For the longest time, talk of Southern-grown grapes and Southern-vinified wines elicited dismissals from oenophiles. Some impressions were fueled by insecurity of the we-can't-compare-to-California sort. Others were fueled by bad wine.
Southern wines, made from vinifera grapes, are improving. Markedly. "If you haven't had a Southern wine in a few years," says Barbara Ensrud, author of American Vineyards, "you haven't had a Southern wine."
In the interviews that follow, you will meet vignerons from Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. In varying degrees they advocate that Southerners should not only eat local, they should drink local. As chefs and home cooks alike embrace the tenets of the farm-to-fork gospel, some Southerners are beginning to question the prevailing food and wine pairings of locally grown greens and locally raised pork alongside West Coast and Old World wines.