Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NY: 98 new wineries open in past 5 years

Among the items dotting the weekly e-letter of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, there's this note from director Jim Trezise:

NEW WINERIES keep popping up all over New York State, with two more recently licensed: Angelica Winery in the Hudson Valley, and Coyote Moon in the Thousand Islands region, which I expect will grow strongly during the next few years in grape acreage (Minnesota varieties), number of wineries, and reputation. They also have a champion in Senator Darrell Aubertine, who chairs the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee and is a strong advocate of agriculture. During the past five years, 98 new wineries have opened in New York State, exceeding the 20-year period of the 1980’s and 1990’s and in effect quadrupling the growth rate. What other New York industry is growing at that rate? And what other industry brings so many value-added benefits to rural New York in terms of agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, transportation, and quality of life? The $3.4 billion that our industry generated for New York State’s economy in 2004 is now probably $3.8 billion or more, and we hope to update that study next year. Meanwhile, we’ve already commissioned the New York Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to conduct an updated New York winery survey so we can compare 2008 with 2003 in certain areas. As of today, we’re at 261 licensed wine producers (not including satellite stores), with about 20 more licenses pending. I expect we’ll top 300 by the end of this year, despite the horrible economy. Wine—the ultimate value-added product.

and let me add these notes, too

THINK LOCAL…DRINK LOCAL…UNCORK NEW YORK! is the message that will play every 20 minutes for the next three months on the mammoth (26 x 20 foot) CBS “Super Screen” in the heart of Times Square Plaza. The three successive calls to action are accompanied by a three-part “pour sequence” of red wine flowing from a bottle into a glass, photographed by Randall Tagg in conjunction with our own Susan Spence, along with the web site URL (www.newyorkwines.org). The message will run 6,588 times and generate more than 1,500,000 impressions daily, or 183 million over three months.

UNCORK NEW YORK radio campaign will also run throughout the month of April in all markets except New York City (where the Times Square ad is running) and Long Island (where we’re investing in print because it make more sense than radio in that market). The overall message: Spring is here, it’s time to get out, wine country is just around the corner no matter where you live in New York, and visiting nearby wineries is a great day trip or wonderful weekend. Tourism is the lifeblood of the New York wine industry, which in turn is the major catalyst for tourism in rural New York. Last year’s visitor counts and spending mirrored gas prices—when they hit $4 a gallon it was like someone threw a switch (to “Off”)—and now that they’re back down we want consumers to take a “gas-tank holiday” that’s fun, educational, and tasteful. Budget permitting, we’ll also revive our funding of New York’s dozen wine trails, which have been so successful in boosting tourism over the years.

CONCORD GRAPE JUICE will also be advertised heavily on radio during April, an extension of our campaign to promote the many health benefits it brings to people of all ages. (Fortunately, it is legal to promote the legitimate health benefits of grape juice, while federal law prevents the same practice for wine despite the many benefits from moderate consumption documented by worldwide medical and scientific research.) Concurrently, Welch’s has launched a major new advertising campaign featuring Alton Brown which is available for viewing at www.welchs.com/altonbrown. Juice made from Concord grapes is, like red wine, rich in polyphenols which promote cardiovascular health, long-term cognitive function, and a healthy immune system, leading Welch’s to label it The Original Super Juice ™. Concord grapes are also vital for New York’s agricultural economy, representing about two-thirds of all the acreage and tonnage of New York grapes. During the past few years, the New York Wine & Grape Foundation has had sufficient funding to maintain a major Concord promotion program, including a special web site (www.healthyconcordgrapes.com). Depending on the outcome of the State budget (presumably in a couple weeks), we hope to continue it this year.

Spumante is Cherry Valley's calling card

Among the wineries that very much push their fruit and sparkling wines is Cherry Valley Vineyards in Saylorsburg, Pa., not far off routes 33 or 80. A member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, Dominic and Mary Sorrenti have been building their business for more than 12 years, and one look at the wine list reflects the kind of wines they've found successful.

Probably best known for their award-winning Spumantes, they also produce a Champagne, four berry and fruit wines, and five blush wines. That's on top of a group of seven white wines that range from Chardonnay to the semi-sweet Vignoles, and 10 reds that run the gamut from Chambourcin to Concord.

They make no bones about what they've found works for them, pushing vines out of the hilly terrain of the Poconos. If you haven't been to their Web site, here's what they've crafted for their introductory message.

"Pennsylvania's Cherry Valley is not California (nor is it France, Italy, Australia or Chile.) So, it isn't too surprising that the grapes that grow in California (or France, Italy, Australia or Chile) don't grow very well here. We have different temperature patterns, soil, rainfall, etc. Don't look for a fine Pinot, Merlot or Cabernet made from our grapes, you will be disappointed.

"There are many grapes (including a lot of fine French hybrids) that are very happy here. They just have names with which you may not be familiar. Leon Millot, Foch, DeChaunac, Seyval and others. It is worth becoming familiar with these grapes. The wine is fine!

"Pennsylvania grows some wonderful grapes. Some make a delicious, dry, full-bodied, high-tanin wine. Others make delicate, fresh, semi-dry wines. Still others produce a luscious, grapey blush. But wait, there's more.

"Pennsylvania also grows fruit. Our wine makers have developed a whole cellar of 100% fruit wines, including Apple, Peach, Raspberry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Blueberry and more. Good fruit wines are both rare and difficult to make. Ours are exceptional and most are repeat medal winners.

"Then there are sparking wines. We have won more prizes for our Spumantes than we can count. They come in a rainbow of colors and fruits and are not to be missed. These too are Pennsylvania wines.

"We'd be holding out on you if we didn't mention that we make Champagne as well. That is right, Pennsylvania Champagne. Good luck buying a bottle, we frequently sell out well in advance of New Year's Eve. Why? Real Champagne is made Method Champagnoise. It ain't easy. But if you do it with art, craft and love, you get very good, dry Champagne.

"Wine from Pennsylvania? It is great! And we've won the awards to prove it."