Field Notes

News and Updates from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The Press Deck

New York’s Bounty of Food and Beverages on Full Display at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago

Nothing like a 15-foot tower piercing the airspace in the American Food Fair pavilion in the North Hall of Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention center to clearly project the message of Boldly, N.Y. at this year’s National Restaurant Show. For four action-packed days, New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets, Apple Association, Cider Association, and NYWGF featured wines, ciders, apples, cheeses, and yogurts all showcased together in what many said was

picture of red grapes on the vine

The Triple Bottom Line of Vineyard Sustainability

How do we measure the sustainability of the New York wine and grape industry? In sustainable agriculture, performance is measured using the “triple bottom line” framework. In addition to financial accounting, the triple bottom line framework also recognizes environmental and social returns. Over the past month, the NYWGF Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee has been collectively working to define the triple bottom line of sustainability for the New York wine and

NYWGF taking steps toward a more equitable, inclusive, & sustainable future.

June marks the start of Pride Month when our nation celebrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community. Brittany Gibson, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, shared an excellent article earlier this week with her members on how they can support Pride Month activities. And CNET posted a comprehensive article on how to get involved with Pride Month both personally and from a business perspective. Everybody enjoys celebrating life, so let us throw open the doors to our “Big Tent” and invite everyone in to discover how New York wine always makes the best compliment to any occasion.

Support for sustainability continues to grow in wine and grape industry

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.

Inaccurate and out-of-date vineyard survey data threatens the New York State grape industry.

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.

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.

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”…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

white text on black background: Diversity is our Strength. Unity is our Power.

Diversity is our Strength. Unity is our Power.

The team at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation feels it is important to start this week’s Press Deck with a note addressing recent current events. Speaking up about social or political issues is not what we are accustomed to doing, as the organization exists to conduct promotional and research programs on behalf of the grape and wine industry in New York. That being said, no one is accustomed