This week saw the release of American Wino, author Dan Dunn's chronicle of a 15,000 mile trip he took solo through the hinterlands of the U.S., visiting wineries in every state as he went. It's a lively ride to be sure. The book is equally a chronicle of Dunn humorously but honestly coming to terms with his own problems (abundant: horrible breakup with girlfriend, unexpected death of beloved younger brother, plus a childhood marked by one of the more dysfunctional families you're likely to run into) as it is a wine travelogue. Call it, perhaps, a multi-state Sideways, but with only one character. Luckily Dunn is a lively, funny companion. I chatted with him recently about his experiences writing it:
F&W: What was your takeaway from the whole trip?
DD: I was dealing with a lot of demons and ghosts on this trip, and wine is the backdrop for that, so a lot of the takeaway was personal. But I did learn that it's crazy what's going on in this country. There's wine being made in every state, and I doubt anyone in California knows what a vibrant scene it is in places like Texas and Michigan and Virginia and New York.
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F&W: What was your favorite wine you discovered on the trip?
I really love the Bordeaux blend that Virginia's RdV Vineyards does; it can certainly stand up to the wines of the West Coast. Also another Bordeaux blend I had at Barboursville in Virginia. In fact, Virginia was one of my favorite spots of the whole trip. Lots of wineries, it's beautiful, and it's got a ton of history. And there's no other state that has wineries owned by Dave Matthews and Donald Trump right across the street from each other.