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Slow Wine: Why It Matters and The February US Tour

By Daniel Leipow, Slow Food USA Editorial Intern

Whether you eat to live or live to eat, a glass of wine helps many of us tap into the most savory bits of life. This simple but omnipresent appeal may be the reason that wine has been appreciated so deeply for so long. Though Slow Food works to extend that appreciation beyond the vineyard, wine remains the product most commonly associated with the term terroir — the unique combination of microclimatic and environmental factors resulting in a specific and complex flavor profile. 

Slow Food believes that wine, just as with food, must be good, clean and fair — not just good. Wine is as much an agricultural product as any of the food we eat, and has a significant impact on the lives of its producers and environment. Unfortunately, high chemical input and excessive water consumption are commonplace in conventional wine production.

But Dionysus lives! Even as we grapple with life’s greatest challenges, we must relish those moments of celebration or pause accompanied by a good glass of wine. And nowhere is it written that revelry mustn’t be moral. Enter the Slow Wine Guide and, lucky for you, the upcoming Slow Wine USA tour!

Slow Food International created a new guide to wine in 2010, to facilitate an interplay between the appreciation of the social and environmental impacts of wine production with our enjoyment of the age-old libation. The first Slow Wine Guide, published in Italy, was a watershed for lovers of Italian wine on both sides of the Atlantic. It marked a bold departure from the cultural hegemony of score-based and tasting-note-driven wine reviews, instead scoring with respect to the companionship between wine and the social and natural effects of its production.

The Italian public responded rapidly to the philosophy and concept of Slow Wine. By its eighth year of publication, it was Italy’s most popular wine guide. The guide initially featured only Italian wines, but soon expanded to include wines from neighboring Slovenia in 2016 before crossing the Atlantic the following year to feature wines first from California and now Oregon. Each wine in the guide has been vetted for quality in the deepest sense of the word, making way for unabashed quaffing.

Next week, Slow Food Editore begins the US tour of the 2020 Slow Wine Guide. The tour will traverse five cities—San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, New York, and Boston—with tasting and outreach events. The events will feature over one hundred select wines and the people who craft them, and will preview the 2020 edition of the Slow Wine Guide.

Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini said, “If you want to save the world, you must not do it with sadness. You must do it with joy!”  Join us on the tour this month and we will save the world together, glass in hand.