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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And, John, what better time than the holidays to travel to wine country, which turns out to be the entire country. Nowadays, there are - there's, at least, one wine producer in every single state. One of the wilder offerings, a red wine made at Los Alamos, La Bamba, features a mushroom cloud on its label. And there's the garlic wine from Gilroy, California, the Garlic Capital of the World. Just a couple of the wines featured in the new book "Wine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip" by Charles O'Rear and Daphne Larkin. They brought a few samples of what they found to our studios here in Culver City for a little early morning wine tasting.

Ms. DAPHNE LARKIN (Co-Author, "Wine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip"): People from all walks of life are making wine whether they're retired nuclear physicists or firemen or doctors or housewives or big families, like there was a family in Texas where the entire family is involved - all the brothers, the daughter, who they named Chardonnay, the grandmother. And that's in Texas Hill Country. So this is what we found out there in the 50 states of America where they're making wine.

MONTAGNE: In fact, wine was made here in America. We'd made here hundreds of years ago.

Ms. LARKIN: When the missionaries actually came to California in the 1600s, they planted grapes. And in Florida, Ponce De Leon planted grapes. And by the time Thomas Jefferson came, he was asking everybody to have a little vineyard in their backyard, and that's what we're finding now across this country is Thomas Jefferson's dream has begun to take shape. There are vineyards everywhere.

Mr. CHARLES O'REAR (Co-Author, "Wine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip"): It's getting easier now. Technology is making it easier. The Internet, for example, makes it so easy to learn the basics of making wine, of growing grapes. And now there are more than 5,000 wineries in the country, double from 10 years ago.

Ms. LARKIN: And we found that they're making it with whatever fruit they have. If they can't plant the classic European grapes, like chardonnay and cabernet, then they have blueberries, or they have pineapple like they do in Hawaii. The Maui winery - Tedeschi Winery in Maui is the second most visited winery in the country with 250,000 visitors a year.

Mr. O'REAR: Okay let's open the Hawaii wine.

(Soundbite of cork popping)

Mr. O'REAR: Oh, that has a good sound, so maybe we're in luck.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. O'REAR: There is - direct from Maui.

MONTAGNE: What do you think?

Ms. LARKIN: It's nice. It's would-be. You know, this would be a good brunch wine.

MONTAGNE: Wines are great things. Because this is a photography book to a great extent, are the different tasting rooms and wineries that have been created out of converted buildings - a bordello in Arizona, cotton gin in Texas, a church in Ohio. In Alaska, apparently, what? You found a tasting room in…

Mr. O'REAR: In a shopping center.

MONTAGNE: …in a shopping center.

Ms. LARKIN: And here - and I'll give an example, I grew up in Florida on the St. Petersburg beaches. And we went back to my home state, and we found a wine called Category Five as in the hurricane. And the winery was the former citrus stand where my family used to buy oranges and grapefruit. And now they can't make wine fast enough. And I'll let everybody just take a guess what the label looks like.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. LARKIN: Big swirling hurricane as seen from a satellite.

Mr. O'REAR: Want to try some hurricane wine?

MONTAGNE: Yeah, just although - all right…

Mr. O'REAR: Category Five.

(Soundbite of cork popping)

Mr. O'REAR: Ahh. It sounded like a hurricane a little bit, didn't it? All right.

(Soundbite of wine pouring)

Mr. O'REAR: Yeah, all right. And the label says the very best from Florida, Florida white sangria.

MONTAGNE: It's - this is definitely a sangria.

Mr. O'REAR: Mm-hmm.

MONTAGNE: And this wine comes from the fruit stand that you knew as a kid?

Ms. LARKIN: That's right. And they're making orange wine, too, from their orange grooves and grapefruit wine from their grapefruit grooves. It's the Americans being inventive. If they have the grooves, they have the fruit, why not make wine from it?

Mr. O'REAR: Have some more.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: There's - I have 10 bottles I'm looking at here. We're going to hit a couple of more then I'm going to curl up on the couch…

Mr. O'REAR: Okay.

MONTAGNE: …and say good night.

JOHN YDSTIE, host:

Renee. Oh, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Oh, John, cheers. Cheers. Right. We've just heard from Charles O'Rear and Daphne Larkin who turned their adventures into the book "Wine Across America." See visitors stomping grapes in Texas Hill Country and hear how garlic wine tastes at npr.org.

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