Conflict wine?
April 18, 2011 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I was invited to a Passover seder tomorrow night with the request that each guest bring a personal bottle of wine for our own individual enjoyment. There was also this: "I would appreciate if your wine was not produced in occupied Palestinian territory." In the spirit of being difficult, I'd like to locate a wine produced in a state with an ongoing territorial dispute. Can you recommend one?

It needn't be kosher, it needn't be amazing, it need be accessible in the city of New York within the next 24 hours.

So basically I am looking for a bottle of wine produced somewhere with contested borders. Basque wine? Quebecois wine? IRA wine?

Any specific ideas?
posted by thejoshu to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Various tribes of the Iroquois Confederation keep trying to reclaim lands in western new York State. Chances are good that any wine produced in the Finger Lakes area comes from grapes grown on contested soil.
posted by mareli at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not quite wine, but in the spirit of things: Arak. Syrian Arak is widely reputed to be the best going. Syria and Israel have unresolved issues over the Golan Heights and getting hold of Arak in a place as big as New York will be easy.

posted by dougrayrankin at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Georgia (the country) produces quite a bit of wine, including in the disputed Abkhazia region. No idea if you can find it in New York, though. If you try, look for the word "абхазии."
posted by theodolite at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

somewhere in Brighton Beach you'll be able to find some Georgian Wine. Territorial disputes a plenty there.

(And bonus points - its not too far from Manischevitz)
posted by JPD at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: Do you want states with violently contested borders? After all the United States is pretty much in a never-ending border dispute with Canada. Washington (the state) makes some inexpensive and easy-to-find wine.
posted by muddgirl at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Most of British Columbia was never formally transferred to Canada by its indigenous inhabitants, and you can argue that it is stolen native land. Wikipedia has an article about the treaty process, and you could pick a wine that doesn't come from the areas where treaties have been negotiated.
posted by bewilderbeast at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

ohh actually you can get Rkatsiteli from the finger lakes - so you can get the synyrgistic Iroquois-Georgian dispute.

Also lots of Basque and Catalan wines afoot in town. Can't think of a Macedonian or Kosovar wine, but def some Croat offerings afoot.

Argentina - Malvinas/Falklands

These are things I can think of off hand in NYC.
posted by JPD at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2011

I don't think Quebec is known for its wines, but I'm sure you could track something down with a bit of effort.
posted by auto-correct at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2011

Serbian option
posted by JPD at 12:53 PM on April 18, 2011

I'm having trouble finding the exact borders of the disputed land, but the Shinecock Nation say that their land was seized in 1895 and this seems to include the Shinnecock Hills as well as other parts of the Hamptons. DuckWalk Vineyards seems to fall in the disputed area. I wondeer how many of the North and South Fork vineyards are on Shinnecock or Montauk Nation lands.
posted by ladypants at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: Can I interest you in a fine (northern) Cypriot wine?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

Apocryphal stories about Retsina tell us that the pine was originally added specifically to gross out the occupying forces. And so today, it grosses out everyone else.

Cypress and Greece are the regions that are legally able to use the name "Retsina," although I don't think I've actually seen any Cypriot retsina around town. But! If you're interested, Astor Wines carries this stuff, which is the most gentle and palatable version of Retsina that I've had.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Grand Wine & Liquor is a big wine/liquor store located right under the 30th Avenue stop of the N/Q train in Astoria, and they have a huge selection of wines from Georgia and Moldova (including Kvint, which is based in Transnistria, though they might only carry the cognac from Kvint and these imports only say it's from Moldova on the bottle).
posted by wondermouse at 1:10 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chile is engaged in a running dispute with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina over its borders with those nations. Granted, they aren't very serious disputes, as almost no one lives in the disputed areas, but they are honest-to-goodness border disputes.

Here's the real question: do you want wine produced in a country that is engaged in a border dispute, or do you want wine produced in territory which its itself under dispute? The latter is going to be a lot, lot harder to find, as the vast majority of wine producing regions are in settled territory.
posted by valkyryn at 1:10 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: Basque txakoli is delicious and available at Astor Wines.
posted by yarly at 1:12 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Although for obscure geopolitics points, I have to concede that something from Transnistria would be cooler.
posted by yarly at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2011

New Zealand still has ongoing land disputes, with the Waitangi Tribunal still investigating claims and potentially making settlements. I'm not sure which areas are currently under dispute or if any of them contain vineyards. However, there is an inquiry currently ongoing around the Gisborne area, and this region makes all kinds of lovely wines.
posted by shelleycat at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2011

Quebec makes a great mead (honey wine, called Hydromel in French); the main brand is Intermiel. Not sure if you'd be able to find it in New York, though.
posted by OLechat at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: lets be honest - if you can find anything transdniestrian you gotta buy that.
posted by JPD at 1:46 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

You can really skirt close to (but not over) the line and still bring a kosher for passover wine (not a requirement, but surely a nice touch) by brining a bottle of Yarden wine. It's quite decent (good, for kosher wine), and produced on the Golan Heights. The same conflict, writ large (Arab-Israeli), but with a world of difference (Syria actually launched an unprovoked attack on Israel; there's no question that Israel had the right to conquer the land, plus it's not so religiously significant so there's little question that it will eventually be traded for peace). Demostrate your appreciation of geopolitical nuance and be kosher at the same time!
posted by Dasein at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2011

We have several wineries in Ireland but alas, none in NI and thus their territorial dispute does not meet your requirements. Happy Passover!
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on April 18, 2011

New Zealand still has ongoing land disputes

Man, if New Zealand counts as a conflict zone, you might as well bring a bottle of French wine and point out the Corsican separatist movement.
posted by Dasein at 1:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

While not specifically a disputed region, the Beqaa valley in Lebanon is known for wine making, and Lebanon certainly has its share of territorial disputes.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2011

In the spirit of revolutions you can try some Tunisian wine.
posted by blueyellow at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2011

Someone may already have mentioned it, but how 'bout Macedonian wine? Easy to explain the dispute, and seemingly easy to find.
posted by turducken at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2011

Dasein, neither the original question or my answer used the term "conflict zone". But there are very real, ongoing territorial disputes in NZ (so comparison to historical issues in France isn't correct), even if they're solved by government committee rather than anything more exciting.
posted by shelleycat at 2:11 PM on April 18, 2011

Mod note: While the OP is welcome to be difficult at their seder, we'd appreciate if you weren't difficult in the thread - few comments removed - send personal asides dirct to the OP. thank you
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Québec also produces a couple of very good ice wines. I think the most popular producer is L'Orpailleur.
posted by agregoire at 3:24 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: It seems settled for now in terms of actual armed conflict, but there is an ongoing identity crisis between the French and German heritage of Alsace-Lorraine, which produces a number of wines.
posted by TedW at 4:32 PM on April 18, 2011

There's Eiswein ("icewine" in much of the US alas) from Quebec, and a very good red I can vouch for personally from the Bekaa Valley.
posted by cromagnon at 5:25 PM on April 18, 2011

A very nice wine called Amselfelder is produced in Kosovo.
No idea if it's available in your neck of the woods though.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:12 PM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: No wine or region to suggest, but with the list above in hand you'll be able to point out a border dispute for every single wine the other guests will be bringing. Finding a wine from a country without conflicts might be the real challenge here.
posted by Sourisnoire at 2:43 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: You guys are brilliant and I am super grateful. I have my work cut out for me today!
posted by thejoshu at 6:15 AM on April 19, 2011

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