Field Notes

News and Updates from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation
Regional Spotlight

New York Rocks

I’ve always liked rocks. As a child growing up on Long Island, I had a rock “garden” in the backyard, and trips to the mall were highlighted by a visit to the store Natural Wonders where I’d spend my pocket money on a new gem stone for my collection that was kept in a secret hiding spot in my bedroom. When Fluorite came home with me? Big day. I remember being a very self satisfied eleven year old for knowing the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks before it was taught in science class. I like the thrill of the “hunt” for the right rock. Maybe I was just overly influenced by the adventures of Indiana Jones? Stones were my long lost artifacts.

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Winemakers & Shakers

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard brings the feeling of Sonoma to Upstate New York

In March 2020, one week before the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown, Jenny Menges was on a press trip in London. She was there with the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, representing Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, where she’s the Director of Operations. “No job is perfect,” she smiles, “but this one is pretty close.” For Jenny and the rest of the team, working at Wiemer is more than a job. It’s more like an extended family, and she was eager to get home to it.

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Latest

Grower Survey Results and Sustainability Advisory Committee Nominations

This has been an exciting year for sustainable winegrowing in New York! The development of a statewide sustainable winegrowing certification program is finally under way. This program is the culmination of numerous of efforts by growers, extension agents, and industry associations over the past decade. We have now a reached a critical mass of consumer demand, industry support, and institutional backing to make it happen.

Incentives are available to help your vineyard save with solar!

Going solar is a strategic way for wineries cut overhead costs by producing their own electricity, on-site. Thanks to New York State grants and Federal tax incentives, overall costs can be reduced by more than 75% after all incentives are utilized. In fact, many businesses are seeing a payback period of under five years on a solar project that produces free electricity for over 35 years!

New Vines Winery Celebrates 10 Years

One of the smallest wine producers in the Finger Lakes is celebrating a huge milestone: New Vines Winery turns ten this year. High school sweethearts and Rochester natives, Todd and Dani Eichas always dreamed of retiring to Finger Lakes wine country. As wine and gardening enthusiasts, the couple decided that dream would include growing grapes. The Eichases purchased land to build their bed and breakfast overlooking Seneca Lake in 2007 and that same year, Todd put his green thumb to work planting the first vines. New Vines Winery officially opened in 2011. Now in its tenth year, New Vines Winery grows one acre of grapes and produces approximately 300 cases of Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Lemberger, Cabernet Franc, and Marquette Rosé.

New York Wine and Grape Foundation to Update VineBalance for Statewide Sustainability Program

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is developing a third-party certification for sustainably farmed grapes and wine. The purpose of the RFP is to provide high level strategic and structural recommendations for certification design based on sustainability best practices, while balancing the small-scale and independent nature of New York’s wine industry. The ideal candidate will be experienced in East Coast climate and agriculture, viticulture and enology, international standards of sustainable winegrowing, and environmental certifications deployed by other agricultural industries. The VineBalance RFP is available here and responses are due by June 30, 2021.

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.

The Unsung Grapes of New York State

Let’s explore the vineyards together through the lens of six “Unsung Grapes” of New York State! You may discover a new favourite! In my chats with the producers of each wine we’ll look at the factors that go into choosing what varieties to plant; a grape’s suitability for New York terroir; their viticultural pros and cons; and – if these varieties have a future in New York State? Away we go!