10 Small Producers in the Eastern United States Inspiring My Optimism for the Future of Wine

At times, I find myself feeling pessimistic about the future of wine. You may have come across wine articles discussing the decline in wine consumption among young adults. Wine media often thrives on sensationalism for the sake of attracting clicks. Wineries that receive acclaim in our industry are often those with substantial marketing budgets, nationwide distribution, and built on generational wealth. I'm not surprised by this. In the world of wine, as well as in the world in general, the focus tends to be on profit instead of people. I created a meme that, in my opinion, encapsulates this sentiment.

In order to engage more young adults, I believe it is important to highlight independent wine publications, small producers, and people doing creative things. So today, for my Shitty Substack, I am going to highlight what makes me excited about the future of wine. There has been no wine event that has brought me as much joy as ABV Ferments. I owe a huge part of my wine optimism to Jahdé MarleyJustine Belle, the amazing volunteer team, and producers pouring at these events. I was fortunate enough to attend the event in Miami and Brooklyn.

Before this event, I had not tasted many wines made from hybrid grapes or fruits other than grapes. Coming from a more 'traditional' wine education background through certifications like WSET and CMS, regions in the USA outside of California, Washington, and Oregon were rarely mentioned. I remember only a few mentions of hybrid grapes when I was studying wine, and unfortunately, they were not favorable opinions.

Recently, when I was in a vineyard in Washington, I noticed a piece of land dedicated to apple trees and saw vineyard irrigation tubing all along the grapevines. The person with me mentioned that the apple land would soon be sold to the highest bidder to be replaced by wine grapes because it’s more profitable. Then, sarcastically, they said, 'Yay! Another monoculture.' Dots in my internet-poisoned brain were starting to connect. What I was taught about wine may not be the best for the future of wine or the earth. Drinking local wine made from grapes and fruits better suited to climate change that require less irrigation and sprays may be the ideal move.

Growing up in South Florida, I often felt far from the wine business and very disconnected from vineyards and winemaking. Learning about wineries closer to home and attending panels at ABV Ferments on fermentation helped it feel a little more within reach. The transparency of the panelist and the winemakers about their obstacles and the winemaking process was incredibly refreshing.

Today, I want to highlight 10 producers in the Eastern United States who broadened my palate with their unique and delicious wines. If you are living in the United States, I encourage you to look at wineries closer to home and be open to exploring new flavors and grapes you haven't tried before.

In no particular order:

  1. Nok Vino (NH)

  1. Dear Native Grapes (NY)


  2. Mural City Cellars (PA)

  3. Camuna Cellars (PA)

  4. Spinning Wheels (VA/MD)

  5. Lightwell Survey (VA)


  6. Lilith (VT)

  7. Kalchē (VT)

  8. RAS (ME)

  9. plēb Winery (NC)


Hope you enjoyed!

Check out ABV Ferments on Instagram to learn more about other producers in attendance and future event updates.

At shittywinememes.com, you'll find a Fermentation Bob sticker and magnet that contribute $2 to ABV for each one sold.

Also the new The Wine Zine #8 got delivered to me today!
It features an article by the amazing Julianny Gomez on ABV Ferments

link to purchase The Wine Zine #8

Blog also available on substack

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