The energy behind the sustainability movement in the grape and wine industry continues to build across the United States. Last week, NYWGF partnered with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to virtually host the second U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit. Over two hundred people joined the summit to hear remarks from journalists Ray Isle and Julia Coney, viticulturists, winemakers, and marketing leaders. NYWGF’s participation in planning these summits began in 2017, which instigated our own efforts to revitalize VineBalance and establish a statewide sustainability certification program. Sustainability presents our nation’s grape growers the opportunity to seize a leadership position and demonstrate how agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change.
A positive business climate for New York grape growers and vintners depends on maintaining up-to-date statistics on statewide vineyard acreage, varietals planted, and annual production. Accurate data supports NYWGF’s effort to market the grape and wine industry effectively, and it facilitates how our board prioritizes research investments. And, survey data on production can provide benchmark production figures to compare against other US grape growing regions and between regions within New York.
Brittany Gibson, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, provided her members an excellent summary of the panel’s discussion on changing wine consumer demographics. She described her main take away as, “Millennials are coming into their own as wine consumers. They are the next big audience.” Brittany provided the following summary on the report’s description of “Millennial values”…
This year’s report presents an optimistic vision for the year ahead; compared to a dourer outlook last January with first decline in the growth in wine consumption reported in 20 years. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated changes in tasting room service and how wine is sold online. SVB predicts that we are moving into the golden age of wine e-commerce.
I remember early in my career working in New York’s farm based beverage industry a conversation that I had with Chris Gerling at an introduction to distilling workshop at Catskill Distilling Company. Admittedly, I was super green behind the ears when it came to wine making and really any fermentation process. Chris properly schooled me when he simply described how to make a quality wine, “You can’t make good wine from bad grapes, but you can make bad wine from good grapes.” Reading between the lines, he helped me deduce that quality winemaking starts in the vineyard.
I am excited to be starting my 5th year at the helm of the Foundation. I am grateful to the industry, supporters of the industry, the Foundation team, and the Foundation Board for supporting me as we have worked together to enhance New York’s reputation as a world class grape and wine region. I also value the opportunity each January to refresh my goals and determinations for the upcoming year.
As we turn the page on 2020 and I reflect on the last four years at the helm of NYWGF, I fondly remember my anticipation building in December 2016 as I prepared to join the NYWGF team in January. I received an invitation to join in a Finger Lakes tradition, the NYS Wine Grape Growers Association’s (NYSWGG) annual holiday party. That year it was hosted at the Elk’s Lodge in Penn Yan. I attended with the State’s craft beverage guru Stefan Fleming, and I remember that a hearty spaghetti dinner was served.
Our first step in this process is to create a business plan for the program to ensure its long-term sustainability. While we have about two years of funding in-hand, we think that it is important to establish a clear strategic direction and program design to ensure it can become a statewide and self-sustaining program.
Last week, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.74, which requires that all licensed establishments with on premises privileges (including manufacturers with tasting rooms) to cease all on premises service of food and drink (indoors or outdoors) at or before 10:00PM, daily. Such establishments may reopen for in-person service at 5:00AM, daily, provided however that alcoholic beverage service may not resume until the later of any stipulated opening hour on the license or the county on premises opening hour.
Did you know, New York is home to the nation’s fifth largest veteran population, with over 718,000 veterans? We should all be proud of New York’s rich history and tradition of its citizens answering the call to serve. Many veterans have returned to start their own businesses in New York’s craft beverage industry and are making award winning products. So, let us take time today to recognize and honor our country’s veterans and thank them for their service.
I am writing this message prior to November 3rd, so the Press Deck will be conspicuously silent on the election results. No matter what happens, I am confident that one thing will remain true – Americans will welcome Thanksgiving as an opportunity to connect and celebrate with family and friends. Even if the connection comes with the help of FaceTime or Zoom, I know it will be all the more meaningful and re-energize us for a new year and new challenges to come.
As we approach the final days of harvest with activity on the press pads slowing and the juice finding a temporary home in tanks, hopefully many in our industry are able to stop and take a quick breath of air before we find ourselves in the fury of the holiday season. This period presents a good time for all of us to begin thinking about our 2021 strategies and plans.
This has been a difficult year on many fronts, so while I usually focus my weekly editorial on the positive stories emerging from New York’s grape and wine industry, I felt that it was important to also share the growers’ harvest experience this year.
I enjoy keeping up to date with this Fall’s harvest in Cornell’s Véraison to Harvest Newsletter that is edited by Tim Martinson and Chris Gerling. The newsletter provides a valuable update on the progress of harvest across the state including detailed reports on berry samples. Given all the tumult this year, I am encouraged to […]
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our colleagues in Napa Valley who face the threat of yet another fire this year. COVID already made this a challenging year as wineries across the country had to rapidly readjust their businesses. It is unfortunate that for some their difficulties now include tainted grapes and damaged or destroyed property. If […]
This year’s upside-down nature makes some days feel great, other days marginal, and hopefully only a few days confounding and discouraging. I describe it as a mixed-bag year because we have endured the COVID challenges longer than expected by adapting to a new business environment while balancing the loss of tried and true business practices […]
“A new place in the background, and a reminder of the new reality we’re living. But the world continues. The grapes still come in, we still make wine, and we continue onward, ”this was posted by August Deimel, Winemaker at Constellation Brands, on his Instagram page yesterday about the beginning of his 12th harvest and his first […]