Maine is the focus in our 17th episode of the Make America Grape Again Podcast. The wine in question is the first fruit wine we’ve explored in our podcast, the Wild Blueberry Wine (Semi-Dry) from Bartlett Maine Estate Winery, located in Gouldsboro, Maine.
At this time, Maine has only 17 wineries and vineyards, which are largely focused on fruit wines, as well as French-American Hybrid varietals, because of the cold, harsh climate of the region. The oldest winery in Maine, which happens to be the winery we are focused on in this episode, opened in 1983. This focus on fruit wines makes the industry in the area a little different than other regions we’ve explored thus far in our podcast. Fruit wines, for me, are hard to pin down and discuss, as we explore in this episode, as they stretch “sommelier speak” to the absolute limit.
Generally speaking, fruit wines are defined as fermented alcoholic beverages that are made from a wide variety of base ingredients which are not grapes. These wines may also have additional flavors taken from other fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer, which of course is the state of the ground in American liquor laws, making this definition so broad as to be effectively useless. (Although, for historical reasons, mead, cider, and perry are excluded from the definition of fruit wine.) In other parts of the world different terminology is used; as an example in the UK, fruit wine is commonly called country wine. Generally speaking, these wines in the United States are labeled according to their main ingredient: in the case of this wine, blueberries.
Anyway, onto the show! This bottle was brought to me for use in this podcast by my friend Elizabeth Krecker, who acquired this bottle from a bottle shop in Maine.