Over at Dr. Vino's blog, I saw a post about Wine Blogging Wednesday, an occasion for wine bloggers to post on the same topic on the same day. This month's charge is to drink a wine from the nearest winery and post on the results. I won't be drinking any of their wine today, but I can tell you a lot about my closest winery.
Tennessee isn't a big wine-growing state. There's a lot of fruit wines and cordials made throughout the state, but none that are really popular or move far beyond their home towns. I almost went to a Tennessee wine festival in Nashville a couple of months ago, but work got in the way. I live at the far southwestern end of the state, in a suburb of Memphis called Cordova. And there's a winery almost within walking distance of my house.
Cordova Cellars is a nice place to visit. The buildings look great, it's fun to take the tour and see how grapes become wine, and the cellar is certainly a cool place to hang out during our hot summer days. They occasionally have concerts, parties, and picnics out on the lawn.
They don't actually grow grapes there anymore--some disease killed off the vines one year and they didn't want to start over with all new plants. Instead, the grapes come from farms around the Mid-South. Obviously this is nothing compared to a tour through Napa or Sonoma, but there's just not a lot of wineries in this part of the country.
As for the wines, they tend to be very sweet, though the lineup changes every year. I seem to recall the Merlot being pretty rough, but I have a soft spot for the dark and smoky sweet flavors of their Muscadine wine (in small quantities). There's a sort of novelty wine they make called Spring Fling, that incorporates a bit of peach nectar with the grape juice. Years ago I really enjoyed some of the whites, but my tastes have changed and refined over the years. Ain't much, but it's all we've got.
Odd side note: it's the only retail establishment in Memphis where you can purchase a bottle of wine on a Sunday. You can get wine in a restaurant (or in church, I suppose), and of course you can drink it from sunup to sundown. The winery gets an exemption because it's technically a farm and is subject to different laws from liquor stores. In Tennessee you can't buy wine or liquor in the grocery stores, only beer. And beer isn't sold in the liquor stores, unless it's a "big beer".