Yesterday I received a Google Alert that led me to the website of West Hill House B&B in Warren, Vermont. West Hill House had a post on their blog announcing they now offer 3 wines from East Shore Vineyard. On the face of it, the fact they’re now carrying a local wine isn’t big news. What I found interesting is twofold: 1) they posted about it and 2) they’re not the first business to announce they’re carrying a local product.
It’s not hard to find examples of retailers and service providers that cash in on the “Buy Local” movement here in Vermont. The State of Vermont marketing machine has worked hard to build the brand and with good reason – it’s true! Vermont offers some truly fine products and services. So it isn’t surprising when a local business taps into the Vermont brand cache. But the wine industry here is in it’s youth and I hadn’t seen much evidence of local support so I had to wonder what warranted the post. As I thought back over the past year it occurred to me that I had seen evidence of more support for the local wineries from within the State. The evidence is small doses like the post from West Hill House rather than in a large marketing effort.
When I go out to eat I immediately look over the wine list for one of the Vermont wineries. Normally I don’t find their wines on the list but occasionally I am pleasantly surprised. When I go into a general store or a convenience store, I look to see what Vermont products are offered. Everywhere I travel in the State I look and I’ve noticed more wines from Vermont are showing up in more places. I’m not sure if the efforts of the Vermont Grape & Wine Council are cause or if the marketing efforts of the wineries is finally beginning to pay off.
I don’t expect to see a large marketing effort on behalf of the Vermont wine industry anytime soon – especially in this economy. What I do expect to see is a market space that isn’t built on hype but rather on the quality and earned reputation of Vermont wines. It’s how we’ve done things here for generations. And so it goes, a few bottles show up on the wine list of a small B&B in Warren and a few more at the Jericho Center Country Store earning a spot on the customer’s table one store shelf at a time.