to the Sierra Nevada, but I prefer the European style in side by side tasting. In comparing costs of comparable quality wines, CA is way more expensive. For drinking without a meal, I think those big, ripe CA wines have the edge.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BN1

        I had not thought of it but I drink most of my wine without food which may explain why I find European wines too austere. Also I suppose I am a product of my time. I moved to Napa in 1985. The "Fruit Bombs" so now derided were the peak of fashion when I started drinking wine, and most of the wine info of the time called California 'King'. This was before the Web and with a vinyard around every corner. it was easy to believe this was wine heaven. I still believe it!

      2. I choose my wine based on my meal most of the time and I am "downsizing" my cellar right now. I have collected a wide variety of wines through the years but they are all aged wines. So, when I go out and buy -it is because I want to try something new and different. I tend to by more wine by the case when it is a winery I can visit and/or I know the owner. I never stick to 100 miles though. I am lucky to be living in WA state where we have great wines (both West and East) and I also can leave my house in the morning and fly to Napa by noon for a wine weekend. So, I tend to buy more new WA and CA wines by the case, and buy new French, Italian or Austrian wines by the bottle for dinner.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          I live within 100 miles of lots of wineries, unfortunately they are in Virginia and Maryland. Not much to chose among them that I want to drink.

        2. Even though I live within 100 miles of the North Fork of LI, hardly ever drink one of its wines, except when out there. Distribution in NYC is poor, wines not a great quality-price value. Drink almost exclusively (Southern/islands) Italian, Portuguese, and (Rhone, Loire, SW) French wines. Distance from Lisbon-NYC: 3380 miles; SF- NYC, 2700 miles.

          1. Zero % comes from within 100 miles of my home. Most of the wine I purchase comes from France, Italy, Germany and a bit from California.