The reason why the hashtags #winedown, #winelover and #winetime are so popular these days is simple: Americans love their wine. In fact, the U.S. consumes more wine than any other country, and millennials (Americans aged 21 to 38) drink nearly half of all wine consumed in the U.S. (159.6 million cases in 2015), according to the nonprofit Wine Market Council.
Given this collective love for wine as a nation, Feb. 18 has been designated as National Drink Wine Day. “National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love of wine,” says Todd McCalla, founder National Drink Wine Day. Whether you choose to enjoy a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon (to name just a few), there are so many varieties to choose from when it comes to wine and now there’s a day dedicated to enjoying each of them with your family and friends.
While some wine drinkers prefer a specific type (red or white) or even the specific brand, others enjoy switching it up based on the food being paired with the drink. Another factor to consider when selecting a wine is the vintage or year on the bottle, which indicates when the grapes were harvested to create that particular wine. Older wines are often considered better tasting—and more expensive (we’ve all heard the saying, “Like a fine wine, it gets better with age”).
In addition to tasting good, some wines may offer its drinkers health benefits, when consumed in moderation, of course. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, drinking red wine might be beneficial to the heart. While more research needs to be conducted to determine the link between heart health and red wine, some research has shown that resveratrol, a key ingredient in red wine, might be linked to preventing damage to blood vessels, lowering cholesterol and preventing blood clots, which can all lead to heart disease. In addition, red wine might also help control blood sugar and keep the memory sharp.
While these health benefits are certainly an added bonus to drinking wine, one of the biggest reasons people consume wine is its social aspect and the shared experience it brings with family and friends (think: enjoying a glass of wine with a significant other over a romantic dinner, pouring a glass at a girls’ night out or clinking glasses with loved ones before indulging in a delicious family dinner). In addition, the more than 7,500 wineries in the U.S. (plus many more throughout the world) allow people to see firsthand what goes into growing the grapes needed for wine and to meet and financially support the farmers and people who make the wine. “Wine can be a communal experience,” says Michael Kaiser, vice president at WineAmerica. “Unlike a beer or a spirit, you are tasting the work of a farmer in your glass and it can vary from year to year. Wine enhances meals and you are helping a farmer by consuming it.”
When traveling, a visit to a winery is a great way to infuse the region’s local flavor into your trip. According to statistics on WineAmerica.org, there are nearly 30 million winery visits annually, providing employment to more than 50,000 people. “When visiting a new or unfamiliar location, it is important to become familiar with its local specialties,” says Kaiser. “Wineries are no different. Most are small businesses, and agro-tourism benefits the community and the small producers that make the product.”
Therefore, in honor of this popular alcoholic beverage, many wineries around the country are offering special promotions and specials on National Drink Wine Day to encourage visitors to stop by for a taste. Here’s a look at a few wineries that know how to celebrate.
Chaddsford Winery (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania): Chaddsford Winery is nestled in the center of the Brandywine Valley in beautiful Southeastern Pennsylvania. Established in 1982, Chaddsford Winery is one of the oldest, largest and most acclaimed wineries in Pennsylvania, producing approximately 30,000 cases of food-friendly wines annually. On Feb. 17, the eve of National Drink Wine Day, the winery is offering complimentary traditional wine tastings from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The tastings will include seven one-ounce samples that reflect the winery’s entire portfolio, including dry whites, dry reds, and sweet wines in a keepsake wine glass. “Chaddsford Winery decided to recognize National Drink Wine Day because it’s an opportunity to celebrate our craft and share it with others,” says Lauren Pasquini, marketing manager at Chaddsford Winery.
Hartland Winery (Ashley, Indiana): Located in Northeastern Indiana, Hartland Winery is a unique family-owned and operated vineyard. The vineyard is located on farmland that winemaker Alan Lockhart grew up on, and for Hartland Winery, “small batch and handcrafted” isn’t a marketing ploy, it’s the essence of its business. Hartland Winery credits growing its own grapes and having more quality control over its product as a couple of reasons why it is able to produce its award-winning wines. “Anyone can pick up a bottle of wine at the grocery store, but for us it's about the experience, about tasting the wine before you buy, learning about the process from grape to glass,” says Brenda Lockhart, owner and manager at Hartland Winery. “Our staff does it all—from harvest to pressing to helping with the bottling—that makes them better able to explain how wine is made and to answer questions. We love the new or nearly new wine drinker, helping them through the (sometimes) scary process of learning to love wine, and more importantly, we love educating people about Indiana wines in particular.”
By partaking in this year’s National Drink Wine Day, Hartland Winery sees it as a great opportunity for guests to visit the winery during the mid-winter season. Visitors will receive 15 percent off 6 to 11 bottles, and 20 percent off 12 or more bottles. “As a new winery, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to introduce our wines to new clientele,” says Lockhart. “We know that once people come in the door, 95 percent of the time they will find a wine they like and buy it.”
Little Washington Winery (Washington, Virginia): Plain and simple: Little Washington Winery is one of Virginia’s most acclaimed wineries. Located in Washington, Virginia near the picturesque Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Little Washington Winery pairs its stunning views with delicious wines served in a relaxed atmosphere. Home of the “Dirt Road Wine Tour,” Little Washington Winery handcrafts old-world style artisan wines from its own vineyards, and the result is truly unique and award-winning wines you are sure to enjoy. People who visit on National Drink Wine Day will receive 25 percent off sparkling wines and can enjoy Girl Scout Cookie wine pairings.
Lost Oak Winery (Burleson, Texas): Lost Oak Winery is a family-owned and operated winery and vineyard in a scenic setting located on the banks of Village Creek. It features three cultivated vineyards, large oak trees and winding walking paths. Lost Oak Winery takes pride in its Texas wine, and offers vineyard and winery tours and tastings, as well as many events throughout the year, like large concerts, wine dinners and movies on the lawn. Those who visit on National Drink Wine Day can enjoy a happy hour special (buy two bottles of Lost Oak wine get a complimentary gourmet cheeseboard to enjoy at the winery), live music and pizza cooked to order from Gepetto's Pizza Truck. “We are participating in National Drink Wine Day because we are a winery, we love wine and it's the BEST holiday of the year,” says Mariam Copeland, executive administrator and marketing at Lost Oak Winery.
Whether you are able to visit a local winery on Feb. 18 or plan to celebrate by enjoying a glass of wine at home or out with family or friends, National Drink Wine Day is a good reminder to support the hard work of a wine farmers and wineries around the world, and you can do so while enjoying the fruitful benefits of this popular beverage. “Each bottle tells a story,” says Kaiser. “It tells a story of the soil, where the grapes are grown and the weather from that vintage. Unlike any other beverage, it brings people together.” Now that’s something everyone (over 21) can drink to!
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