Thursday, July 02, 2009

N.Y. growers expect grape glut, look to sell to wineries nationwide

Tue Jun 30, 2009, 11:13 AM EDT

Canandaigua, N.Y. - With this year’s harvest of state wine grapes expected to yield a surplus, Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York Wine & Grape Foundation have partnered to help market the fruit to other states.Acting as “matchmakers,” said foundation president Jim Trezise, the extension and his organization aim to help growers sell all their grapes this year — at the same time building an out-of-state market for future years. On the Web site for the Finger Lakes Grape Program (, which serves Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Ontario and Yates counties, growers can place classified ads to sell grapes. Of the 56 ads posted there Monday, 48 were from the Finger Lakes region, where much of the state’s wine-grape crop originates.While the site has been used to sell grapes in previous years, this is the first year it is targeting out-of-state buyers.

Trezise said he has contacted colleagues and wineries in other states to let them know there will be New York wine grapes for sale this year, barring a weather emergency or other unforeseen circumstances between now and harvest. “For a number of wineries their tanks are full,” said Trezise, “and the economy is slow,” he added, keeping wine sales flat.Meanwhile, states that have lost grapes to frost and other weather-related factors need wine grapes, he said, citing Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.“We know the market in New York won’t be able to absorb all of New York’s crop,” said Jim Bedient, a grower in Yates County and president of New York Wine Grape Growers.With the connections Trezise has in other states, it should help get all the grapes to market, said Bedient. The Finger Lakes region produces between 40,000 tons and 50,000 tons annually, said Trezise.The anticipated yield this season is on the high end, about 50,000 tons, he said. Leading varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and several French-American and native varietals.

By the numbers
Statistics for the Finger Lakes region:9,124 Acres of vineyard41,403 tons: Average annual grape yield50,000 tons: Yield expected this yearSource: