Several months back a thought had crossed my mind wondering what wines were made in Alaska. It was this initial interest that began my path of researching other states’ wines as well. This lead to the creation of my 50 Wines From 50 States project.
Depending on where you look, Alaska has either 8 wineries or 4. Those are small numbers, but the 49th state of America isn’t exactly a place you would expect to have too many anyway. It’s known to be very cold with long days and nights depending on the time of year, but due to global warming the temperatures are actually now warm enough for certain vines to grow. So these set backs doesn’t necessarily mean that wine isn’t being made in Alaska. There are other ways to make wine besides just with grapes. Most dictionaries will describe wine as an alcoholic drink made from a plant product and in the US this could most commonly be referring to fruits.
For my tasting, I chose wines from Bear Creek Winery located in beautiful Homer, Alaska. The first thing that stuck out to me about them was that they focused very heavily on supporting local businesses. Their fruit is mostly locally grown and even their bottles are made in Alaska. They not only offer a wide range of fruit-based wines, but they also have log cabin lodging. So we could relax in their wine tasting room trying out a bunch of different wines and then retire to our log cabin for the evening with any wines I’ve purchased. What a great way to spend a weekend!
My first wine was their Black Currant wine. One of the reasons I chose this was due to the fact black currant is often smelled on the nose of grape-based red wines and I wanted to smell the real thing for once. Black currant isn’t something that I was very familiar with before I started learning how to taste wine. I even went out to the supermarket and purchased some black currants just so I could practice smelling them.
If you’ve seen any of my past articles, you’d know that I’m not a huge fan of sweet wines. It needs to be the perfect blend of alcohol, taste, and sweetness for me to enjoy it. Bear Creek’s Black Currant wine was a good example of that. It was very balanced and hard to put it down. I didn’t feel like I was drinking Kool-Aid with alcohol. The fruity aroma was pleasant and its finish was rather mellow.
For my second wine, I chose their Strawberry Rhubarb wine. 100% rhubarb wine itself was actually how they got their start in making wines a couple of decades ago. This particular wine was 70% strawberries and 30% rhubarb though. Other than a faint amount of it on the nose, this wine smelled and tasted like a strawberry wine. It was certainly sweeter than the black current, but didn’t taste like I was drinking strawberry syrup. This was also a very easy wine to drink.
Since shipping wines from Alaska can be quite expensive, I purchased several other bottles from them to average out the shipping cost. I’m looking forward to trying the rest of these fruit wines in the coming months. They do also offer a Chardonnay that is listed as “Alaska Chardonnay”. I’m not entirely sure if this is truly from Chardonnay grapes grown in Alaska though. It don’t remember it being available when I purchased my wines or I would have grabbed a bottle. Maybe in the future when I take a much needed vacation to their log cabins, I can bring home some of their Chardonnays!
You can see a list of states I’ve reviewed on my main 50 Wines From 50 States page.