This pleasant-looking vineyard in very flat country might at first glance appear to be in the Central Valley of California, or perhaps in parts of France. Surprisingly, it’s in Delaware. Yes, Delaware–the first state to ratify the Constitution, Joe Biden’s home turf, and one of the most overlooked places in the United States. This is Nassau Valley Vineyards, Delaware’s very first winery, and, at least according to awards, the best in the state.
Nassau Valley was begun in 1987–about the same time Joe Biden was first thinking of running for President–by father-daughter team Bob and Peg Raley, who had this Delaware farm property and were tired of reading about great wines made by others. Delaware’s laws did not even permit wineries to exist, so the Raleys went to the Delaware legislature and got a law passed that allowed them. The law went into effect in 1991. Two years later, Nassau Valley was a going concern, with chardonnay, merlot, cab franc and cab sauvignon grapes on the vines. Nassau Valley is an estate winery, meaning the grapes are grown and the wine made from those grapes on the premises. Today Nassau Valley also offers a rosé and a pinot grigio in addition to the varietals they started with.
I began this blog series as a means to showcase all the interesting corners of our world in which wine is grown. I would never have dreamed that Delaware would be one of them. But the world of wine is a pretty amazing place, and if I should ever find myself in this interesting part of the world, I’ll definitely stop in for a glass or two.