Regional Spotlight: Southern Charm

Staff Writer
Making the case for an Alabama winery.
Regional Spotlight: Southern Charm

Tonight's the big one: Oregon and Auburn clash on the gridiron for the BCS national championship. Of course, oenophiles will be rooting for Oregon, the state that's practically synonymous with Pinot Noir. And the Ducks' campus is a stone's throw from wine country. But The Daily Sip always likes an underdog, so we're rooting for Auburn.

Auburn? An Underdog? OK, not really. But that's definitely the case when it comes to vino. A mere 20-minute drive from the Auburn campus is one of Alabama's mere dozen wineries, Whippoorwill Vineyards. (Oregon, by contrast, has more wine regions than Alabama has actual wineries.)

It's not likely that you'll see a bottle of Whippoorwill in your local wine shop, or that you've even heard of the grapes used to make its wines. In the hot and humid American south, classic varieties such as Cabernet and Chardonnay get hammered by disease and rot. Instead, wineries there grow native varieties that evolved to withstand the conditions. Whippoorwill grows native Muscadine varieties, the best known of which is called Scuppernong, named for the Scuppernong River in North Carolina.

Never heard of Scuppernong? Neither had we. But since a winery near Auburn is giving it the college try with the grape, we'll be rooting for the Tigers tonight (while we sip some Oregon Pinot Noir...just don't tell).

What's the weirdest wine variety you've tried? Tell us about it below.