Monday, November 2, 2015

A Little Massachusetts Wine (and Cheese)

As summer has turned to fall it’s time again to enjoy the harvest outdoors in New England before the first frost—the fun of picking apples and pumpkins come easily to mind.  On the other hand, you might prefer to remain indoors in front of a cozy fire with a glass of Massachusetts wine. Yes, you read that correctly, Massachusetts wine. Massachusetts may have a way to go to compete with California, which currently produces 90% of the wine in the United States, but at #23 and rising, Massachusetts is an up and coming contender in the winemaking industry.

Winemaking has a long history in Massachusetts—it is even rumored that wine from native grapes graced the table at Plimoth Plantation during the first Thanksgiving in 1621. A History of Wine in America by Thomas Pinney relates that in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wine was made from native grapes in the first summer of settlement in 1630.  And who can forget Concord grapes, named for the town where they originated, although they are known more today for jelly than for wine.

And what goes better with wine than cheese? The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources booklet “Massachusetts Wine & Cheese Trails” promotes and draws much-deserved attention to this growing industry to encourage tourism at local vineyards and farms. This booklet makes a great guide for an enjoyable fall road trip!

In the State Library’s eclectic collections, we can find items on the historical interest in and the importance of winemaking throughout the years—chronicling a long and worthy history of an old industry where the future seems just as bright.

Judy Carlstrom
Technical Services