Going local is one of the hottest trends in the world of food and drinks, and what better way to accompany that plate of Mississippi food than with a good Southern wine? While the climate in much of the South is not conducive to the growing of vinifera grapes, there are some exceptions in neighboring states, and, if one likes muscadine wine, that bottle can even be from Mississippi. Old South Winery, established in Natchez in 1979 is the state’s sole winery, using exclusively Mississippi muscadine grapes, and it is readily available for purchase in Oxford.
Because of Mississippi’s alcohol laws, stores are limited in what they can sell to whatever the State warehouse has on offer, but there is still a fair amount of variety to be had. The following is a list of Oxford package stores that sell wine produced in the South:
Stores carrying Old South only: Leonardo’s Wine and Spirits, The Whiskey Still, Kiamie’s, West Jackson Wine and Spirits, CM Package Store, and P.J.’s Wine and Liquor.
Poppa’s Wine and Spirits has a rather impressive collection of Southern wines that includes Old South, Ozan (Calera, Alabama), Post (Altus, Arkansas), Vizzini Farms (Calera, Alabama – their “Rebel Red” and “Rebel White” feature a character who looks suspiciously similar to a certain mascot who once frequented Vaught-Hemingway), and Biltmore Estates (Asheville, North Carolina). They also were quick to claim Krutz Family Cellars wines of the Russian River Valley, California as a “Southern” wine in their book, despite its geographic provenance, as the three brothers who run this winery are all Ole Miss alums.
Star Package Store also has a similarly impressive collection, carrying Post, Ozan, and Vizzini wines, as well as blackberry wine from St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri (which qualifies as Southern depending on which map you prefer).
Rebel Wine and Spirits has recently expanded its wine selection and has not neglected its Southern heritage, carrying Old South, Post, and Biltmore Estates, with Vizzini wines currently on back order.
The fairly new package store, Magnolia Wine and Spirits does not carry any Southern wines in their regular stock, but helpfully offered to order anything they could get from the State warehouse.
One final note: I did not count the now relatively easy to find Tula Wines of the Oxford Wine Company as Southern since they are actually California wines. Even so, it is hard to pass up a bottle that has the image of the Lafayette County courthouse right on the label.
About Danny Toma:
After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.