To Thirsty Work columnist Susan Larsson:
I always read your column features, but somehow I missed your Perdido Vineyards Honey and Vinegar article (June 3). I am greatly indebted to you. You are a most impressive writer on the subject of beverages. I already thought that from previous articles. You surprised me with your additional research on our native American grapes. I have a good friend, Jim Lee, vineyard and winery owner, in Holks Bluff, Ala., near Gadsden, who has succeeded in growing Cabernet Sauvignon and the subsequent traditional vinifera wines.
In my case, it is too risky to attempt vinifera in lower, coastal Alabama, whereas the native American muscadine species thrive. Many improvements have occurred in development of wine grapes in the southeast United States since about 1960. In time our region will gain its place as a producer of quality wines. Alcoholic beverage laws and regulations have created a very adverse business climate for a long term investment in vineyards and wineries … much different than the scenario with brew pubs, craft beer, etc., that does not require farming in rural areas.
My business motivation for producing wine vinegars was directly related to the official effort of the ABC Board to repeal the Alabama Native Farm Winery Act of 1979 and regress back to the absolute monopoly control, now enjoyed by in-state Distributors/Importers of out-of-state. Our wine vinegars are refermented natural wine stock, not infused, as are so many products in mass food distribution, which use a base ingredient, white distilled vinegar with no nutritional food value. All for the every day, low, low, price. Antioxidants are a powerful story in healthy foods. We are having to educate the public about the use of better vinegars.
Thank you so much, again.
Owner, Perdido Vineyards