Monday, August 14, 2017

Finger Lakes may become National Heritage Area

• From WAER.com
The Finger Lakes region has its fingers crossed about the tourism potential that could come with receiving a certain federal designation. 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) recently announced a bipartisan bill to consider the region a National Heritage Area. If passed, the Finger Lakes region, which contains 14 counties and 26 state parks [and dozens of wineries], could become part of the National Parks system.  Coleen Fabrizi, chair of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, says the name would be excellent for the region’s economy. ...

If the bill succeeds, the Finger Lakes will undergo a Feasibility Study Process, taking about a year to assess the area’s natural beauty and historical significance. Tourism in the Finger Lakes is already a nearly $3 billion dollar industry. Fabrizi finds the region earns this with its many sights and attractions.

"New York State and the Finger Lakes Region are not places you come and explore for a day.  There is so much to see and do.  You can experience it for weeks and months at a time and never run out of things to do."
Go here for the full story.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Upstate Riesling tops NY Wine & Food Classic competition

NY Governor's Cup
The Governor's Cup
Buttonwood Grove Winery's 2016 Riesling was awarded the Governor’s Cup, top honor in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic competition, in judging finished Wednesday in Watkins Glen.

Buttonwood Grove, purchased in May 2014 by David and Melissa Pittard from founders Ken and Diane Riemer, is located at 5986 State Route 89 in Romulus. Phone: (607) 869-9760.

CK Cellars/Torrey Ridge Winery of Penn Yan and Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery of Southold, Long Island, tied for “Winery of the Year” honors.

This year, a total of 81 Double Gold, 88 Gold, 454 Silver, and 241 Bronze medals were awarded. (Double Gold medals require unanimity among the judging panel, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.) This year's competition included 915 New York wines, 27 hard ciders and 16 craft spirits from across state.

The “Best of Category” awards, all of which made winners eligible for the Governor’s Cup, went to:
  • Best Sparkling Wine: Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2014 Topaz Imperial, Méthode Champenoise
  • Best White Wine: Buttonwood Grove Winery 2016 Riesling
  • Best Pink Wine: CK Cellars/Torrey Ridge Winery Catawba
  • Best Red Wine: 3 Brothers Wineries & Estates 2016 Zweigelt/Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Best Dessert Wine: Goose Watch Winery Classic Cream Sherry
"Best of Class" awards go to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least seven entries. They were:
  • Best Oaked Chardonnay: Osmote Wine 2014 Chardonnay
  • Best Unoaked Chardonnay: Martha Clara Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay
  • Best Gewürztraminer: Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Gewürztraminer
  • Best Dry Riesling: Lucas Vineyards 2015 Dry Riesling
  • Best Medium Dry Riesling: Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Riesling, Semi-Dry
  • Best Medium Sweet Riesling: Buttonwood Grove Winery 2016 Riesling
  • Best Sweet Riesling: Fox Run Vineyards 2014 Lot 11 Riesling, Lake Dana Vineyard
  • Best Overall Riesling: Buttonwood Grove Winery 2016 Riesling
  • Best Sauvignon Blanc: Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Best Pinot Grigio: Seneca Shore Cellars Pinot Grigio
  • Best Grüner Veltliner: Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Grüner Veltliner
  • Best Other Vinifera White Varietal: Kontokosta Winery 2016 Viognier
  • Best Vinifera White Blend: Bedell Cellars 2016 Taste White
  • Best Traminette: Johnson Estate Winery 2016 Traminette
  • Best Vignoles: Anthony Road Wine Company 2016 Vignoles
  • Best Cold Climate White Varietal: Weis Vineyards 2016 Heart of the Lake
  • Best Hybrid White: 3 Brothers Wineries & Estates Nearly Naked
  • Best Diamond: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2016 Diamond
  • Best Niagara: Chateau LaFayette Reneau Niagara Mist
  • Best Rosé: Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé
  • Best Blush: Owera Vineyards Cazenovia Blush
  • Best Catawba: CK Cellars/Torrey Ridge Winery Catawba
  • Best Merlot: Damiani Wine Cellars 2012 Merlot Reserve
  • Best Pinot Noir: Martha Clara Vineyards 2015 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
  • Best Cabernet Franc: Fjord Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc
  • Best Syrah: Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery 2014 Syrah
  • Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2015 Malbec
  • Best Vinifera Red Blend: 3 Brothers Wineries & Estates 2016 Zweigelt/Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Best Cold Climate Red Varietal: Tug Hill Vineyards 2015 Marquette
  • Best Hybrid Red: Stone Age Winery Reugeon de Chaunac
  • Best Fruit Wine: 21 Brix Winery Raspberry
  • Best Cider: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard Cider Tree with Citra Hops
  • Best Spirit: Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin
  • Best Port: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard Light Port
  • Best Late Harvest: Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2014 Diosa Late Harvest
  • Best Ice Wine: Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2015 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
  • Best Vinifera Sparkling White: Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2012 Blanc de Blanc, Méthode Champenoise
  • Best Vinifera Sparkling Pink: Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2014 Topaz Imperial, Méthode Champenoise
  • Best Hybrid Sparkling White: J.R. Dill Winery Cayuga White Rise

• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

10th Sangria Festival at Hudson-Chatham Winery

Renovated Ghent tasting room (photo provided)
The Hudson-Chatham Winery recently opened its third tasting room, in downtown Troy, but it is hoping its followers come to the original venue this Saturday. That's when its 10th annual Sangria Festival & Jazz Fest will run from  11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Founders Carlo and Dominique DeVito have grown the event into something a bit beyond the usual tasting, thus the addition of  "& Jazz Fest" to the name. Admission runs from $12 to $15.

The winery and original, renovated tasting room is located at 1900 Route 66 in Ghent, Columbia County, about midway between its two namesake communities. Phone: 518-392-WINE. Its two satellite tasting rooms are located at 6036 Main Street in Tannersville, Greene County, and 203 River Street, Troy.

• Go here to visit Notes On Napkins
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Canadian view of the Finger Lakes wine scene

A view of Keuka Lake (photo provided)
From the Toronto Globe & Mail
“Wine, Wings and Water” promises the sign leading into Hammondsport, NY, a small town on Lake Keuka in the Finger Lakes region that thrives on thirsty summer tourists.

That slogan isn’t likely to change the minds of the people who long-ago decided that Upstate New York wine was more suitable for use as a punch line than for pairing with meals.
But, given that the region now is home to world-class Riesling, standout Gruner Veltliner and delicious fizz, the rest of us should re-think Finger Lakes wine.
Go here for the full story.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why are Long Island sustainable winemakers selling off?

David Page and Barbara Shinn (photo provided)
From Vinepair
Shinn Estate Vineyards brought sustainable winemaking to the mainstream. So, why did its owners just sell it?

Since its first wines were released in 2002, Shinn Estate Vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork has been a force in the region. Until the winery arrived on the scene, the Long Island wine industry hadn’t been shaken up much since the early 1970s when it started. Although there were dozens of vineyards, they were mainly a destination for weekend day-trippers. The wines were sold locally, and in some cases, in New York City. But with the arrival of Barbara Shinn and her husband David Page, all that changed.

The couple had spent years in the hotly competitive New York restaurant business, most notably as the owners of Home, a successful West Village spot where they got out ahead of the comfort-food craze. They arrived on the North Fork with a farm-to-table sensibility, a talent for marketing, and a desire to push Long Island wine production in a new direction.

That direction was toward sustainable farming and a rejection of the longstanding belief that chemicals were the only way to control pests, mold, and mildew in a humid, maritime climate. But it wasn’t easy going. Many in the industry dismissed their point of view as impossible — crazy talk by a couple of arrivistes in a region that had already been producing wine for almost three decades.
Go here for the full story.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hudson-Chatham opens tasting room in downtown Troy

Exterior of Hudson-Chatham Winery's new Troy tasting room. (photo provided)

Hudson-Chatham Winery's ongoing expansion plans are moving along nicely. The Columbia County winery and tasting room was founded in 2007, added a second tasting room in 2015, and now has added a third tasting room to its lineup.

The new venue -- called Hudson-Chatham Winery Troy -- is located at 203 River Street in downtown Troy, briefly the home of Sweet Sues whose chef-owner Sue Dunckel maintains a connection with the site by providing its breakfast and lunch fare. The menu includes, obviously in addition to H-C wines and adult beverages from other local producers, coffee made for the winery by Chris' Coffee Service of Albany. Plans call for a broadening of the menu to include local artisanal cheese varieties.

Troy hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, although hours may be extended on Fridays and Saturdays. Brunch will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Everything we do is Hudson Valley or Capital Region,” Carlo DeVito, who runs the winery with his wife Dominique, told local media. “The idea is that it’s local, local, local, local.”

The new venue is managed by Mackenzy Morgan. DeVito said plans are being discussed to add several more satellite tasting rooms at locations to be decided.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Adirondack Winery debuting its second tasting room

The new location (photo provided)
Adirondack Winery today announced an official grand opening date for its second tasting room, a venue that has been operating in soft-opening mode for the past week.

The new facility, located at 4971 Lake Shore Drive in Bolton Landing, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Owners Michael and Sasha Pardy have scheduled the ribbon cutting for 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, for media and local officials. At noon, the facility will open to the public with free wine tastings, food samples and a raffle basket until closing at 9 p.m.

The location is opposite Tops Market, between Palazzo’s Pizzeria and Bob’s Ice Cream. The building is owned by Robert and Dawn O’Keefe, owners of The Huddle Kitchen restaurant and bar, also on Lake Shore Drive.

Ava Dally, who has been the manager of the winery's original Lake George tasting room on the village's Canada Street for three years, now manages both tasting rooms, with support from two assistant managers and a staff of about 20 part-timers.

Commenting on the expansion, Sasha Pardy said, “For over nine years, thanks to our Canada Street tasting room visitors, we have been fortunate to see growth year after year, from a 1,000-case microwinery in 2008 to a 13,000-case winery now with over 500 club members, shipping to 35 states and selling our wines at nearly 400 liquor stores and restaurants across upstate New York.

"We’ve always wanted to have a second tasting room, we just had to find the right time and the right location. As we have become more familiar with the Lake George tourism economy over the years, we recognized that Bolton Landing would be a great spot to open. The business owners in Bolton Landing are all very supportive of each other and the visitors and residents have a deep love for this little town."

• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
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• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail