A very neat chart and article showing how the wine industry has grown in this country. And while the Old Dominion is not in the major leagues, it's nice to see the growth, success and sophistication that's taken place here. But I confess to a rather selfish longing for the early days of our wine industry, in the 80's. You could go to any winery and talk to the owner/manager in great detail about what they were producing. Barboursville Vineyards
earn a major mention in this article, as they should - they were my favorite in those early years, (along with Linden
). The first time we visited Barboursville, there was no tasting room, or even employees devoted to that task. The wife of the manager invited us into their little office, had us sit down opposite her at her desk, pushed aside some papers, grabbed a couple of glasses from the back room, and poured us some samples on her desk, while I set up a barrage of questions on barrel comparisons, etc. What a wonderful morning! At Linden, the owners, (Jim and Judy Law) got to recognizing us, we visited there so often, and we'd get samples of experiments and upcoming bottlings, (Jim even joked with me about my incessant questions on French VS American oak barrels at one point). Those were the days. Both operations are very successful now, and I'm happy for them. But now you deal with at least a small crowd of people at a crowded wine bar, manned by folks who were hired for that purpose, etc. It's fine, and a natural result of success. But those early days were magical and personal.