Welcome to our 31st episode, featuring Louisiana! In this episode, we will be drinking the Redneck Red, from Landry Vineyards. The Redneck Red is a non-vintage Muscadine wine (a species we met the last episode), made specifically from a Muscadine varietal known as Noble. Noble, I’ve noticed, is also often spelled as ‘nobel’ by many wineries in the deep south, but the two seem to be interchangeable.
The history of Louisiana wine began in the mid-eighteenth century, when wines were made by Jesuit priests for use in the Eucharist. No records survive of what these wines were made of, or how good they were. The main focus of the wine industry in the area seems to have been around orange wine–that is, wine made from oranges, rather than grapes, in Plaquemines Parish. The last of these wineries, Les Orangers Louisianais, closed in 1987. This winery closed due to a combination of a hard freeze killing their orange trees, the end of a $1000 exemption in State licensing fees, and the passing of a law that forbade wineries from selling their products at the wholesale and retail markets: state-sponsored prohibition in action. Three years later, this prohibition was ended through the passing of the 1990 Native Wines act, which once again allowed wine sales at retail and off-licensed premises. Today, thanks to this law, there are four commercial wineries in Louisiana that collectively produce about 20,000 gallons (75,000 liters) of wine per year. There are, as of yet anyway, no American Viticultural Areas in the state of Louisiana.
The climate of Louisiana is extremely hot and humid, and viticulturists in the state face Pierce’s disease, powdery mildew, and various other grapevine diseases. Many of these maladies strongly affect vinifera wines more than other varietals, which is why most varietals grown in the state of Louisiana are Muscadine or French-American Hybrid strains; most vinifera wines are made from juice or grapes imported from out of state. Both of these aspects will be discussed further in later episodes focusing on Louisiana.
I acquired this bottle online through the winery website.