Wine on the range: why Southwest wines should be on every wine adventurer’s list
Growing grapes in the arid plains of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico or in Colorado’s mountainous terrain has never been easy. Drought, disease and extreme weather events all present problems, but for the ambitious optimists who dare to pursue their winemaking dreams in America’s southwest perhaps the greatest challenge faced is convincing drinkers to try their wines. Despite advertising, the efforts of producer associations and highway directions to tasting rooms, many potential customers may not even be aware that wine is produced in their state. Now, a new book, The wines of Southwest U.S.A., by Texan wine expert Jessica Dupuy, aims to change perceptions and convince wine lovers that these states are producing wines every bit as good as those made by their friends on the west coast.
Acknowledging the difficulty of her task Dupuy says, “taking on the project to share the story of wine in a quadrant of America that is most associated with cacti, cattle, and cowboys was a bit daunting.” Dupuy points out that the wine industries of these states are still emerging and working out their identities but she is not the only one persuaded of the potential for great wine in the Southwest. Many of the region’s growers and winemakers have gained experience working in more established regions, not only California but also Burgundy, Italy, New Zealand and more. They could easily have pursued their careers elsewhere but something drew them back to this part of the U.S.
Texas may have the most developed industry of the four, but those of New Mexico and Colorado are gathering pace and Arizona is generating excitement with the quality of its wines. Dupuy takes each state in turn, beginning with its history – the pioneering spirit that informed the development of these states perhaps goes some way to explaining the mindset of today’s winemakers. She then explores the unique growing conditions, the regions (AVAs) and the challenges peculiar to each. The chapters on each state’s wine producers cover around 10–15 per cent of today’s producers and feature those who helped to form its wine industry or who are actively pushing it forward. As Dupuy remarks, “this selection serves as a blueprint for the many great things that lie ahead.” The growth of the wine industry in the Southwest is reliant on people getting out and tasting the wines. To that end Dupuy concludes each section of the book with a listing of some of the places where visitors can best experience the legendary warm southern welcome and sample these wines alongside local food.
For anybody interested in discovering a truly up-and-coming wine region this book makes for fascinating reading.
About the author
Jessica Dupuy has written about Texas wine, particularly for Texas Monthly magazine, since 2007. She is a regular contributor as a wine and food columnist for Forbes.com and has also written for Imbibe, GuildSomm, SevenFifty Daily, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and National Geographic Traveler. She is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a WSET Advanced Certificate holder and a Certified Specialist of Wine and Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators. Jessica has also covered food trends for various publications and is the author of several cookbooks, including Uchi: The Cookbook, The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family and Love and Jack Allen’s Kitchen Cookbook.
The wines of Southwest U.S.A. is published by Infinite Ideas on 24 September 2020.
ISBN: 9781913022112, pb, rrp £30, 234 x 156mm, 268pp.
Also available as an eBook.
Review copies available from email@example.com; 07802 443957