The State of US Wine, in 50 Bottles

Can good wine be made anywhere?
By Michael Foreman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2008 2:37 PM CDT
The State of US Wine, in 50 Bottles
Stein found some wines, especially those made with the South's muscadine grape, "undrinkable."   (©Southern Foodways Alliance)

Wine snobs contend that "terroir"—soil, climate, and topography—restrict great wines to certain regions. But are they right? All 50 US states make wine, so Joel Stein sampled a bottle from each to test the claim in Time. He discovered "quite good" varietals from surprising states like Delaware and Kentucky, but also "truly disgusting" wines from the Deep South.

Stein also sampled several grapes he hadn't encountered before, including East Coast Chambourcins used in "weird, interesting reds" and pleasing Midwest Nortons. "After all this, though, I still don't know if terroir matters," Stein writes. "It could be that the South's muscadine grape is inherently horrifying or just that people who drink sweet tea should not make wine." (Read more wine stories.)

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