Thursday, May 25, 2017

Info absent on burning question about wine ice cream

Dragonfyre slushy machine (Facebook photo)
Some time ago, I attempted to get an update on pending legislation involving the serving size of wine ice cream in New York, apparently a matter of the usual governmental nanny state restrictions. I was unable to get any information from the members of both houses of the New York State Legislature supposedly trying to amend the rules. More on that in a bit.

Apparently there are no rigid restrictions on using whiskey in another type of food, if one considers slushies actual food. The Dragonfyre Distillery in Marathon, Cortland County, today announced it will be making and selling whiskey slushies this summer.

"BREAKING NEWS! The slushy machine is here!!! ," trumpeted Dragonfyre's Facebook message. "We will be serving whiskey slushys from now on! What's your preference?
Strawberry Daiquiri
Arnold Palmers
Pina Cola da
Blueberry pomegranate
Prohibition Moon
Apple Moon
Let us know what you want, this is just the "short" list!"

Now, back to the topic of wine ice cream.

Back on March 22, I reported that "The State Senate today approved S4265, a bill introduced by Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-47), to allow a change in the portion size of wine ice cream. The current minimum container size is one pint. Griffo, the deputy senate majority whip, seeks to meet what he says is consumer demand for smaller containers of wine ice cream for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours, etc. A companion bill that needs to be passed next is being introduced in the Assembly by William Magee (D-121), chairman of the Agriculture Committee. New York is the only state with minimum size requirements."

Since then, I have tried to find out the status of the proposal. A call to Griffo's office was unproductive because the staffer who answered my call had no idea what I was talking about, even though it is his boss's legislation. Even worse at Magee's office, where a promised return phone call has not materialized and an emailed inquiry has been ignored.

Which leads me to suspect that, even though this is a small matter in the larger universe of governance and therefore beneath the legislators' purportedly pushing it, we will see during the next election cycle some reference to this "consumer friendly" effort that both legislators suddenly will remember they have attached their names to.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Long Island work force brain drain? Put a cork in it!

Russell Hearn chats with visitors at
Mattituck's Premium Wine Group
From Innovatelli 
Don’t whine when you can wine. That was one of the big ideas ... when a select group of educators, hospitality professionals and economic-development experts - each with a particular interest in addressing Long Island’s infamous “brain drain” –- [recently] toured several East End winemaking facilities.

Arranged by the Long Island regional office of the Workforce Development Institute, the field trip was designed to help insiders understand the workforce needs and career opportunities inherent to the Island’s burgeoning wine industry –- information they can share with students and others who might not know that hundreds of good-paying jobs are available in eastern Suffolk County right now, with hundreds more ripening on the vine.

To be sure, the tour was not focused only on low-hanging fruit. While eastern vineyards do need farmhands to harvest grapes and otherwise maintain crops -- “especially with the political climate right now,” noted one winemaker -- there are career paths aplenty in the rapidly expanding wine business, with needs ranging from HVAC mechanics to accountants to chemists, and salaries flowing well into the six-figure range.

“There are jobs here that require no degree, and jobs that require advanced degrees,” noted Workforce Development Institute Regional Director Rosalie Drago. “This industry is literally for everyone.” 
Go here for the full story.
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Study: Wine consumption may raise breast cancer risk

The only sure thing about a study is that another study will come along to refute it ... until another comes along to refute the refutation.

The latest pronouncement concerns wine and health. For years now, we've been told that some consumption  of red wines will impart good health via the chemical resveratrol they contain. Now, a study just released by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund says a daily glass or more of wine, or any other alcoholic beverage increases the chances of contracting breast cancer.

It's a fairly thorough study that reviewed  and analyzed 119 studies that used data from 12 million women worldwide. It  found that 10 grams of alcohol per day, the equivalent of one small glass of wine, beer or other alcohol, is linked to a heightened breast cancer risk of 5% for pre-menopausal and 9% for post-menopausal women.

Anne McTiernan, a cancer-prevention researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and one of the report’s lead authors, said, "This suggests there is no level of alcohol use that is completely safe in terms of breast cancer. If a woman is drinking, it would be better if she kept it to a lower amount.”

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival this weekend

Thirty makers of wine, spirits, ciders, meads and beers from New York and Massachusetts will be featured at the 5th annual Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival this weekend.

The event, sponsored by the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail, will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds. In addition to the beverage samplings, vendors will offer tastings and sale of cheeses, baked goods, jams, jellies and other regionally produced foods. Exhibitors and artisans will have booths, and seminars will be presented by experts from all parts of the craft beverage industry.

A one-day tasting ticket, available at the gate or online for $25, includes admission, souvenir tasting glass and unlimited wines, ciders and spirits. Non-tasting tickets are $10, and children 12 and younger are admitted free.

The fairgrounds are located at 182 Hudson Avenue, Chatham, with the festival entrance on Route 66.

The beverage vendors:
  • Adirondack Winery
  • Awestruck-Gravity Ciders
  • Brookview Station Winery
  • Cascade Mountain Winery
  • Furnace Brook Winery
  • Helderberg Meadworks
  • Hudson-Chatham Winery
  • ​Hummingbird Hills Winery
  • ​Idol Ridge Winery
  • ​Ledge Rock Hill Winery
  • ​Les Trois Emme
  • Milea Estate Vineyard
  • Montezuma Winery
  • Pazdar Winery
  • Sun Dog Cider
  • ​Tousey Winery
  • Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
  • Whitecliff Winery
  • ​Yankee Folly Cidery
  • ​Warwick Valley - Docs Draft Cider
  • Berkshire Mt. Distillers
  • ​Blackdirt Distilling
  • Dutch's Spirits
  • Harvest Spirits
  • ​High Rock Distillery
  • Hillrock Estate Distillery
  • Hudson Valley Distillers
  • Lake George Distilling Company
  • ​Olde York Farm Distillery
  • Old Klaverack Brewery

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• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail

New alcohol study: Other studies full of flaws

From the New York Daily News
There’s no shortage of studies claiming that moderate wine drinkers have healthier hearts. Same goes for light consumption of other sorts of alcohol. But a new deep research dive into the topic basically says to put a cork in it. Investigators found little evidence to support the earlier booze-is-good-for-you findings.

That’s the takeaway of a new study in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers sifted through 45 previous studies and found flaws in the methodology.
Go here for the full story.

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Imbibeable Cartoonery

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

'Bounty of the Hudson' festival coming up in June

Fans of Hudson Valley wines, or anyone looking for a first exposure to them, will find more than 20 wineries represented at the annual "Bounty of the Hudson" next month.

The rain-or-shine, festival style event is set for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11, at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.

In addition to wine tastings, it offer samplings of fresh local produce, cheeses, honey, baked goods and foods from local restaurants.

Tickets, available online, cover a souvenir Shawangunk Wine Trail glass, sampling at each of the attending wineries' booths, and an afternoon of live music. The event, open only to persons 21 or older, will run from noon to 5 p.m. both days. A one-day tasting ticket, good for either Saturday OR Sunday, is $30 purchased in advance, plus fees. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate for $40, including tax. A general admission ticket for designated drivers is available in advance for $10, plus fees and at the gate for $15, including fees. Each ticket is valid for one day of the event.

The Ulster County Fairgrounds is located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz.
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• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail