Category Archives: Wine

Dr. Konstantin Frank biggest winner in NY Classic

WATKINS GLEN — Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars finished atop the heap in the 27th annual New York Wine & Food Classic held here Monday and Tuesday.

The Finger Lakes winery’s 2011 Semi Dry Riesling won the Governor’s Cup trophy, the event’s top honor, and the winery itself was named winery of the year.

The Governor’s Cup recognizes the best of show, top prize of all 773 entries. The “winery of the year” goes to the enterprise with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included 752 New York wines, nine hard ciders and 12 spirits from the Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State.

En route to the top award, the Frank entry also was named best white wine, best overall Riesling and best medium dry Riesling, and its overall portfolio of entries earned one double gold, two gold and four silver medals, which contributed to its winery of the year designation.

The “Best of Category” awards, all eligible for the Governor’s Cup, went to:

• Best Sparkling Wine: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Cuvee Brut
• Best Blush Wine: Miles Wine Cellars Wisteria
• Best Red Wine: Miles Wine Cellars 2009 Lemberger
• Best Dessert Wine: Sheldrake Point Winery 2010 Riesling Ice Wine
• Best Specialty Wine: Baldwin Vineyards Trilogy
• Best Hard Cider: McKenzie’s Hard Cider Black Cherry
• Best Spirit: Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin
• Best Limited Production Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2009 Riesling, Martini-Reinhardt Selection Series, Martini Vineyards

The “Best of Class” awards go to Double Gold (unanimous agreement of the judges) or Gold medal wines in classes of at least seven wines. Those awards:

• Best Oaked Chardonnay: Martha Clara Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Estate Reserve
• Best Unoaked Chardonnay: Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Festival Chardonnay
• Best Overall Chardonnay: Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Festival Chardonnay
• Best Gewürztraminer: Sheldrake Point Winery 2011 Gewürztraminer
• Best Dry Riesling: Lucas Vineyards 2010 Dry Riesling
• Best Medium Dry Riesling: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Medium Sweet Riesling: Belhurst Estate Winery 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Sweet Riesling: Wagner Vineyards 2011 Riesling Select, Estate Bottled & Grown
• Best Overall Riesling: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Sauvignon Blanc: Billsboro Winery 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
• Best Pinot Gris: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2011 Pinot Gris
• Best Vinifera White Blend: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2011 Riewurz
• Best Vinifera/Hybrid White Blend: Silver Thread Vineyard 2011 Good Earth White
• Best Traminette: Goose Watch Winery 2010 Traminette
• Best Vidal: Long Point Winery 2011 Vidal Blanc
• Best Hybrid White Blend Tug Hill Vineyards Lake Effect
• Best Cayuga: Lucas Vineyards 2011 Cayuga White
• Best Diamond: Goose Watch Winery 2011 Diamond
• Best Catawba: Miles Wine Cellars Wisteria
• Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Kings Garden Vineyards King’s Cab, Estate Grown, Produced & Bottled
• Best Merlot: Bedell Cellars 2008 Merlot
• Best Cabernet Franc: Ventosa Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc, Old Vineyard
• Best Pinot Noir: Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Estate Bottled
• Best Lemberger: Miles Wine Cellars 2009 Lemberger
• Best Vinifera Red Blend: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2010 Big Blend
• Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal: Bedell Cellars 2010 Malbec
• Best Concord: Coyote Moon Vineyards Fire Boat Red
• Best Mead: Earle Estates Meadery Cherry Charisma
• Best Fruit: Baldwin Vineyards Trilogy
• Best Spirit: Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin
• Best Late Harvest Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2011 Sweet Dream
• Best Ice Wine: Sheldrake Point Winery 2010 Riesling Ice Wine
• Best Vinifera Sparkling White: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Cuvee Brut

The awards were based on blind tastings by 23 judges — four from California, 10 from New York, six from other states, one from France and two from the United Kingdom.

The Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 321 New York wineries from all regions.

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Martha Clara going German for a weekend

RIVERHEAD, Long Island — Martha Clara Vineyards, never a snob about beverages, will host its 11th annual Oktoberfest the weekend of September 8-9.

German beers, food music — and wine, of course — will be available at the North Fork facility from 1 to 5 p.m. each day.

This is a rain-or-shine event. Admission is $10 for each day. Click here for Saturday tickets, or here for Sunday tickets.

Martha Clara is located at 6025 Sound Avenue. However, the Herricks Lane entrance will be used for Oktoberfest visitors. Phone: (631) 298-0075.

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Beer Event, Wineries


Lenz lining up samples for its Merlot World Classic

PECONIC, Long Island — If Merlots are your thing, circle Saturday, September 15, on your social calendar. That’s the date for the 23rd annual Merlot World Classic.

The event is run by the folks at the Lenz Winery, who have collected more than 60 different merlots from around the world for sampling.

Admission is $50 per person, or $25 for Lenz subscribers. In either case, a 10% discount is being offered on all tickets purchased by September 1. Tickets are available by calling the Lenz tasting room at (631) 734-6010. The winery is located at on Main Road (Route 25) in this Suffolk County community.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Tasting Event, Wine


NY wines collect 141 medals at Indy International

Jim Trezise, president of the New York State Wine & Grape Foundation, has New York state entries’ results from this week’s Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

And, an excellent outing it was for 21 Brix Winery. Its Ellatawba, a Catawba-based wine from the Lake Erie region, won “best rosé.”

Says Trezise of the NY entries, “The total haul of 141 medals included 12 concordance gold (similar to double gold), 23 gold, 66 silver and 40 bronze medals, with several of New York’s concordance golds included in the final sweepstakes round.”

Other concordance gold medals went to Belhurst Winery 2011 Pinot Grigio and 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, Dr. Frank 2010 Rkatsiteli, Goose Watch 2011 Riesling-Gewurztraminer, Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farm 2011 Maple Moon Hard Cider, Hunt Country Dolce di Moscate (Valvin Muscat), Liberty Vineyards Diamond, Swedish Hill Niagara and 2010 Late Harvest Vignoles, Wagner Vineyards 2011 Riesling Ice Wine, and Winery of Ellicottville EVL White (a Diamond blend).

Gold medals were awarded to 21 Brix Cayuga White and Ella’s White (Niagara); Chateau Frank 2007 Blanc de Blancs; Coyote Moon 2010 Pinot Noir, 2011 Island Mama, and 2011 Cherry Bomb; Dr. Frank 2011 Reserve Gewurztraminer; 2011 Semi Dry Riesling and 2011 Pinot Gris; Fox Run 2010 Reserve Chardonnay and 2011 Reserve Riesling; Goose Watch 2011 Melody; Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Lemberger and 2011 Dry Riesling; Long Point Winery 2010 Sangiovese; Seneca Shore Dry Riesling Old Vines; Swedish Hill Viking White, 2011 Vidal Blanc, and 2011 Cayuga White; Thirsty Owl 2011 Vidal Blanc; Torrey Ridge Diamond; Wagner Vineyards 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling and 2011 Vidal Blanc.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Virginia ‘best of show’ for Chateau Frank

In what is getting to be a habit, a New York State wine took “best of show” honors on a major competition.

The Chateau Frank 2006 Blanc de Noir won “best of show” honors in the 8th annual Atlantic Seaboard Competition held in Haymarket, VA.

In addition, Dr. Frank 2010 Pinot Gris took a gold and “best of category.” Others with the same honors from New York were Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer, Belhurst Winery 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, and Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Pinot Noir Blanc.

Additional golds went to 21 Brix 2011 Chardonnay, Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Pinot Gris, Dr. Frank 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, and Fulkerson Winery 2010 Dry Riesling.

Panels of 20 judges evaluated 495 wines produced in 17 states. An observation from Dave McIntyre, one of the judges, posted on his blog:

“What a difference a year makes. The sweepstakes round … included 20 wines, and nearly all (especially the reds) were from the very ripe 2010 vintage. Some of these were superb. There were some 2010s that didn’t earn gold medals because they were clumsy and even overripe and alcoholic. The rainy 2011 vintage tended to live down to expectations, with a few exceptions. Even the whites -– Rieslings, Viogniers and especially Chardonnays -– tended to be lackluster, and the reds dilute. Keep in mind that most of the better 2011 reds have not been released.”

The competition, run by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, is designed to promote and help market wines produced in the eastern U.S. The organization changed its name in 2008 from the Vinifera Wine Growers Association.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Rooster Hill debuts its first Sauvignon Blanc

You may have to get your local wine merchant to special-order it, but a Finger Lakes winery has just released a limited amount of its first Sauvignon Blanc in a region best known for its Rieslings.

The wine, made from a grape variety that originated in western France, is getting very good early reviews, which should mean the 65-case supply from Rooster Hill Vineyards will go fast.

Rooster Hill, located on the east side of Keuka Lake, actually made the wine from grapes grown on the east side of Seneca Lake at Sawmill Creek Vineyards, also its supplier for Chardonnay grapes.

Winemaker Barry Tortolon split the 1.5 tons of purchased grapes into different lots and fermented them using two different yeasts to provide different notes — one grassy and steely, the other fruity — then blended them into one final product.

Rooster Hill Vineyards is located at 489 Route 54 near Penn Yan. Phone: (315) 536-4773.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Wineries


‘Rendezvous With Riesling’ in the Finger Lakes

CANANDAIGUA — If you’re a fan of New York State Rieslings, you may want to consider a drive to the Finger Lakes for “Rendezvous with Riesling” at the New York Wine & Culinary Center here.

The sixth annual event is scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, August 10, which coincides with the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival weekend of August 11-12.

“Rendezvous with Riesling” is a celebration of New York’s signature wine varietal. Numerous Rieslings and other New York wines will be available for sampling, along with foods from Culinary Center chef Michael Sokolski’s staff.

Admission is $40 per person. As of this posting, there are 155 admissions available. They can be reserved online or by phone at (585) 394-7070.

Among the featured wineries:

  • Silver Thread Vineyard 
  • Americana Vineyard 
  • Standing Stone Vineyards 
  • Bully Hill Vineyards 
  • Hosmer Winery 
  • Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 
  • Glenora Wine Cellars 
  • Knapp Vineyard 
  • Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard 
  • Eremita Winery 
  • Anthony Road Wine Company 
  • Sheldrake Point Winery 
  • Casa Larga Vineyards 
  • Brotherhood Winery 
  • Fox Run Vineyards 
  • Heron Hill Winery 
  • McGregor Vineyard
  • Swedish Hill 

The Wine & Culinary Center is located at 800 South Main Street, lakeside.

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Finger Lakes, Upstate, Wine


10 NY wines best-of-class in California competition

LONG BEACH, CA — The Long Beach Grand Cru competition held over the weekend was a medal bumper crop for New York State wines — 115 medals, among them 10 best-of-class, 26 gold, 55 silver and 24 bronze.

Best-of-class winners, which were in the final “sweepstakes” round, included:

• 1 for 21 Brix — Ella’s Red (Concord) from Lake Erie

• 1 for Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2– 010 Estate Dry Riesling

• 2 for Coyote Moon — Twisted Sister (Frontenac) and Marquette

• 2 for Goose Watch  — 2011 Diamond and 2011 Rose of Isabella

• 4 for Swedish Hill —  2011 Riesling, Niagara, Catawba, and 2010 Late Harvest Vignoles

Gold medals went to 21 Brix Raspberry, 2011 Dry Riesling, 2011 Gewurztraminer, and 2011 Chardonnay; Anyela’s Vineyards 2010 Riesling and 2008 Cabernet Franc; Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Chardonnay Proprietor’s Reserve, 2010 Semi-Dry Estate Riesling and 2011 Semi-Dry Estate Riesling; Coyote Moon La Crescent; Dr. Konstantin Frank 2010 Rkatsiteli, 2011 Dry Riesling, and 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling;

Also, Goose Watch 2011 Cabernet Franc and 2010 Traminette; Hazlitt 2010 Riesling Homestead Reserve; Johnson Estate 2011 Delaware and Concord; Penguin Bay Tuxedo Red and 2011 Riesling; Sparkling Pointe 2009 Topaz Imperial, North Fork of Long Island; Swedish Hill 2011 Chardonnary-Riesling Blue Waters, Blanc de Blanc, 2011 Dry Riesling, and 2011 Cayuga White; and Wagner Vineyards 2010 Riesling Estate Bottled.

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Competition, Wineries


Schenectady County winery NYS’s newest

NISKAYUNA — New York’s newest winery has opened in a location that might surprise many people.

Capoccia Vineyards & Winery, located at 2820 Balltown Road in this Schenectady County community, is a project involving Domenic Capoccia, owner of Northeastern Contracting, and three sons, Nick, 21, Justin, 18, and Michael, 15, that is an outgrowth of a longtime family hobby of making wine.

The new enterprise’s tasting room and store — shown above right — sells seven varieties of wine, all made from New York grapes. Three varietals are grown on three acres here, the rest sourced from the Finger Lakes.

The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. The seven wines it stocks were made from the 2011 harvest — Cabernet Franc, Vignoles, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminette and Rosette. They are priced from $12 to $20, depending on varietal.

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Millbrook expands its reserve tasting portfolio

MILBROOK — Millbrook Winery has unveiled a new reserve wine tasting program.

The Dutchess County winery is offering a five-sample flight of its premium wines for $25 per person from 1 to 4 p.m. Wines in the lineup include estate-grow and -bottled along with a Pinot Noir from it sister winery, Williams Selyem. That means wines from the Hudson River Region as well as from California’s Russian River Valley and Central Coast Region.

In addition, Millbrook is offering an expanded wine-by-the-glass menu, featuring eight more reserve wines in addition to those previously available from its Portfolio Sampler Tasting. Each of the wines is available by the sample or by the glass.

The selection:

2011 Tocai Friulano – Hilltop Hill
2010 Grand Reserve Chardonnay
2010 Grand Reserve Pinot Noir
2009 Williams Selyem Central Coast Pinot Noir
2008 Cabernet Franc Proprietor’s Special Reserve
2010 Chardonnay Block Two West
2009 Williams Selyem Unoaked Chardonnay
2010 Pinot Noir Proprietor’s Special Reserve

Millbrook Winery is located at 26 Wing Road. Phone: (845) 677-6186.

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Wineries


Split-weekend sangria festival at Benmarl

MARLBORO — Benmarl Winery’s 7th annual Sangria Festival is set for double exposure — the weekends of July 21-22 and August 18-19.

For a $20 admission fee, attendees will get a souvenir wine glass, vineyard and cellar yours, sangria samples and be entertained by live music and Flamenco dance. The event will run from noon to 7 p.m. each day Food, additional sangria and wine will be available each day.

There also are several discount admission offers. For example, Wine Club members will receive free admission for two people, or 25% discount advance admissions are available by going online and entering promo code NL7.

Bemmarl is located at 156 Highland Avenue Marlboro, Ulster County. Phone: (845) 236-4265.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Hudson Valley, Wineries


Brooklyn wineries offering orange wines

BROOKLYN — Someone once said Americans will drink or eat anything if it’s colored orange. At least two New York wineries are hoping that’s true.

Both the Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Oenology have produced unusual wines from oranges.

A 2010 Brooklyn Winery Finger Lakes Orange Chardonnay is being offered for $22 for a 375ml “half bottle,” or $15 by the glass at its 213 North Eighth Street location (between Driggs Avenue and Roebling Street).

A 2010 Brooklyn Oenology Orange Pinot Gris is being offered at $25 for a 750ml bottle, or $11 by the glass at its 209 Wythe Avenue (at North Third Street) location.

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Tasting Room, Wine


Special local chardonnay to aid Lake George band

LAKE GEORGE — Adirondack Winery is releasing a special edition chardonnay called Musical Medley to benefit the Lake George Community Band.

“We are proud to announce that $5 from the sale of each bottle of this very special Chardonnay will be donated to the (band),” said Sasha Pardy, Adirondack Winery president and co-owner.

The wine has been in the works since last year,and more than 1,000 bottles have been produced ” … with the hope that the wine will sell quickly and the donation proceeds will be a boon for the LGCB’s modest operating budget,” said Pardy, a clarinetist with the band.

“I am astounded by the depth of musical talent we have in this local group of musicians. The band includes a wide range of musicians from high school teens, to local musicians picking up their instruments for the first time in years, to a large group of current and former professional music teachers, performers, directors and composers.”

The wine is available only at the winery’s tasting room at 285 Canada Street and from its online store. It is priced at $15 a bottle.

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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Fundraiser, Wineries


New Geneva wine bar pits Finger Lakes vs. world

GENEVA — A new wine bar. In Finger Lakes wine country. Seems like a no-brainer. However, in today’s market, every startup needs an angle.

When partners Stephanie Mira de Orduna and James-Emery Elkin were developing Microclimate, their new downtown wine bar, their intent was to allow customrs to directly compare Finger Lakes wines to wines from around the globe.

As Stephanie explains, “We start by taking one varietal from the Finger Lakes and throwing it into the ring with four similar wines from other points on the globe. We have flights representing grapes many of you know quite well — Pinots, cabs, Riesling, Chard — and just a few you may have yet to wrap your tongue around — Rkatsitelli, Grüner Veltliner, Torrontés.”

Microclimate also offers a line of bottled beers, IPAs, hefes, stouts, porters, Belgians, even ginger beer, as well as fruit lambics and hard cider. Along with them, visitors can sample local cheese, charcuterie, Marcona almonds, olives, and oils for dipping bread.

The wine bar is located at 38 Linden Street. Hours: Monday, 6 p.m. to midnight. Thursday-Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, 4:30 p.m. to midnight. Closed Tuesday-Wednesday.
Phone: (315) 787-0077.

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Wine Bar


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


‘Taste of Summer’ to fete LI wines, foods

OLD BETHPAGE VILLAGE — Taking in many of Long Island’s wineries in one day can be a daunting task. But a new event will gather plenty of them in one spot for a day, making sampling a snap.

The first “Taste of Summer” event, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. in the Fairgrounds Barn in Old Bethpage Village, will offer more than 100 new-release and featured wines from more than 30 Long Island wine producers.

In addition, products grown on the East End will be paired with the wines by chef Tom Schaudel, co-owner of the new Jewel Restaurant in Melville.

Tickets are $75 for general admission, $100 for VIP which allows early entry. They are available online.

Old Bethpage Village is a 209-acre recreated mid-19th Century American village, with an assortment of homes, farms and businesses.

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Niagara wine leads NY medalists in California

It was a surprise to many when a wine from the Niagara Escarpment took “Best Dessert Wine” honors at the recent Riverside (CA) International Wine Competition.

The honor went to Arrowhead Spring Vineyards‘ 2009 Late Harvest Vidal that, on the way to the title, also took “Best of Class” and a “Chairman’s Award,” the latter requiring unanimous agreement among judges, like a Double Gold in most other competitions.

Arrowhead is a small farm winery with just 65 rows of grapes under cultivation. The facility is located at 4746 Town Line Road (Route 93) in the Town
of Cambria (14094) between Upper and Lower Mountain Roads on
the Niagara Escarpment.

Other “Best of Class”/”Chairman’s Award” winners from New York, which also were among the “Sweepstakes” round wines:

  • 21 Brix Raspberry
  • Chateau Frank 2006 Blanc de Noirs
  • Keuka Spring Vineyards 2011 Riesling
  • Liberty Vineyards & Winery Reds, Whites & Blues Rosé
  • Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2011 Diamond
  • Thousand Islands Winery 2010 Marquette

Other “Chairman’s Awards”-only winners:

  • Fox Run Vineyards 2009 Tierce Dry Riesling (in collaboration with Anthony Road Winery and Red Newt Cellars)
  • Hazlitt 1952 Vineyards 2010 Dry Riesling Homestead Reserve
  • Red Tail Ridge Winery 2010 Dry Riesling
  • Swedish Hill Winery Blue Waters Riesling

“Gold” medals went to:

  • Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve
  • Casa Larga Vineyards 2009 French Oak Reserve Chardonnay
  • Casa Large Vineyards 2009 Fiori delle Stelle Riesling Ice Wine
  • Chateau LaFayette Reneau Seyval-Chardonnay
  • Dr. Frank 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Fox Run Vineyards 2010 Riesling
  • Glenora Wine Cellars 2010 Late Harvest Riesling
  • Glenora Wine Cellars 2003 Brut
  • Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
  • Keuka Spring Vineyards 2010 Vignoles Dessert Wine
  • Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Riesling
  • Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2009 Vidal Ice Wine
  • Red Tail Ridge Winery 2009 Blaufrankish
  • Swedish Hill Winery Spumante Blush 2007 Optimus
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Chardonnay Reserve
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2011 Riesling
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2011 Cayuga White
  • Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2011 Snow Owl
  • Wagner Vineyards 2009 Estate Bottled Dry Riesling

Other New York wines received won 96 Silver and 39 Bronze awards, for a total of 164 medals.

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Anthony Road takes lone U.S. Gold in France

STRASBOURG, France — Judges at the prestigious Riesling du Monde competition this year awarded 63 gold medals. However, despite the rise of Rieslings in America, particularly in the Finger Lakes, only one went to an American entry.

Anthony Road Wine Company‘s 2009 Finger Lakes Riesling Martini-Reinhardt Selection was awarded a gold medal.

By country, 38 Golds went to France, 16 to Germany, 3 to Austria, 2 each to Hungary and the Czech Republic and 1 each to South Africa and the U.S. Riesling originated in the Rhine Valley and Moselle regions, believed to have been cultivated there since Roman times.

Anthony Road was founded by Ann and John Martini. Their first wines were made from the 1989 grape crop and released in 1990. Their vineyard manager is son Peter, and their winemaker is Johannes Reinhardt, a native of Germany whose family boasts that it has been in the wine business since 1438.

The winery is located at 1020 Anthony Road in Penn Yan, NY. Phone: (800) 559-2182.

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Competition, Wineries


Sheldrake Point hosting 2 regional tastings

Picture 3

OVID — The folks at Sheldrake Point are feeling very ecumenical these days. Two events are proof to that. Both are limited-seating tastings of various Finger Lakes wines in specific categories.

Dessert Rieslings: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6.

Sheldrake winemaker Dave Breeden will lead a blind tasting of dessert-style Rieslings, from late harvest to frozen grape examples. At least six examples produced by various Finger Lakes wineries and small foods will be provided to showcase dessert style Rieslings’ affinity with foods other than desserts. Producers’ labels will be revealed at the end.

Gewürztraminers: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8.

Breeden will lead this blind tasting as well, a followup to a similar event he hosted last year. Examples have been selcted from various producers on the west side of Seneca Lake and on Keuka Lake. The tasting will include small food paired with the wines. Producers’ labels will be revealed at the end.

Seating for both events is limited to 20 guests. Reservation deadline for the Dessert Rieslings tasting is April 25, and June 30 for the gewürztraminers tasting. Contact Antoinette at (607) 532-9401 extension 106. Admission to each event is $25 per person, $15 for club members.

Sheldrake Point is located at 7448 County Road 153 in this Seneca County community on the west side of Cayuga Lake. It also has a tasting room at 5930 State Route 414 in Hector.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Finger Lakes, Tasting Event, Wineries


A decade of La Barrique at Peconic Bay

CUTCHOGUE, Long Island — Winemaker Greg Cove will be leading a reservations-only vertical tasting of a decade of La Barrique at Peconic Bay Winery.

“We are cracking the doors of the library once again,” says a winery announcement.

“Inspired by the success of our vertical Riesling and Merlot tastings, we recently uncorked past vintages of the La Barrique Chardonnay, a moderately oaked Burgundian style wine. Our in-house tasting … revealed vintage after vintage of vibrancy and youth to even Greg’s surprise.”

Reservations are $25 per person ($15 for wine club members). The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 5.

Peconic Bay Winery is located at 31320 Main Road. Phone: (631) 734-7361.

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New era to debut at Silver Thread Vineyard

LODI — The tasting room at Silver Thread Vineyard will open for the season this Friday with something quite new.

This will mark the debut of Paul Brock wines, created by the new owner-winemaker. He and wife and co-owner Shannon (right) will be offering Dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Dry Rosé, Good Earth White and three single-vineyard Rieslings, all featuring the new Silver Thread label.

A pair of reds finished and bottled by Paul Brock from the 20120 vintage also will be available for tasting — Blackbird and Pinot Noir.

The opening-day tasting sessions (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday) will include complimentary food pairings from Muranda Cheese of Waterloo, Normal Bread of Geneva and Six Circles Farm’s garlic spread from Lodi.

This is the first season for the winery under the Brocks’ ownership. They purchased the 27-acre layout last August from Richard Figiel. Before that, Paul was the winemaker for Lamoreaux Landing and Shannon was wine director at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canadaigua.

To mark Earth Day, which this year will fall on April 22, Silver Thread is offering free shipping through April 30 for 12-bottle cases of its sustainably-grown wines.

Silver Thread is located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake at 1401 Caywood Road in this Seneca County community. Phone: (607) 582-6116.

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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Winemaker, Wineries


Out-of-staters top Finger Lakes wine test

ROCHESTER — Out-of-state wines took the top awards in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, held at the Rochester Plaza Hotel.

John Rose Award for Best Riesling: Chateau Fontaine 2011 Dry White Riesling ($16) from Lake Leelanau, MI.

Crystal Grape Award for Best Ice Wine: 2008 A Capella Riesling Ice Wine ($92.50) from Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay, MI.

Best Chardonnay: Merryvale Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay from St. Helena, CA.

Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA.

New York State wines won more than 450 medals, including 10 double gold and 29 gold. The competition drew about 3,200 entries from 22 countries and all 50 states, which were evaluated by 60 judges from 15 different countries and many states. All proceeds go to Camp Good Days and Special Times, whose headquarters is in Mendon.

The New York double-gold winners:


• Sparkling Pointe: 2006 Blanc de Blancs ($42) and 2002 Brut Seduction ($60).


• Robibero Family Winery: 2010 Dry Riesling ($16.99).


• Lakewood Vineyards: 2009 Lemberger ($15.99).

• Casa Larga Vineyards: 2008 Fiori della Stelle Vidal Ice Wine ($45).

• Fulkerson: 2011 Matinee ($13.99).

• Goose Watch: 2010 Traminette ($13).

• Treleaven: 2010 Dry Riesling ($14.99).

• Schulze: 2010 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc ($24.95).

• Seneca Shore: Cabernet Franc ($16.99).

You can see the full results of all medals awarded by going here.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive anywhere.

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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Reneau’s Dry Riesling a smashing success

ONTARIO, CA — A Finger Lakes winery’s entry has been “Grand Champion” in the New World International Wine Competition (NWIWC).

Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2010 Dry Riesling earned the honor after winning “Best New World White Wine,” “Best New World Riesling,” “Best of Varietal,” “Best of Class” and a Double Gold.

Hats off to winemaker Tim Miller and owner Bob Reno for this sweep of categories.

Chateau Frank fared quite well, its 2006 Blanc de Noirs taking “Best New World Sparkling Wine,” “Best of Varietal,” “Best of Class” and Double Gold en route to topping that category.

Another particularly strong honor was taken by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ 2010 Chardonnay, rated “Best New World Chardonnay.” In a state known for its Chardonnays and nearly all of the judges from California, it was quite a coup for the Finger Lakes winery.

Other strong New York finishes:

  • Dr. Frank 2010 Gruner Veltliner (Best of Class and Gold)
  • Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Vidal Ice Wine (Best of Varietal, Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Merritt Estate Bella Rosa (Best of Class, Gold)
  • Sparkling Pointe 2006 Blanc de Blancs (Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Vignoles 25th Anniversary Reserve (Best of Varietal, Best of Class, Gold)
  • Riesling Cuvee (Best of Class, Double Gold)
  • Dr. Frank 2010 Pinot Gris (Double Gold)

In addition, Golds went to:

  • Belhurst Estate Winery 2010 Chardonnay
  • Dr. Frank 2011 Dry Riesling
  • Sparkling Pointe Cuvee Carnaval
  • Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Riesling

The complete results for all medals in all categories are available online.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive anywhere.

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Competition, Wineries


JD Wine Cellars tasting room sets brief closing

MACEDON — JD Wine Cellars will close its tasting room from Friday, March 23, through Sunday, April 1, reopening at noon Monday, April 2.

Joan and Doug Allen, the “J” and “D” in the company name, plan to be off at a wine show during that period and, they say, “hope to return with a few new ideas for the season.”

JD Wine Cellars is located at Long Acre Farm, 1342 Eddy Road, in this Wayne County community near Rochester. Phone: (315) 986-4202.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive anywhere.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Wineries


Wine-in-markets debate re-heats

I posted a story back in mid-February on another of my blogs (one that covers the Capital Region) concerning the resurrection of the debate over selling wine in grocery markets, something the state now prohibits. The quick responses, pro and con, from a batch of readers prompted me to re-post the story here to see what a broader cross-section of New York readers think. The original postings are included.

It may have failed in successive budget tries under Governor David Paterson and been ignored by Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been quoted as saying the potential benefits won’t outweigh the potential costs, but the idea of allowing food markets to sell wine won’t go away.

Rather than pushing Individually for such a change, the New York Wine Industry Association, New York State Wine Grape Growers Association, New York Farm Bureau, Business Council of New York State, Food Industry Alliance of New York State, New York State Restaurant Association and allied businesses are jointly calling on the governor to change his stance.

“New York Farm Bureau has long supported the sale of wine in grocery stores because of the enormous opportunities that it would provide to New York’s wineries and grape growers,” said Dean Norton, bureau president.

“Studies have shown that making this common sense modification in state law would create more than 6,000 jobs in wineries and related industries and produce more than $70 million in new sales tax revenue. It’s long past time that we remove this barrier to consumer choice and job creation and become the 36th state to make this important change.”

The alliance cites the marked change in the number of businesses allowed to sell wine in 1974 compared to today, as well as the marked increase in the number of wineries in the same period.

They use the 1974 benchmark because that is the year a push began to get then-Governor Hugh Carey to reformulate the state’s winery license law to make it easier for farm wineries to operate more profitably. In 1976, he did so.

In 1974 there were 4,500 liquor stores in the state through which the then-existing 19 wineries could sell their farm product to consumers. Now, there are fewer than 2,500 liquor stores through which more than 378 New York wineries can sell their farm product to consumers. Thus, the alliance contends, wineries no longer have enough retail outlets to reach consumers.

Opponents continue to insist that mom and pop liquor stores would be severely harmed if other businesses are allowed to sell New York and other wines.

FIRST COMMENTS FROM READERS (feel free to add your own):

Skipjack: Since our Governor has such a great record for getting things done, its time for him to step up and get the law changed to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores like the vast majority of New Yorkers want.

Bill Dowd: Ed (# 15): Thanks for the two links to help people compare two vastly differing points of view. It is interesting, as you say.

What also is “interesting” is that you complain that the New York Wine Industry Association has only one agenda. The same can be said of the group you appear to support. It has as its sole agenda item blocking sales of wine in supermarkets.

Ed: I find it interesting that someone who is usually as knowledgeable as Dowd would cite the “New York Wine Industry Association.” A simple check of their website ( reveals that they are a group with 1 agenda item – putting wine in grocery stores. The true New York wine industry is solidly behind New York’s wine stores (for a list of wineries please see Interesting.

Ann: It’s ridiculous that this state doesn’t allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. It would help out the local wineries tremendously.

Skipjack: I don’t understand why liquor stores get this kind of protectionism. It’s like telling Price Chopper that they can’t sell flowers because it hurts florists, or they can’t sell artisan bread or cakes because it hurts bakeries. The majority of citizens in NY want the ability to buy wine in grocery stores, but the liquor lobby don’t like it because they fear it will drive prices down (which it may). That’s why this issue has been coming up for the past ten years (at LEAST).

I also disagree that grocery stores will only sell crap wine. I travel to CA frequently and the selection there in grocery stores is BETTER than most liquor stores in NY (and the prices are WAY better). I agree that wine should be sold in grocery stores, but some of the restrictions placed on liquor stores should be lifted. Liquor stores should be able to have more than one location and they should be allowed to buy beer. When shopping for a party, I hate having to get spirits and wine in one store, and then go to a beverage or grocery store for beer. What’s up with that? And why can’t I pick up salt, limes, ice and NA margarita mix at a liquor store?

I also disagree that allowing wine sold in grocery stores will close down mom and pop. Yes, some will close if they can’t offer better service/selection/price than grocery stores. Sometimes a business deserves to fail. Would you frequent a restaurant with high prices and bad food just because they are independently owned? Most people wouldn’t.
I will no doubt continue to spend the bulk of my wine dollars at Empire Wine because of their great selection and prices, but it would be great to pick up a bottle of wine on occasion at BJ’s or Price Chopper. Time for NY to move into the 21st Century.

Rhianna: IF wine is to be allowed in NY grocery and chains are going to move into the state, THEN the state needs to allow *DUAL LICENSING* in independent retail, i.e. off-premise (retail) stores with on-premise authorization. Independent retailers will need the competitive ability to compete with big grocery by allowing to sell wines by-the-glass, i.e. a wine bar with retail store under one roof; a retail store with a wine/beer bar capability.

If insurance is a problem, allow a dual license to include only beer & wine for on-premise consumption if retail is attached (not liquor) – though liquor should still be allowed to be sold in retail side (under same roof). Look to Florida state for guidance. FL allows dual licensing for beer & wine (on and off premise under one roof) for only a few hundred dollars. It is also allowed with the addition of liquor, but liquor add-on license is several hundred thousand dollars and there are only x amount delegated per district.

Lee: The laws in NY are about protecting different lobbying groups and have nothing to do with protecting New Yorkers. It is just another type of “prohibition” based upon who has the money to get their will done in Albany.

Dostoevsky: There are real reasons why states should want to impose limits and controls on the sale of alcoholic beverages. You might not agree with them but you should at least know what they are. Here is an unbiased, third party report that discusses those reasons: “2012 ISSUE BRIEFS FOR STATES – Brief Explanations of Common Alcohol Regulatory Issues Facing State and Local Communities.” It can be downloaded from

Anthony: Here is the smell test — None of the proposals that have been offered give the liquor stores the the ability to offset the massive losses with other items. Cheese and crackers are not going to keep these stores in business. If we are going to allow wine to be sold everywhere that beer is sold, then we should allow beer to be sold everywhere wine is sold. But the grocery stores want exclusivity on the Holy Grail of beverages and won’t give that up. Thats why it doesn’t pass the smell test.

MIkeD: I hope NY can learn from Tennessee’s mistakes. All the Associations in the world won’t get it done. The people must be heard, not the heads of industry.|newswell|text|Opinion|s

Mike: We all know the supermarkets will only carry Gallo, Yellowtail, Cavit and all the other mass produced wines. So where is the benefit to the New York state wine producers? The only beneficiaries will be large out of state businesses.

• fiorot at westchesterwinemakers: Harry makes me laugh. Preserving a business? Protect a business from whom? Me thinks Harry is not a Capitalist who believes in free markets. Maybe we shouldn’t allow French wines in the country since we have California Wine. As consumers and taxpayers we do not have any interest in shielding one set of businesses from others at our expense and with the loss of healthy competition. Monopolistic practices must end. Free the Wine!

Whiner: Sorry, Harry, but your idea is in violation of the US Constitution.

Eric Orange: But as soon as you do that, Harry, it becomes an issue of protectionism and interstate commerce.

mabel: I like Harry’s idea. I hate seeing mom and pop stores (which describes most liquor stores) being bulldozed by big-box stores (which describes most supermarkets), but I think we need to support our state’s amazing wineries as well. And like Sarah, I’d love to be able to pick up a nice table wine when I’m buying my other groceries. :)

Harry Cook: I would support the concept of allowing grocery stores, eyc. to sell only NYS grown and bottled wines. That would tend to preserve the liquor/wine specialty businesses while encouraging the further development of the NY wine industry through expanded retail outlets.

Sarah Hinman Ryan: I lived in Seattle for almost seven years and every supermarket sold wine but there were still liquor stores all over the place. It was really nice to be able to pick up a bottle of something decent while buying the makings of dinner.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive anywhere.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Legislation/Regulation, Marketing, Wine


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