Interview, December 20, 2007
Napa Valley may be America's wine capital, but wine is now produced in all 50 states. Across America, wineries and tasting rooms can be found in converted buildings — a bordello in Arizona, a cotton gin in Texas, a church in Ohio. There's even a tasting room in an Alaska shopping center.
And with that broad reach, there are all kinds of ideas of what wine can be, according Charles O'Rear and Daphne Larkin, the authors of Wine Across America, a photographic survey of the U.S. wine industry.
A retired nuclear physicist in Los Alamos, N.M., calls his label — what else? — La Bomba. There's a cranberry wine from Michigan and a garlic wine from California.
Larkin says she and O'Rear didn't discover the next Chateau Margaux or any really spectacular vintages, but they did find a lot of fascinating people making wine because they love it.
"People from all walks of life are making wine, whether they're retired nuclear physicists or firemen or doctors or housewives or big families," Larkin tells Renee Montagne.
O'Rear says technology is making it easier to get into the wine business. "The Internet, for example, makes it so easy to learn the basics of making wine, of growing grapes."
Now, there are vineyards seemingly everywhere, Larkin says.
"We found that they're making it with whatever fruit they have," Larkin says. "If they can't plant the classic European grapes, like chardonnay and cabernet, then they have blueberries, or they have pineapple like they do in Hawaii."