I just spent a few days at home in Minnesota, where I was surprised to find the excellent Grateful Palate Airwines 2005 Boarding Pass Shiraz on the list at Beaujo's Wine Bar & Bistro in sleepy Edina, a suburb of the Twin Cities. The bottle's ingenious label, brainchild of wine importer and F&W contributing editor Dan Philips and designer Chuck House, mimics an airline boarding pass. Fittingly, while on my flight back to New York, I read an article in The Economist on the Midwestern winery boom, another indication of how wine-savvy the region has become. A few astounding facts:

- The University of Minnesota is developing grape breeds that can survive at -36 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The first annual Chicago & Midwest Wine Show will be held in September (officially Illinois Wine Month).
- The Midwest’s biggest producer is Michigan, with 112 wineries in 2007, up from 28 in 1995.
- Most intriguing name for a Midwestern wine: Michigan's Stone Temple Pinot (oddly enough, the band Stone Temple Pilots got its start in California).