Although I still have a long path to travel to taste and experience the other 46 states, I often wonder what state will move into the highly sought after 5th spot behind the big 4? I continue to read more and more about the growing wine industries in Virginia, Arizona, and Ohio. Perhaps Michigan, Texas, or Idaho can make a strong argument as well? So what does it take to become a member of the elite club? Is it even possible, or are the big 4 so far ahead of the competition, it’s not worth discussing?

Personally, I believe it will take a combination of several factors. First, financial support from local government through research, education, and marketing. Virginia for example, is doing a great job marketing their industry through state funded programs, universities, and private organizations. Second, consistency, which comes from a combination of experience, trial and error, and a little luck. Third, a solid understanding of the terroir and varieties that thrive in their respective states. Fourth and probably the least important, price. I’ll probably get a lot of flak for that last sentence, but let’s straighten out the facts, the US market is over priced.

At the end of the day though, the most important factor, great wine. To compete head on, the other 46 states will need to deliver on all fronts…

What state do you feel is ready to move into the 5th spot?

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