The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Grape harvest looks good: Experts

  • A good year for grape harvests and high quality wine are likely to be followed by a great year for marketing, according to wine experts.

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  • A good year for grape harvests and high quality wine are likely to be followed by a great year for marketing, according to wine experts.
    After years of struggling to market their products on a national scale, local wineries have an advocate in Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced new marketing initiatives during his recent State of the State address.
    "We applaud Governor Cuomo's clear intention and entrepreneurial approach to improving the business climate in New York State," Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said in a recent statement.
    "In our business, you need a good climate to grow good grapes, but you also need a good business climate to grow the industry. These new initiatives, combined with those from the (October) Summit, are major steps in that direction."
    Cuomo’s plans include:
    • A new "Taste-NY" network of duty-free retail stores to promote New York-grown and produced products (including wine where appropriate and allowed). The stores will be located at Thruway rest stops, train stations and airports.
    •A "Market NY" program focusing on special event marketing throughout the state to add to the existing programs of wineries and wine trails. Trezise said the Market NY effort essentially doubles the length of the tourism season through festivals, concerts, wine-and-food weekends, and other events.
    • An innovative and effective program of viticulture and wine technology at Finger Lakes Community College, in Canandaigua.
    Those new initiatives, combined with regulatory changes, new funding for promotion of farm-based beverages and the creation of task forces announced at Cuomo’s summit are a real boost to New York’s wineries, Trezise said.
    "We are excited and energized by the Governor's commitment to grow our industry, and we are committed to partnering with his administration to make that happen," he said.
    Finger Lakes wines were also the toast of Obama’s inaugural festivities, with a place at the table of Vice President Joe Biden’s luncheon for dignitaries.
    Both the local wines and tourism are up to the challenge of 2013.
    Last year’s odd weather patterns led to a spectacular year for local vineyards.
    “It was some of the best we’ve seen in our 40 years of growing these grapes,” John McGregor, owner of McGregor Vineyards on Keuka Lake, said.
    An unusually warm March kick-started growth about a month early, followed by a warm, dry summer and an early frost-free harvest.
    “(Mother Nature) was giving us a gift, and it will certainly be one we will remember,” said David Stamp, vineyard manager for Lakewood Vineyards on Seneca Lake.
    And the area’s wine trails are gearing up for special occasions, according to Finger Lakes Wine Country.
    The Keuka Lake Wine Trail seven-member wineries provide award-winning wines with unique characteristics and personality. The Crooked Lake wineries also have slated events such as Viva Italia! in April, Keuka in Bloom in May, and Harvest Celebration of Food and Wine in September.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is the largest wine trail in the east with more than 30 member wineries. This trail offers weekends of wine and food in its new Preferred Pairing Event Series on the last Saturday of January, February and March.
    The popular Finger Lakes Wine Festival returns to Watkins Glen International in July.
    The first organized and longest running wine trail in the United States, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail will mark its 30th anniversary this year with events including Mardi Gras Weekend and the Wine & Herb Festival.
    For more information on wine trail events and special savings, go to www.FingerLakesWineCountry.com. #

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