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Posted at 2:37 PM ET, 08/31/2009

Squeezing Our Wineries

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Crystal Lal
Cheverly

Two articles in the Aug. 19 Food section got my blood boiling about an issue that I had greatly hoped was moving forward in Maryland: making local wines more available in farmers markets. One article pointed out the delicious benefits of hosting a dinner party of “locally produced, seasonal foods” bought at a farmers market [“So Southern, So Summer”]. Veggies, cheese and meat all combined to make a simple, elegant, celebratory meal worthy of discussion in The Post. The one dinner party staple not bought at the market was the wine.

In an adjacent article, five local wines from Virginia and one from Maryland were pitted against wines from California and France, with surprising results [“Glass Acts”]. The Virginia wines scored particularly high, and considering Maryland’s laws that inhibit our wine industry, I was proud that one of our wines was included and received a respectable score.

During the last legislative session, a bill that would have helped with both issues in Maryland was killed for no good reason by state Sen. Nathaniel Exum (D-Prince George’s) in the final hours of the final day. It would have increased the number of permits Maryland wineries can have to sell at farmers markets in Prince George’s County.

I’m hopeful that during the next session, legislation will pass to help local wineries increase their market share. Wine is just as much an agricultural product as the fruit the wines are made from. Everyone benefits when local wineries can be a part of the movement to buy locally.

The writer manages the Cheverly Community Market.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 31, 2009; 2:37 PM ET
 
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