Really Good American Wine at the Roadhouse

“If you’re eating something good, that’s great! But if you are eating and drinking something good,
that’s even better.”–Stephen Satterfield

by Marcy HarrisIllustration of a wine bottle with a label that reads: Zingerman's Really Good American Wine, Ann Arbor.

The Roadhouse loves to bring you good food, and we are excited to focus on good wine, too–with a new wine menu! Our beverage specialists, Kim Green and Felipe Diaz, have teamed up with Stephen Satterfield, wine expert and founder of Whetstone Magazine, to put together a list that is full-flavored and focuses on wineries with sustainable practices. Our selection includes wines crafted by women and minority winemakers, allowing us to feature a unique collection that reflects the diversity of America, a really great place to live.

36 reasons to love wine, all in one place.

Ever been to a restaurant where the wine list is so long your head starts spinning before you’ve even taken a sip? As is the case with many things, including bottles of wine, quantity does not always mean quality. In an effort to really begin to focus on the best regional wines that are available in the U.S., we’ve narrowed down our selection to 36.

So where did this number come from? I promise, it is not an enigmatic code that unlocks the secrets to wine drinking. It just so happened that we found 36 winemakers we would like to feature, and it is a number that brings cultural significance.

According to Ari Weinzweig, “In Hebrew, letters are also numbers. “Chai” (that’s a hard “Ch” not the Indian tea beverage) means “life.”  As in “L’chaim,” the well-known toast, “to life.” In numbers, it equals “18.”  “36” in Jewish culture is considered a special number because it equals “twice life.”  And since we’re working with wine and toasting to a good life here at the Roadhouse, it seemed a like an easy choice!”

Women, minorities, and sustainability.

What do you get when you mix diversity and sustainability? A meritage of what makes American really great. When seeking out the selections for our new list, naturally we want to seek out the wines that best represent their region. The truth is, wine tastes best when the vines have had to work hard in the soil. The grapes develop more flavor and character. Similarly, the flavor of the wine mirrors the souls of the people who produce it and the soil they reap it from. The more artisans work to create the ingredients, the more they endeavor, the more the elements of what they produce develop character.

Simply said, women and minorities have worked hard in this country, and when it comes to wine, it is reflected in what they are producing. Just to name a few:

André Hueston Mack, the first African American to win Best Sommelier in 2003, started his own winery Maison Noir Wines in Oregon on his own. No investors, no partners. Understanding that wine, like life, is subjective, he brings creativity and a unique approach his brand, and produces vibrant wines with an edgy appeal.

Born in rural India to a farming family, Dr. Madaiah Revana harbors an intuition for growing grapes acquired from his family’s agricultural heritage. With this intuition, he started his vineyard, Alexana, out of love for the wines of Burgundy and a passion to create similar wines in America. Named after his daughter, Alexandra, his vineyard produces wines that are elegant and balanced.

The late Patricia Green, who was a spirited winemaker in Oregon, started Patricia Green Cellars with her business partner, Jim Anderson, in 2000 with a commitment to produce Pinot Noirs that capture the essence of the site where they are grown. The Reserve bottle we carry captures the spirit of a woman who rose up quickly and notably in the world of wine. 

Laurentide Winery, started by Susan Braymer and her husband in Lake Leelanau, Michigan, has been a partner with the Roadhouse for years. With every sip of her wines, you can taste her expertise in working with a microclimate and geography that has been shaped by the Laurentide glaciers of northern Michigan.

Eileen Crane from Domaine Carneros in California Eileen Crane is regarded as America’s Doyenne of Sparkling Wine for good reason! She has spent 38 years in the wine industry, and is considered to be the most experienced sparkling winemaker in the United States. Just like Eileen, her wines are elegant and vivacious. 

Here’s to sustaining life!

Sustainable practices protect the elements that give a product life. There is so much involved, everything from the soil and water, managing pests and energy, using green materials, and even providing a good working environment for your employees! Find just the right balance of responsibility and stewardship of all these things, and in turn, everything you grow tastes better. At the Roadhouse we’ve certainly noticed the difference with the wines on our list.

We now carry several that are certified sustainable. LIVE Certified, for example, sets environmental and social standards for 327 vineyards in the Pacific Northwest. The wines we carry that are LIVE Certified include Alexana Winery and Ransom Wines. Honig Wine is not only California Sustainable Winegrowing Certified, but Michael Honig actually helped write the Wine Institutes Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices.  Ancient Peaks Winery is SIP Certified, and Picket Fence, Domaine Carneros, Quivira are all sustainable.

We could go on! But we don’t want to cork the fun in you finding out for yourself how amazing the wines are at the Roadhouse. Whether you are just sipping a new vintage to enjoy on its own, or trying a weekly featured wine that we’ve paired with a chef’s special, we know you’ll enjoy them as much as we do. Like with anything we offer at the Roadhouse, it’s really all about the stories behind the these beautiful wines and the incredible people who make them. So let us tell the stories as you sit back and savor the soul of our beautiful country with our new wine list!

As we continue to taste the difference with what America has to offer, the Roadhouse raises a glass to all of you. Here’s “To Life”!

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