Category Archives: Agriculture

Smoking out trouble in grape country

This is a sight you don’t see very often, but when you have an erratic late winter and early spring as we saw in the Finger Lakes, it’s not terribly surprising.

This photo shows Magdalena Vineyard, the northernmost of the Herman J. Wiemer Vineyards in the heart of the Finger Lakes, where several weeks ago hay bales were set afire in hopes the smoke would protect the fragile grapes when the temperatures dipped.

As the folks at Wiemer explained it, “Many of you have asked how we dealt with the whims of our weather this year. March decided to come in hot and heavy, sometimes reaching 75 degrees. Then April arrived and threw some cold water on the party, turning the dial down to 25 degrees. But our vines showed typical Finger Lakes resilience, despite the widespread bud damage across the Northeast.

“Our warmer sites were somewhat shielded by the temperature moderating lake effect, and we did our part by summoning colleagues and family members in a three-day around the clock effort by surrounding the vineyards with hay bales. Each bale was set on fire to encourage air circulation and reduce the likelihood of damage. … While it is honestly hard to say whether it is the hay burning spectacular that protected the vines, or whether it was simply the lake effect, we are simply grateful that only small patches of vines surrendered to the cold.”

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Agriculture, Wineries


Golden anniversary for Dr. Frank

This video comes from Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Cellars, the Finger Lakes establishment that this year is marking its 50th anniversary.

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Agriculture, History, Winemaker


HV Food and Beverage Alliance gets going

From Westfair Online

Combine dairy farmers, meat producers, vegetable growers, and beverage makers, sprinkle in some unique niche food businesses, toss with some packaging companies and distributors so each can find the ingredients it needs to work expeditiously, and you’ve created a winning recipe for harnessing the power of agri-business in the Hudson Valley.

That’s the goal of the new Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance, which held its first roundtable at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on February 2. More than 200 companies, economic leaders and home-grown food and drink purveyors attended the standing-room-only conference.

PepsiCo, Gillette Creamery, Crown Maple Syrup Farm, Tuthilltown Spirits and restaurateur Peter X. Kelly were just a few of the dozens of attendees representing Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

[Go here for the full story.]

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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Agriculture, Marketing


Dept. of Competitive Information

Attention all New York State winemakers. There’s bad news/good news coming from the land of your biggest domestic competitors.

• The bad news (for California): Late freezes and untimely rain negatively impacted California’s wine grape harvest just as vintners had predicted. The 2011 harvest was down 7% to 3.3 million tons. When table grapes are included, the overall tonnage of the California fruit still was down, by 3%.

• The good news (for New York): See above.

According to the preliminary harvest report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reduced supply has meant increased prices for California wines in general.

Napa County had the highest prices for grapes with an average $3,400 per ton, an increase if 5% from 2010. Grapes from Sonoma and Marin counties sold at an average of $2,081 a ton, up 3%.

Factoring in all wine grape-growing regions in California, the average price for red wine grapes went up 12% to $702 a ton, while for white it went up 8% to $541.

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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Agriculture, Research


• Bills would aid NY wine, beer makers

The revival of the push to legalize wine sales in New York State grocery stores isn’t the only activity going on in the State Legislature that concerns adult beverages.

State Senator David Carlucci, D-Rockland/Orange, has introduced a trio of bills that would affect both the wine and brewing industries in the state. They are part of a larger agriculture reform legislation package. As explained by his office:

  • Bill S.1909 would make it easier for small wineries to sell their product to restaurants. Currently, wineries that wish to make such sales are required to register as a wine wholesaler and comply with record keeping requirements that small wine makers have neither the manpower nor the expertise to handle.
  • Bill S.4533 would allow wineries to be able to rent their space to home winemakers. Other major wine producing states, such as California and Washington, already allow this additional revenue stream.
  • Bill S.5078 would create a new farm brewery license that would allow farmers to brew beer on their property as long as they use a certain percentage of New York State-grown products. The bill would allow commercial sales on farm property and would cap the number of barrels brewed under this license to 15,000 a year.

“It is not only essential that we work to actively promote our family farms, but that we also seek ways to make sure they continue to grow and prosper,” Carlucci said. “This package of legislation will provide the tools needed to support our farmers, promote locally grown agricultural products and preserve our valuable farm land.”

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• Wine & Grape Foundation breathing again

It appears that last-minute maneuvering has saved the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

The industry lobbying and education group had been zeroed out of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2011-2012 state budget, which foundation president Jim Trezise said would mean its quick demise.

However, $713,000 has been inserted into the budget by the state Legislature’s Joint Budget Subcommittee on Environment, Agriculture, and Housing, Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, a Long Island Republican, said today.

Among its numerous activities, the Wine & Grape Foundation created and runs the annual New York Wine & Food Classic, a competition for New York wines that helps popularize New York wines and helps winemakers market their products.

A call to the Foundation office in Canandaigua for comment was referred to Trezise, who was said to be working outside the office today. No response has yet been received to a message left with him.

The subcommittee also added $500,000 for the state’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, which will aid vineyards throughout the state.

The grape, grape juice and wine industries contributed more than $3.76 billion in economic benefits to New York’s economy in 2008, according to a study by the Napa Valley-based Stonebridge Research Group LLC, released in January.

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• The grapes of Madison County

CAZENOVIA, NY — Tonight’s Cazenovia Town Planning Board meeting is a crucial one for Ben Reilly.

He is the operations director of the budding Owera Vineyards project, which is seeking to become the first winery in Madison County, with a fall opening being targeted.

So far, things have gone without a legal hitch and final approval is expected from the Planning Board. If received, work will begin as soon as weather permits on the planned 8,500-square-foot winery building and a smaller pole barn. (Architect’s rendering of the main building shown above right.)

Owera Vineyards is located near the intersection of East Lake and North Lake roads on the north shore of Cazenovia Lake. Plans call for several acres of vineyards, a winery and a tasting area for visitors.

In 2008, a variety of grapes were planted on the 60-acre tract owned by Peter Muserlian, along with a range of fruit trees and an organic garden. Experimentation with grape varieties is needed to find those best for the slightly harsher climate compared to that of the Finger Lakes, an hour’s drive west of here. Reilly has said he will apply for state agriculture grants to test different varieties.

When Owera, which has been experimenting this season with ice wines, officially opens, it will mean that 51 of the state’s 62 counties has at least one winery. Given the absence of other wineries nearby, Owera is being planned as a destination site that will host tasting events, live entertainment and guest chef demonstrations and dinners.

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• State’s grape production up 32%

While a lot of other industries have been reporting less output, grape production in New York State increased 32% last year over 2009.

King Whetstone, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office, yesterday confirmed what industry members have anecdotally been saying — that 2009 was a bumper crop. He put the total output at 176,000 tons.

However, the state’s tart cherry crop is estimated at 7.8 million pounds, down 30% from the 2009 crop of 11.2 million pounds, and the apple crop was down 5%, to 1.3 billion pounds.

The grape production breaks down to 4,000 tons of fresh grapes, with 172,000 tons crushed by wineries and processors. Grapes utilized for juice accounted for 70% of the total grapes processed with the remaining 30% going for wine.

The value of the 2010 grape crop is estimated at $68.4 million, 44% above the 2009 crop value. New York ranked third in grape production behind California and Washington state.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Agriculture, Vineyards


• College, winery partners in growing education

CAMBRIA, NY — While some people are concerned about college students paying too much attention to alcoholic beverages, at Niagara County Community College the interest is being channeled in a positive way.

NCCC and Freedom Run Winery have entered into an agreement for the business to host a school vineyard and serve as the working lab for students studying “Winery Operations,” the college’s newest two-year degree program. Also part of the effort is the Niagara Falls Culinary and Hospitality Institute.

The partnership, announced Monday at the winery (part of the tasting room is shown above), “is our first concrete step (in opening) the culinary institute,” said NCCC President James Klyczek. “It’s a significant development.”

The degree program will consist of 20% classroom work and 80% hands-on experience in all aspects of viniculture, from the planting of vines to picking and processing of the fruit through bottling and sale of finished wines, Klyczek said.

Freedom Run Winery donated an acre of land last spring on which the school’s first 300 grape vines were planted. Half are Merlot, half are Chardonnay. Klyczek said the school’s long-term goal is to see wine produced under the Culinary Institute name and served and sold in its restaurant and its wine boutique which is stocked with Niagara Wine Trail wines.

“There’s a real need in Niagara County for anyone with winemaking experience,” said Kurt Guba, cellar master for Freedom Run Winery. “It’s exciting to think you can study at a local college and get a job, a career, locally.”

Niagara Falls Culinary and Hospitality Institute is to be the new focal point of the college’s culinary and hospitality/tourism degree programs, sited in a section of the former Rainbow Mall in downtown Niagara Falls.

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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Agriculture, Campus, Western New York, Wineries


• Pride of NY Harvest Fest thrives in new venue


The multi-level Empire State Plaza Convention Center debuted as Harvest Fest’s home.

ALBANY, NY — The first day of the 15th annual Pride of New York Harvest Fest is in the record books, and by all accounts it has been a good transition from its original home.

The first 14 Fests in the Capital Region — an extra one began last year in Syracuse — were held in the Albany County suburb of Colonie, at The Desmond, a sprawling Colonial Williamsburg-style hotel and convention complex. This year, as part of a push to utilize more state-owned venues, the New York State Agriculture & Markets Department moved it to downtown Albany, in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

Atmospherically, it’s not as upscale, given the convention center’s utilitarian design. However, there is more parking, more room for vendor displays, live music, and today I saw more participation from some of the lesser-known wineries that have been sprouting up around the state in recent years. That, and in increase in the number of craft foods producers from all areas of the state, let visitors to the Grand Tasting rounds try numerous styles of wines as well as ciders, meads, beers, cheeses, breads, olive oils, salsas, sausages, cookies and the like.

A number of vendors agreed with my observation that the crowd is skewing a bit younger, something businesspeople like since they’re trying to get consumers in the habit of looking for New York-made products and the younger you latch on to them, the better chance for continued commerce.

The event continues Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m., with tickets available at the door.

Here are some more scenes from today’s activities:

Joe Messina of Amici Vineyards explains his handiwork.

Roger’s Rustic Rubs & Sauces is headquartered in Hudson Falls.

Carlo DeVito gives the lowdown on his Hudson-Chatham Winery products.

Anticipation .. as the fun goes on.

Campus and vineyards operating side-by-side.

Lupo’s, an Endicott icon, passed out samples of its sauces.

William J. Cooper, in his trademark straw hat, dishes out the sauces.

Thousand Island Winery, one of the lesser-known brands, made its mark here.

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• ‘NY State Wine Market’ at New Amsterdam

NEW YORK — There’s something new coming up at the New Amsterdam Market — the convergence of nearly three dozen New York wineries’ products at one time.

The event, called the New York State Wine Market, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 5. It is being coordinated by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation to promote the state’s wine industry and cash in on the holiday sales season.

The New Amsterdam Market is located on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, facing the historic Fulton Fish Market.,

The wine and cider vendors signed up so far:

7 Vines
Bella Vita Vineyard
Bellwether Hard Cider
Benmarl Winery
Brooklyn Winery
Buttonwood Grove Winery
Cascade Mountain Winery
Chateau LaFayette Reneau
City Winery
Damiani Wine Cellars
Eagle Crest Vineyards
Fox Run Vineyards
Heron Hill Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery
Imagine Moore Winery
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars
Long Island Meadery
Macari Vineyards & Winery
Manhattan Meadery
Martha Clara Vineyards
Mattebella Vineyards
Palmer Vineyards
Robibero Family Vineyards
Scarola Vineyards
Sheldrake Point Vineyard
Spring Lake Winery
Vetter Vineyards Winery
Wagner Vineyards
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
Waters Crest Winery
Wolffer Estate

You can get a list of other vendors — foods, crafts, etc. — scheduled to be at the Market that day by clicking here.

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Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Agriculture, NYC, Tasting Event


• College gets vineyard aid for its farm

BROOKLYN, NY — A California vineyard today announced it is teaming up with Kingsborough Community College to help launch the Kingsborough Urban Farm, the local college’s first project of this kind.

The project, formally called “Build a Garden in Brooklyn,” will be integrated into the school’s academic program and will provide students with the opportunity to grow and harvest healthy, organic produce. The new culinary arts program, student-catering firm, and college cafeteria will use the food produced from the Urban Farm to feed and educate students.

Kingsborough Community College is located on a 71-acre campus in the Manhattan Beach area on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1963 and today serves approximately 30,000 students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts and career education, as well as a number of specialized programs.  The campus overlooks three bodies of water: Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

DeLoach Vineyards, located in the Sonoma Valley, has a reputation of leadership in sustainable practices, innovative “green” technology. It began its conversion to organic and Biodynamic farming practices in 2004.  It achieved organic certification from CCOF in 2008 and earned Demeter certification for its Biodynamic vineyard practices in 2009.

The 2010 harvest is the first as a Biodynamic-certified estate. Many years ago, DeLoach said in a statement, it converted its winery horse pasture into a half-acre organic and Biodynamic® garden of seasonally fresh produce that DeLoach chefs use to prepare meals for winery visitors and employees year-round. In addition, DeLoach emphasizes sustainable farming and the conversion to organic and Biodynamic farming with its grower partners, helping, for example, the Maboroshi Vineyard convert from conventional to Biodynamic practices.  Furthermore, DeLoach uses renewable energy, and reduces its water usage through implementation of an innovative membrane bio-reactor that relies on micro-organisms to purify water used in the winemaking process so it can then be used for landscaping and vineyard irrigation, saving up to two million gallons of water per year.

To spotlight the partnership with KCC, bottle neckers made of seed paper with annual and perennial wildflower seeds will be placed on DeLoach bottles in stores throughout New York City. Fifty cents from the sale of every bottle of DeLoach in the city, up to $5,000, will be donated to help jumpstart the KCC Organic Urban Farm. The sales-focused program will continue to run through January 2011.

No mention yet of planting grapevines on campus, but can such a project be far behind?

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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Agriculture, Brooklyn, NYC


• Standing Stone and the Saperavi grape

HECTOR, NY — Ever hear of the Saperavi grape?

Not many people have, but that didn’t stop Marti and Tom Macinski (right), owners of Standing Stone Vineyards. They planted several rows of Saperavi vines several years ago.

The Saperavi (shown below) comes from the nation of Georgia. It’s an acidic grape used as a common blending grape in Georgia because of that characteristic and the fact its color is intense and the grape lends itself to extended aging and a high alcohol level. It also is a very hardy grape, resistant to cold, always a nice thing in the Finger Lakes.

What the Macinskis’ experiment turned into is an interesting story. You can read it on the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle website.

Standing Stone, founded in 1993, us located near this Schuyler County town at 9934 State Route 414. Phone: (607) 582-6051. The tasting room is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, from May 1 to mid-December. Open only on weekends the rest of the year.

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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Agriculture, Wineries


• Guest comment: More grapes, more tourists

By Wes Kennison
Livingston County News

YORK, NY — Since the first successful commercial winery in New York State was located in the town of York, right here in Livingston County, it is time that we reclaimed our economic history by extending the wine trail throughout our county.

New York State is rising fast in the wine business, winning awards and gaining an identity. The wine business is not just about selling wine. It’s about selling a lifestyle, a history, and a culture.

In Tuscany they call it agriturismo, that is, agro-tourism, and they were a little too good at selling it.

Back in the 1970s, the major cities and market towns of Tuscany became overrun with tourists to the point that quality of life for the locals began to suffer. They seized upon an ingenious strategy to solve the problem. They dispersed the tourism into the countryside by developing tourist locations in the small towns. This not only eased the crushing pressure on the population centers, but it shared the wealth and profit of tourism in the rural areas.

There are all kinds of vacations. Sometimes we define our options too narrowly. We all know about beach vacations, gambling vacations, and museum vacations. We know about state parks and Broadway shows. But other folks around the world know about taking vacations in farm country. These vacations are slow paced and relaxing. You taste the local wines and tasty delights. You discover great little stories from the local history. You follow your interests and find a little corner of the countryside to call your own for a few days. This is called agro-tourism. It’s more than just a wine tour.

[Go here for the rest of this commentary.]

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Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Agriculture, Commentary, Vineyards


• State’s grape harvest is in, and praised

By Jim Trezise
President, NY Wine & Grape Foundation

CANANDAIGUA, NY — New York’s 2010 grape harvest is over, with grape-growers and winemakers not just happy about that, but also about the superb quality of the fruit.

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” the eminently quotable Yankees catcher and manager Yogi Berra said, which is as true for the annual grape harvest as it is for baseball games. hat’s why, even though virtually the entire year had brought near perfect weather going into September, growers and winemakers still held their collective breath while watching the fall weather forecasts.

Hurricane Earl caused some heart palpitations on Long Island, but ended up veering east and just dumping some much needed gentle rain on the vineyards. That was followed by moderate winds that helped prevent disease. And, a subsequent rainstorm turned west of Long Island’s wine country. Some fairly heavy mid-harvest rains in the Finger Lakes created concern, but that, fortunately, turned out to be unfounded. Throughout the state, most people were saying 2010 was the best year they can remember.

In the final edition of the “Veraison to Harvest” e-newsletter published on Friday, Cornell University Enology Extension Associate Chris Gerling provided a great summary of the 2010 harvest based on comments from winemakers in different regions as well as lots of statistics. It came down to three common points:

(1) Although different regions had different weather paths, the overall fruit quality is excellent.

(2) Despite rain early, late and in between, most grapes were kept remarkably clean as long as humanly possible.

(3) It has been an intense period, with many different varieties ripening at once.

Asked to compare 2010 to a recent year, Bedell Cellars winemaker Rich Olsen Harbich, a veteran of Long Island, said, “I’m not sure there is a comparable year. I don’t see it comparing to anything else.”

The Growing Degree Days (GDD) used to measure heat units affecting ripening were far ahead of last year, with more GDDs in the Finger Lakes by the end of August than the end of October last year. On Long Island, the tally on August 31 was about the same as Napa and Sonoma, CA, combined. This year the East Coast and West Coast flipped harvest timetables, with our friends on the left coast still harvesting now. In some cases, they have been hurt by a killing frost which virtually never occurs there.

It’s all a reminder that wine is a farm product, and nature is in charge. We are very fortunate in New York to have had such a stellar year, and the wines released starting next spring should reflect that.

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Posted by on October 30, 2010 in Agriculture, Vineyards


• Pride of NY Harvest Fest(s) near(s)

• The Pride of New York Harvest Fest will be held the weekend of November 6 and 7 at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse.

• The Pride of New York Harvest Fest will be held the weekend of November 13 and 14 at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany.

Confused? Don’t be. The Albany event will be the 15th annual such event, celebrating and sampling wines and food products produced in the state. The Syracuse event is on tap for just the second year.

The original began in the Albany County suburb of Colonie’s Desmond hotel and convention resort, but has moved downtown where there is, theoretically, more parking as well as more elbow room although the Colonial Williamsburg design of the Desmond had much, much more atmosphere than the Empire State Plaza’s convention facilities.

In addition to the grand tasting rounds you can make, each event will offer a variety of seminars and demonstrations. As someone who presented wine demos and talks for nearly a decade at the Albany venue (no, not this year), I can recommend them for anyone who wants to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the fascinating aspects of the New York wine and food industries.

In Syracuse, the wineries scheduled to be pouring samples include:

Americana Vineyards & Winery
Ashley Lynn Winery
Atwater Estates Vineyards and Winery
Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards
Beak & Skiff Apple Winery
Casa Larga Vineyards
Cascade Mountain Winery
Cascata Winery
Crooked Lake Winery
Dr. Franks Vinifera Wine Cellars
Fulkerson Winery
Glenora Wine Cellars
Goose Watch Winery
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
Heron Hill Winery
Hunt Country Vineyards
Imagine Moore Winery
King Ferry Winery – Treleaven Wines
Knapp Vineyards Winery
Lakeland Winery
Lakewood Vineyards
Lieb Cellars
Lime Berry Winery
Long Island Meadery
Merritt Estate Winery
Miles Wine Cellars
Montezuma Winery
Niagara Landing Wine Cellars
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Standing Stone Vineyards
Swedish Hill Winery
Thousand Islands Winery
White Springs Winery

The Albany event will have a similar lineup with some exceptions. The confirmed list includes:

Altamont Vineyard & Winery
Americana Vineyards & Winery
Anthony Road Wine Company
Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards
Bella Vita Vineyard
Brookview Station Winery @ Goold Orchards
Casa Larga Vineyards
Cascade Mountain Winery
Cascata Winery
Cereghino Smith
Crooked Lake Winery
Dr. Franks Vinifera Wine Cellars
Fox Run Vineyards
Fulkerson Winery
Glenora Wine Cellars
Heron Hill Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery
Hunt Country Vineyards
Imagine Moore Winery
Knapp Vineyards Winery
Lakeland Winery
Lakewood Vineyards
Lieb Cellars
Lime Berry Winery
Long Island Meadery
Merritt Estate Winery
Miles Wine Cellars
Montezuma Winery
Pazdar Beverage
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Standing Stone Vineyards
Swedish Hill Winery
Thousand Islands Winery
White Springs Winery

In addition, Brown’s Brewing Company of Troy and the F.X. Matt Brewing Company/Saranac of Utica will be offering samples.

You can get the complete rundown on events, tickets and schedules by clicking here.

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• Soup’s on at Whitecliff Vineyard

GARDINER, NY — Jennifer Stack (right), an instructor of nutrition at the Culinary Institute of America, was front and center at Whitecliff Vineyard‘s recent “Veggies & Vino” event.

Stack supervised her students in meeting the challenge of producing vegetarian food pairings for Whitecliff’s wines at the event. Her own creation, an adaptation of Senegalese Peanut Soup, was paired up with a Gamay Noir. Her much-requested recipe is below.

Incidentally, the Whitecliff fields have yielded 12 tons of Seyval Blanc grapes this harvest season, earmarked for next year’s Awosting White. Demand has been so high this year that Whitecliff has sold out for the season, so a larger output is planned for next year. For now, Whitecliff has released a Seyval Blanc that will be available for tasting and purchase as of this weekend.

Makes 4 quarts

4 small onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoons jalapeño pepper, minced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons mild curry paste
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added, petite diced tomatoes
2 cups creamy peanut butter
6 cups vegetable stock
1 butternut squash, peeled and roasted

Roast the peeled and seeded butternut squash on a greased sheet tray in a 450˚F oven for 30 minutes until very soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and mash.

While the squash is roasting, sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, bell pepper and jalapeño pepper in peanut oil until soft. Add sesame oil, curry paste, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, mashed butternut squash and peanut butter. Stir in the vegetable stock and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. This soup is best if allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator and served for the next few days. The soup can be frozen and gently reheated.
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Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Agriculture, Cuisine, Hudson Valley, Wineries


• Here’s looking at the harvest, up close

Harvest work shown under way at Johnson Estate Winery in Westfield. It is the oldest family-owned estate winery in New York State.

If you are one of those wine lovers who only knows what comes out of a bottle, do yourself a favor this month and go see what it takes to put something into the bottle.

We’re at the height of the fall harvest season, as you can see by the video supplied by the Niagara Wine Trail, and many vineyards in New York State open their premises to people wanting an up-close look at the labors of the harvest. Just call ahead to your favorite place to see what they have available.

Just one example among the state’s nearly 300 vineyards and wineries is Heron Hill where, owner John Ingle notes, “It’s autumn in the Finger Lakes, harvest time, and I feel like I’m sitting on a gold mine. It has been the hottest summer in memory and the result is ultra-ripe grapes. The sweetness level is comparable to middle or late October.”

The still photo above right, from John’s blog, shows work being done on Chardonnay grape picking at Heron Hill’s “Carl’s Block” area, a higher elevation vineyard, Those particular grapes will will be used in his unoaked Chardonnay because they have a higher acidity.

Heron Hill is located alongside Seneca Lake at 9301 County Route 76, Hammondsport. Phone: (800) 441-4241.

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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Agriculture, Videos, Vineyards, Wine


• Harvesting Baco Noir at Benmarl

MARLBORO, NY — Here’s what has been going on for the past few weeks at Benmarl Winery, which is billed as “America’s oldest vineyard.”

Benmarl is located in Ulster County, near New Paltz. Wine has been made from the grapes grown in this Hudson Valley region since the 17th Century when French Hugenot immigrants grew vines and made wine. U.P. Hedrick, author of “The Grapes of New York,” called the region “the birthplace of American viticulture,” citing a planting in 1827 at Croton Point as the nation’s earliest commercially successful vineyard.

Benmarl’s wines vary seasonally, but the portfolio generally includes Slate Hill White, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Traminette and Dry Rosé among its whites; Baco Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet, DeChaunac Cabernet Franc, and Frontenac among its reds; Muscat, Sangria and Sweet Sarah among its sweets.

The winery’s main building is at 156 Highland Avenue, Marlboro. Phone: (845) 236-4265.

Also, see “Here’s looking at the harvest up close.”

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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Agriculture


State’s latest trail a cheese-y undertaking

New York State already has wine trails, a whiskey trail, a beer trail, a beverage trail that straddles those categories, an apple trail … . Now, it can boast the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail.

The new organization consists of more than a dozen cheese houses, and its first major attention-getting activity is the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail Tour.

“What goes more naturally with wine than cheese?” says Larry Wilcox, an organizer of the tour. “New York’s dairy farmers produce very good quality and quantity. You pair those cheeses with the food and wine of the region, and it’s really wonderful.”

Each stop will offer visitors free samples of the house specialties, such as Gouda, goat’s milk, Colby, cheese curds and more, plus tours of the facilities and, in some cases, a chance to see cheesemaking in action.

Tours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, October 9, and noon to 4 p.m. Friday, October 10. The Trail also has scheduled a holiday shopping event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 11.

Participating farms are:

• Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Company, 5491 Bergen Road, off State Route 79, Mecklenberg. (607) 387-3108.
• Keeley’s Cheese Company, 539 Route 34B, King Ferry. (315) 730-6872.
• Finger Lakes Dexter Cheese Creamery, 1853 Black Rock Road, King Ferry. (315) 364-3581.
• Muranda Cheese, 3075 Route 96S, Waterloo. (315) 539-1103.
• Lively Run Goat Dairy, 8878 County Road 142, Interlaken. (607) 532-4647.
• Northland Sheep Dairy, cheese sold only at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. (607) 849-4442.
• Sidehill Acres Goat Farm, 79 Spencer Road (Route 96), Candor. (607) 659-4121.
• Engelbert Farms, 192 Sunnyside Road, Nichols. (607) 699-3775.
• Wake Robin Farm, 125 Brutus Road, Jordan. (315) 689-0034.
• Sunset View Creamery, 4970 County Road 14, Odessa. (607) 594-2095.

A map of the tour is available on its Facebook page. Search for “Finger Lakes Cheese Trail.”

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Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Agriculture, Tasting Event


Wayne Apple Tasting Tour nears

LYONS, NY — Fall and apples are virtually synonymous in agricultural areas. Thus, the 13th annual Wayne County Apple Tasting Tour is expected to draw crowds to the region beginning this Friday. Farm markets, wineries and food vendors will be offering apple product tastings throughout October.

In addition, a special tasting weekend is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, October 8-11, at specific locations:

• Apple Shed, 3391 Maple Ridge Road, Newark
• Burnap’s Farm Market & Garden Café, 7277 Maple Avenue, Sodus
• Cracker Box Palace at Alasa Farms, 6450 Shaker Road, Alton
• Grandview Farm, 1040 Canandaigua Road, Macedon
• Heluva Good Cheese Company Country Store, 6152 Barclay Road, Sodus
• Lagoner’s Farm Market, 6895 Lake Avenue, Williamson
• Long Acre Farms, 1342 Eddy Road, Macedon
• Mason Farms and Farm Market, 3135 West Ridge Road, Williamson
• Morgan’s Farm Market, 3843 Cory Corners Road, Marion
• Orbaker’s Fruit Farm, 3451 Lake Road, Williamson
• Orchard View Country Market, 10006 Ridge Road, North Rose
• Young Sommer Winery, 4287 Jersey Road, Williamson

Details are available online, or by calling the Wayne County Office of Tourism at (800) 527-6510.

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Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Agriculture, Tasting Event


Warwick Valley creates apple trail

WARWICK, NY — The area’s half-dozen fruit orchards have joined forces to create the Warwick Valley Apple Trail. Its existence will be to promote and market the region’s fruit producing efforts.

The charter members are Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, Apple Ridge (formerly known as Jessup Road), Applewood, Masker, Ochs and Pennings. The six grow more than 50 apple varieties on 700-plus acres in the Town of Warwick, Orange County.

The Apple Trail designation was created under New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Farm, Apple, and Cuisine Trail Designation Program.

In addition to apples, the orchards along the trail offer fruit liqueurs, apple pies, pears, peaches, cider doughnuts, cider, hard cider, pumpkins, wagon rides, jams, ice cream, wines, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables.

“We really don’t compete with each other,” said Jason Grizzanti co-owner of Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery. “Each orchard has different strengths. We hope that with the formation of the Warwick Valley Apple Trail, we can highlight each orchard and help further solidify Warwick as an agricultural destination.”

The first major event the new group will get behind is Applefest 2010, the 22nd annual such event, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 3, rain or shine in the Village of Warwick. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit the Warwick Valley Community Center, Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and other local non-profit organizations.

Moe than 200 craft vendors, dozens of food vendors, 50 local non-profit exhibitors, a children’s carnival, farmers’ market, “rock and rest” tent for feeding and changing young children, and six stages with music and entertainment will be offered.

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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Agriculture


Finger Lakes trying to go red

• From the Syracuse Post-Standard:

Since the 1980s, after Dr. Konstantin Frank paved the way for Finger Lakes winemakers to grow and make wines from the classic European grapes known as vinifera, Riesling has soared to the top as the star white wine grape of the region.

What about reds?

Decades into the surge in quality wine-making in the Finger Lakes, where cold-hardy grapes are essential, vintners and vineyard owners seem to be searching for a vinifera grape that can stake a claim to be the region’s signature red, or at least build a solid reputation. Extensive production of familiar varieties like Pinot Noir and Merlot and the lesser known, but widely planted, Cabernet Franc are yielding good wines, but none have had the star power of Riesling.

Now more and more wineries are playing around with some relatively obscure or uncommon red vinifera varieties, like Lemberger, Gamay Noir [shown in photo] or Teroldego, grapes that are native to cooler parts of Europe. …

Maybe one will become a regional star. Or perhaps the winemakers will simply find something that works well in their own vineyard, as Sheldrake Point has done with Gamay Noir, the grape behind the famous Beaujolais wines in France.

[Go here for the full story.]

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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Agriculture, Finger Lakes, Wineries


Brookview Station Winery’s parent marks 100th

CASTLETON, NY — Brookview Station Winery was founded only four years ago, but its parent has been around a lot longer. Goold Orchards, which today threw itself a Founders’ Day Celebration, has a variety of events scheduled for its centennial fall.

The facility, founded by James and Bertha Goold in 1910, today is owned by Susan Goold Miller and husband Ed Miller (shown at right), who also is the Brookview winemaker. They and marketing director Karen Gardy have put together a varied fall schedule.

Octoberfest Time: Live German music and dancing, German food and German beers. Saturday, September 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Annual Kids Country Play Day: Featuring Radio Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” costume party. Saturday, October 2, 1 to 4 p.m.

22nd annual Apple Festival & Craft Show: Wine tent, 100 crafters, food, live entertainment, a corn maze and wagon rides. October 9-10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Halloween Pets on Parade: Saturday, October 16, 2 p.m.

Goold Orchards/Brookview Station Winery is located at 1297 Brookview Station Road in Castleton, Rensselaer County. Phone: (518) 732-7317.

The winery specializes in fruit wines, made from apples, pears and strawberries, peaches and cherries.

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‘Eat, Drink Local’ extravaganza in NYC

NEW YORK — In the world of real estate, the mantra is “location, location, location.” In the world of food and drink, it’s “local, local, local.”

That push is behind “Eat, Drink Local,” the theme and title of an 11-day promotion in the city reminding consumers of the wines and foods coming form their own state. It will run from Sunday, September 26, through Thursday, October 6, with wineries from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes joining nearly 100 restaurants to push the message. Most of the participating wineries also will have a presence at greenmarkets during that period.

“Eat, Drink Local” is a joint venture among the various Edible magazines in the city, GrowNYC (greenmarket), the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and Wine & Food Associates. The program will include a series of seminars, tastings and fund-raising events, beginning with an Amish-style heirloom vegetable auction at Sotheby’s on Thursday, September 23, HARVEST auction at Wolffer Estate Winery on Long Island on Saturday, September 25; the October 4 Festival of the 11 Ingredients at Chelsea Market; and the annual “Taste of Greenmarket” on October 6.

You can get details on all the program’s events online.

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Posted by on September 18, 2010 in Agriculture, Cuisine, Festival, Marketing, NYC, Wineries


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