Wine is having its moment in America, thanks to the perfect trifecta of high quality, good prices and wide availability. Last year, for the first time, more people chose wine over beer as their drink of choice. In this issue, we examine myriad ways to enjoy the grape, whether it's preparing wine-friendly recipes (Chardonnay lovers will be thrilled with Marcia Kiesel's ideas), relaxing in a wine cellar (we've asked three design firms to create inspirational spaces) or taking a trip to wine country with the best tour leaders.
The story you must turn to first is "America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences." A team of researchers led by travel editor Salma Abdelnour uncovered distinctive places and events from coast to coast. A trading post in Moose, Wyoming, has a 1,600 bottle France- and California-centric collection. A place in Chesterfield, Missouri, offers nearly 800 outstanding wines plus five incredible bacons.
Missouri, as you'll learn in "Great American Wine & Food Matches," is a proud producer of Norton, a lush red grape. It's one of six up-and-coming U.S. regions in our story; for each, we describe both the star grape and the perfect pairing. You must try Virginia Viognier with its ideal food match, clams with bacon.