The Potential and Practicality of Regenerative Winegrowing in New York Vineyards

The practical benefits of building soil organic carbon have been recognized by farmers for generations, though perhaps not for the purpose of combating climate change. Undisturbed soils, rich in ground cover, have higher organic matter, microbial biodiversity, and water infiltration, making them better suited to agriculture.

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation Announces “Best of Class” from the 2021 New York Wine Classic

Known as “The Oscars®” of New York wine competitions, the Classic is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. New this year, NYWGF partnered with the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) to judge wines submitted from across New York state. A total of 1 Platinum, 138 Gold, 355 Silver, and 104 Bronze medals were awarded by BTI’s trained sensory panel comprised of beverage directors, sommeliers, top bartenders, retail buyers and educators.

Concord grapes hanging from vine

Welch’s launches ‘game-changing’ ingredients for New York winemakers

The Welch’s Concord grape juice brand is world-renowned and has been a staple of breakfast tables in millions of American households for more than a century. Now, in an exciting new diversification, Welch’s ingredients division has commercially launched a new de-characterized grape juice ingredient for New York State winemakers.

USDA Logo

USDA Offering Two Webinars in March for Beginning Farmers in New York State

To institutionalize support for beginning farmers and ranchers and to build upon prior agency work, the 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to create a national coordinator position in the agency and state-level teams for four of its agencies – Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Rural Development (RD).

Don’t call it a pivot. For New Yorkers, adaptation is in our roots.

Next month will mark one year since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New York state. An unprecedented year? You can say that again! (Actually, do me a favor and don’t ever say that again.) But for all the uncertainty, stress, and heartbreak of this past year, the perseverance of our fellow New Yorkers is something we know we can always count on.

Lift black voices, and more ways to celebrate Black History Month

To continue to raise awareness of black voices in our community, and to give you more ways to celebrate Black History Month, we encourage you to check out the resources below. A particular note for winery and growers, The Oregon Wine Board has promoted the free Starbucks “To Be Welcoming,” series to their community, and they are hosting thoughtful seminars on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the upcoming 2021 Oregon Wine Symposium.

woman holding glass of red wine to her nose to smell aroma. Blurry image of a man is seen in background.

Adaption and innovation to be key themes at upcoming Cornell virtual event for the wine and grape industry

Despite the pandemic, wine and grape producers, managers, researchers and industry professionals will have access to expertise spanning many different business, enology and viticulture topics at the upcoming B.E.V. NY [Business. Enology. Viticulture.] conference from March 3-5. All sessions will be virtual with a focus on how to not only adapt but innovate all levels of operations.

Jancis Robinson holding a wine glass

B.E.V. NY Presents: Keynote Speaker, Jancis Robinson

Voted the world’s most influential wine critic in polls in the US, France and internationally in 2018, Jancis views herself as a wine writer rather than a wine critic. She writes daily for JancisRobinson.com and weekly for the Financial Times. She is founder-editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author with Hugh Johnson of The World Atlas of Wine (4.7 million copies sold just before the 8th edition was published in October 2019) and co-author of Wine Grapes, each of these books recognised as a standard reference worldwide.

NYWGF Remains Focused on Connecting New York’s Wineries with Industry Leading Experts

In his budget proposal, Governor Cuomo restored NYWGF’s funding to its pre-COVID amount. While two months remain until the Governor and Legislature agree to a final state budget, this commitment from the Governor provides NYWGF the assurance to properly plan an organizational budget and programming plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Next Big Audience: Millennials are coming into their own as wine consumers

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”…

Glass of wine against cozy fireplace background, hygge concept.

January Fireside Chat with Sam Filler & Special Guests

Our Fireside Chat in January was focused around the New York Grape Growers. Topics include an update on new Grower Membership Tiers and the benefits provided within each. We also talked about NYWGF’s new marketing campaign roll-out plan. We welcome you to share your ideas on how we can best shine a spotlight on New York’s growers.

The State of the Wine Industry: SVB Report & Leveraging Data

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.

Electronic Filing Now Available for Alcoholic Beverage Tax Return

New York State recently updated the Alcoholic Beverage Tax Return to allow for electronic filing beginning with returns due January 20, 2021. NYS has created the MT-456 which replaces the MT-50 but remains very similar in the required information needed and added fields that can be filled in electronically. Please note- you will first need to save the form to your computer before you begin filling in information, or else the data you input will not save.

New Member Benefit: Finance, Accounting & Tax Resources

To assist our members with critical questions about tax planning, inventory accounting, general accounting, excise tax/TTB issues, sales tax, and more the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is pleased to offer a new benefit for Members, in partnership with Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP. Beginning in December 2020, members will have access to financial and tax guidance in webinar form, as well as through individual consulting for their specific needs provided via a 60-minute one-on-one session.

One-on-One Coaching with Sandra Hess & DTC Wine Workshops Consulting Agency

As a reminder, for NY Drinks NY participants, virtual workshops will be supplemented by an individual coaching session with a member of the DTC Consultant Network, led by Sandra Hess. Each winery will be provided with a 1.5 hour online coaching session to address a challenge or opportunity of their choice. Network consultants work to ensure your team uses the ideal blends of tools, talent and technologies to achieve direct to consumer wine sales success.

Quality winemaking starts in the vineyard

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.

Free Finance, Accounting & Tax Tools

With the complexities and new business realities of 2021, professional finance and tax tools for New York’s wineries and growers are needed now more than ever. To assist our members with critical questions on tax planning, inventory accounting, general accounting, excise tax//TTB issues and sales tax, the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is pleased to offer a new benefit for Tier 2 & 3 Winery Members as well as Growers, in partnership with Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP.  These members

Reflecting on the valuable work of trade associations

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.

Reflecting on Seasons Past

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.

New York Wine & Grape Foundation issues RFP for Grape and Wine Research

For 35 years, NYWGF has annually distributed funds to projects that provide the New York State wine and grape industry with short-term solutions and long-term strategic directions. Click here for a list of previously funded projects.

The Research Committee of the Board of Directors now welcomes new proposals for 2021. Proposals will be due by January 25th, 2021.

Funding Secured for Sustainability Program in New York

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.

We took the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge

By now you may have heard that thousands of individuals and hundreds of local organizations have joined together to take a community-wide 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is dedicated to learning and taking action to create an equitable community for all, so over the past month, our staff has committed to furthering our understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity with the help of the United Way of Greater Rochester.

USDA Logo

Dec. 11 Deadline Approaching for USDA Program for Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) by Dec. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers facing market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. “With over 300 eligible commodities, from livestock and row crops to specialty crops and aquaculture, most farmers and ranchers are

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving Eve we want to take the opportunity to express how thankful we are for the continued support of the amazing wine and grape community here in New York state. To our winery and grower members, your passion, creativity, and dedication excite our minds and palates, and inspire us to keep pushing forward in our mission. To our dedicated business associate partners, we thank you for helping us

Gov. Cuomo Tightens On-Premise Regulations, SLA Issues Guidance

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.

Happy Veterans Day

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.

Foundation Updates: Marketing, Membership, and the New York Wine Classic

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.

Growers Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0

With the wine and grape industry being directly impacted by the financial effects of COVID-19, the USDA has developed programs to assist with relief to those affected.   Wine grapes are now eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) funds.  Grape producers (persons or legal entities) who face continued market disruptions and significant marketing costs are eligible for CFAP 2.0 payments.  Here is the USDA’s fact sheet with

Strategy Planning for 2021 and Beyond

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.

Quality looks good, but low yields mean hardship for grape growers

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.

Grape harvest stands out as a bright spot in 2020

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 read that harvest stands out as a bright spot as fruit quality continues to be

autumn vineyard with bright yellow leaves

Our thoughts go out to our colleagues in Napa Valley

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 you would like to do something to help, you can contribute to Napa Valley Community Foundation and

Keep Calm and Drink NYS Wine

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 and an uncertain future. I acknowledge the veiled pessimism of my words, however I urge

When the only thing constant is change… so it goes.

“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 in Canandaigua. I appreciated what August wrote because it reminded me that we can count

Governor Cuomo Announces Virtual Taste NY Producer Showcase to Boost New York’s Farms, Small Food and Beverage Businesses

Pilot Program to Kick-off in the Adirondacks and Capital Region Online Business-to-Business Networking Event Will Connect Taste NY Producers with Potential New Buyers of Food Products Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the virtual Taste NY Producer Showcase, which was created to boost business for New York’s farms and small food and beverage makers. The first of its kind, online business-to-business networking event will help to connect New York’s agricultural

Guidance for Wineries Regarding Live Music

Recently, the State Liquor Authority issued clarifying guidance on “Live Music” permissions at establishments licensed for on-premise alcohol sales.  An email was sent to every licensee; however, it has come to our attention that not every winery received this message from the SLA.  A copy of the email message is reproduced below.  The COVID Reopening mandatory rules actually have not changed at all.  The State is proactively engaging in enforcement measures against licensees who are not

Winery Membership Update: New Dues and Benefits Structure

Today we are excited to be launching our new membership model. While we certainly wanted to build a membership ‘toolkit’ that would be more responsive to needs in light of COVID-19, we knew the need to build our collective industry intelligence, diversify business models, and scale up to meet the demands of the online marketplace was coming – even before the pandemic.  Our membership programs and services are dedicated to telling the amazing story of New

Three-Part Series Offered on Tasting Room & Hospitality Challenges

New York Wine & Grape Foundation offers a Three-Part Series on Tasting Room & Hospitality Challenges Dates: September 10th, 24th and October 8thTime: 10:00AM EST to 11:30AM ESTParticipation is Free and Open to All New York Wineries. Click here to register online.  OverviewJoin the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and the Wine Industry Sales Education (WISE) Academy for a special Community Forum Series designed to help New York wineries optimize the guest experience as they grapple

USDA Logo

USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs for Organic Certification

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, are due Oct. 31, 2020. “For producers producing food with organic certification, this program helps cover

USDA Logo

New USDA Survey to Measure Areas for Improvement

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2020 – WASHINGTON, August 7, 2020 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a new annual survey of farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners. The survey will help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA). A selection of 28,000 producers will receive the survey

USDA Logo

Farm Service Agency in New York to Host Meetings on Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Contact Information:Lynnette Wright315-477-6309Lynnette.wright@usda.gov SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, July 27, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in New York is hosting two meetings about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The first meeting will be Wednesday, August 5th at 7pm, and the second will be Thursday, August 6th at 10 am. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is available to farmers and ranchers whose commodity prices

Preventing Heat Stress and Strain in the Vineyard

Summer weather can place vineyard workers in dangerously hot environments. Combining physically demanding work and long days with hot temperatures puts workers at risk for several types of heat stress. Click below to download a flyer with vital information on heat stress and strain symptoms and education and training tips, courtesy of American National Insurance.

Re-engineering the 20th FLX International Wine & Spirits Competition in the Covid-19 Era

Twenty years ago, Camp Good Days & Special Times initiated the first Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition (FLIWC).  The objective was to establish FLIWC to raise money for programs for children and their families impacted by cancer, and to provide a platform for finger lakes wineries to showcase the quality of finger lakes wines. Today the FLIWC has an international reputation for excellence and attracts wine from all over the US, Canada

New York Wine & Grape Foundation Partners with Think Drink Global to Raise the Profile of New York Wines in Western Europe

PENN YAN NY, July 9, 2020 – The New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) is pleased to announce a new, creative partnership with Think Drink Global (TDG) designed to manage New York wines’ trade- and media-focused marketing and educational programs in Western Europe. TDG is a collaboration between three wine industry veteran firms, R&R Teamwork in London, Vinconnexion in Paris, and O’Donnell Lane in Sonoma, CA. Through the USDA-funded Export

multi-colored wine bottles on white background

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Packaging Supplier

Waterloo Container proudly supports the industry that supports us by maintaining a Business Associate Membership with the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Offering insights into packaging related topics is another important way we help members make good choices with their hard-earned money and all-important brand. Whether new or established, successful wineries must re-examine packaging supply choices regularly. A good place to start is with your packaging provider. Things to Consider When

black background with Padilla and Joe Smith company logos

New York Wine & Grape Foundation Partners with Padilla to Launch Global Messaging Campaign

PENN YAN NY, July 7, 2020 – The New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Padilla, an integrated marketing firm headquartered in Minneapolis with offices in New York, Chicago, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Padilla will be responsible for leading an ambitious project intended to build upon NYWGF’s recent rebrand and expand the presence of New York wines globally. The new Boldly, NY.

New York Wine & Grape Foundation Releases 2019-2020 Annual Report

Dear Friends, We are pleased to share with you the New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s Annual Report for 2019-2020.  The Foundation supports the establishment of new wineries, funds vital research on grape growing and wine making at Cornell University and other leading research institutions, supports programs to stimulate tourism and expand the availability of New York wines in major urban markets like New York City, and enhances the reputation for

london skyline

You’re Invited to Join the NYWGF Export Program

Have you ever wondered how some New York wineries are selling their products successfully in international markets and garnering worldwide press? Much of the behind the scenes work is done by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s Export Program. Through a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and the Market Access Program (MAP), we assist New York wineries seeking to explore opportunities in markets abroad. The Export Program

glass of red wine with a vineyard in the background

FAQ: Outdoor Tastings For New York Wineries

Recently Governor Cuomo announced that outdoor dining would be permitted starting June 4th at restaurants located in regions currently in Phase 2 for reopening. Those regions currently include: the Capital Region, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York. NYWGF received notification from the NY State Liquor Authority (SLA) that this privilege extends to craft beverage tasting rooms.  For