If I heard that once, I heard it at least a dozen times last week. Can you guess where? No, not New Hampshire. How about Napa Valley, CA. I spent a fabulous week touring both the Napa and Sanoma valleys, sipping some mightly fine wines. I soon discovered that many wineries have a number of reserve bottlings that are available only at their tasting rooms, or through their wine clubs. From a marketing point of view the wine club is a great way to build a loyal community of repeat buyers. They offer limited bottlings of wines that are not available in local retail stores, sell them at a discount from the price charged in the winery retail store, and ship them direct to your home once a month. Sign me up!
If only it was that easy. My first encounter with the curse of Mass. was at Domain Chandon. After sampling their delighful Blanc de Noirs, I asked where I might buy some. I was told I could buy it right there, or join their wine club and have it delivered to my home. So as I filled in those two deadly letters, MA, in the address line of the application form I was told, “I’m sorry, you’re from Massachusetts, and we can’t ship to your state.” In fact, there are 25 other states like MA, and a number of ZIP codes within Florida that prohibit wine shipments direct to your home. For some background on why, and what you can do about it if you think this is really dumb, go here to a site dedicated to help “free the grapes.”
As I said, the “I’m sorry, you’re from MA” routine followed me everywhere I went. No exceptions. At one winery the person behind the counter said, “you must have a friend in New Hampshire, we can ship there with no problem.” If you’re not from New England, I should tell you that the motto of New Hampshire, prominently displayed on their licence plates is, “Live Free Or Die.” Which seems to apply equally to people and grapes.