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Opening Arguments

Vine of the times

Guess the temptation to be a wine snob is strong even here in beer-and-brat country. Here's a story that seems to be so much a bigger deal than it really is:

INDIANAPOLIS - After more than 10 years of trying, Indiana's stature as a major player in the wine industry has taken a giant leap forward.

A grape-growing area in southern Indiana has received a designation that puts it among the major wine growing regions of the world.

The federal government designated 4,800 square miles of southern Indiana grape growing terrain -- known as the Uplands Wine Trail -- as an American Viticultural Area, a designation given to some of the world's greatest wine growing regions.

"Napa valley is the most obvious one, but also Bordeaux, France, Burgundy, France. This puts us on the same level as the big guys," said Dan Adams, with Winzerwald Winery, one of the nine wineries in the Uplands Wine Trail.

Yeah, boy, right up there with Napa Valley and Bordeaux. Look, an AVA is a just a government designation of boundaries specifying that 85 percent of the grapes used to make a wine there must have been grown there. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the wine. There are already more than 200 AVAs in this country -- ain't no big deal.

A little secret, if you didn't already know it: Wine is wine, and you can fine some pretty good stuff in any price range. If you routinely buy the most expensive stuff either because you think it guaratees you a better wine or because you want to be seen as a connoisseur, you're a damn fool.