I'm liking the Bonterra Vineyards Merlot.
It's not local to us here in Chicagoland. The grapes are from Mendocino County. But it's an organic wine and is really smooth.
I had a sip (hey, it is my day off) before adding some to my simmering pasta sauce. The taste reminded me that I hadn't noted it yet.
I'm starting to realize that I prefer sulfite-free wine though. I sampled some over the weekend at Remus farms. The vintner was a NW Indiana fellow who gives kit-based wine-making classes. Not for me, but his wine was excellent.
Now if I can find a local (St. Louis will do), organic, sulfite-free wine, I should be set.
As for Columbus Day themes, grapes predate the New World explorers, though varieties of grapes were likely in some parts of of the Americas during that period.
This Cook County Forest Preserve site notes that in "1000 AD, Leif Ericsson the Lucky sailed from Norway across the North Atlantic Ocean and returned with stories about a new country he named Vinland [somewhere on the North American east coast] because of the abundance of wild grapes found growing there."
Thankfully, Columbus and others did pass along cultivated varieties that we benefit from to this day.