Monday, August 30, 2010


This is an interview with James Silver, General Manager of Peconic Bay Winery in Long Island. Jim Silver is a 1989 graduate of Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, whose business and culinary degree included study at the famed La Varenne in Dijon, France. Over the past twenty years, Mr. Silver has served as the Sommelier for the 29-point Zagat rated Fountain Room at the Four Seasons Hotel (also Philadelphia), as the sales director in the New York region for Grupo Codorniu (Spain), Remy Amerique (France), and Hess Collection (Napa). Recently Mr. Silver served as the National Sales Director for Pindar Vineyards and as the Senior Vice-President of Bedell Cellars (both North Fork of Long Island). He lives on the south shore of Long Island with his wife Claire and their daughter. Jim is one of the most outspoken General Managers on the North Fork, and certainly within the state. He is also one of the most experienced. He commands great respect. When he speaks, people listen. He's not always on the popular side, but always believes in two things: New York state wine and quality.


What is the biggest challenge facing wine in your state today?
In short, distribution and profitability. Common complaints from consumers seeking the NY wines are that they can’t be found easily at retail or in restaurants. Common complaints from distributors are the wines aren’t in demand, and fall short of their profitability when compared to a typical California brand. Quite a quandary, especially when larger distributors are actually dropping small brands altogether. Further, a common complaint from wineries is that wholesale robs them of the profit margin they need to survive and they turn more and more to selling at the tasting room to maintain themselves. Both sides seem to be moving in opposite directions away from each other and yet both would agree they need each other.

What is the difference between wine in your region from ten years ago to today?
Ten years ago there were great Merlots (for example) being made on Long Island. They were and still are smooth, complex, long, elegant and balanced to age well. Today that same quality exists, just more of it. What’s been left behind are the bad imitations of California Chardonnays, the pyrazine-bombed green bell pepper reds, and the totally flawed wines – not to mention the extremely over-oaked. Long Island wine today is far cleaner, brighter, and more elegant than ever, as winemakers have embraced the natural acidities and made more earlier-to-bottle crisp whites and stylish, terroir driven reds.

Where do you think wine in your region will be 10 years from now?
Hopefully in distribution! Hopefully on the wine list; not just in the “Other Reds” section either. They’ll be in the “Long Island Wines” section of the wine list. Our tipping point was 2007 in my opinion. You had to really work hard to make bad wine in this great vintage, and yet, the wines lacked “typicity”. The generous nature of the fruit and the richness of these wines started to attract the attention of a lot of taste-makers here and in New York. I think, at the time of this writing, that 2010 will be superior, and astonishing – combining the power of the 2007 with the terroir, and expressive elegance of 98, 01, and 05. Especially since the West Coast vintage 2010 is looking mediocre at this point, “suffering” through a cool vintage. Maybe the alcohols will moderate a bit?

What’s the trend in wine in your region that has surprised you the most in the last 2-5 years?
There’s a few trends that aren’t local to Long Island but are taking hold here like the rise of Sauvignon Blanc, and the un-oaked Chardonnays. In this region however I’m noticing a trend towards marketing savvy that wasn’t there until recently. That is, newer and more exciting packaging, and stylish labels, but not limited to outer packaging – there is a move to interesting blends, essentially the repackaging of the wine itself for a more global market consumer.

Is there a new trend you expect to see in the next 2-3 years?
Not really. That’s too short a window. The only thing in the short term could be sudden and drastic but unpredictable events – who knows what’s going to happen? Maybe a big merger, maybe a hurricane, or maybe another stunning quality vintage that makes the world take notice of us?

Do you find liquor stores and wine shops have been a good partner for your state grown wines? What have been some challenges?
Some are excellent partners, and really care about the products from NY. Many are passive partners. Some are not so good. It seems amazing to me that we still have to explain that the wine is actually good to some retailers. But you check in most reputable retailers and you’ll find owners and buyer “in the know” and they know that NY is right there. They want more customers to ask for NY wines too. They’re creating new customers for us. We need more of them.

Regional wineries sometimes find it hard to sell wines outside of their state. How easy or difficult is it for your wineries to export their wines to other states…countries?
In some cases easier in some cases harder. Canada is bogged down in their own foggy mess of bureaucracy, trade issues and massive alcohol taxes. If only we could establish an experimental “free trade zone” between Canada and New York. Can you imagine all of the ice wine whose prices would moderate and find customers here, and all of the Long Island Cabernet Franc that would end up on dinner tables in Vancouver and Toronto? A couple of years ago I established a foothold in the Miami market for my brand. I did it by introducing the product as an “exotic” right there with the other imports. Buyers in that market hadn’t seen the wine from NY for the most part, and the ones they did see were larger and more commercial in nature. By selling myself as a rare and desirable import from NY issues of price started to fall away – and the quality of the wine spoke for itself when the presentation took place. In a couple of weeks I had my wine on five of the top ten wine lists in Miami Beach. Today, our most successful export market at Peconic Bay is the People’s Republic of China. Sure, the paperwork is gargantuan, but the TTB has been very helpful with that – and my agent has already re-ordered. That’s a great start. In the closest states, I’ve found great interest from Connecticut retailers who, with the laws of that state, only need to buy one case at a time, so a small but growing foothold is getting established. As for New Jersey, it seems as soon as you cross the George Washington Bridge, interest in the wines of NY melts away.

How big a part do festivals and farm markets play in your state‘s wine distribution?
My position on that is more controversial, since I am one of the few wineries who try to eschew the festivals and farm markets. The return on the investment in time, money and energy is way too little. Frankly, I’ve had it with organizers selling me “exposure.” To get exposure, I took all of the money I would have spent in festivals and fairs and charity tastings this year, and gave a young fellow a job as my NYC sales representative. He works every day, on the street, bringing my wines to key retailers and key restaurateurs, and supports my distributors efforts in wholesale. Believe me, this is better exposure than any fair or any festival could ever bring. For all of the happy hand-shakes and kind words exchanged over the table with consumers at wine festivals, a single retail placement in Manhattan is worth (literally) five thousand of those. We had better get used to that. You don’t see too many Napa wine festivals happening in NY do you? No, they promote to the trade, so should we.

What are the challenges of getting your wines covered by local press and the wine media?
That has been easier for me, because the owners of Peconic Bay Winery are adventurous, deeply interested and generous. They allow us the latitude to create powerful marketing, by using our land, our staff members, and our resources to create media friendly information. We’ve had two concert events at the winery where a total of 3,000 people attended, plus we’ve got a strong line up of live music every weekend that draws attention. Our tasting room is absolutely the most progressive and welcoming. At our place, the customer sits and relaxes while the tasting is brought to their table, rather than across a bar. We serve interesting food. Three television programs have been filmed here in the last year and a half. Lately, we built the second largest ground mounted solar array at a winery in the country. By embracing the media, and understanding their needs for story, for content, for ready to use photos, and by constant contact, we’ve expanded our Google presence from thousands of hits to millions.

Are their any media streams that you have found that are more effective than not? Presently, the most remarkable impact comes from newspaper content, not advertising. And from the blogosphere, which brings actual interested people into the tasting room.

Are there any fears you may have too many wineries in your state?
Hell no. Too many poorly produced hybrids yes. Too much good wine (to include vinifera and well made hybrids), absolutely not.

Do you have any wine trails in your state? If so, how effective have they become? If not, why? How do your wineries effectively market themselves in groups? Or not? If not, why not?
We do not operate chiefly as a group, which is a shame, but lately, as the local towns have threatened to make our tourist marketing more challenging, I’ve seen a sudden and very positive move back to the teamwork mentality. The LI Wine Council is gaining strength from the adversity perhaps, and the current president (Ron Goerler) and the director Steve Bate are a good team.

Are you finding there are enough grape growers to fill the demand created by wineries in your state?
So far, yes. Prices remain high on Long Island which is challenging especially when you want to produce a popularly priced table wine, which we all do at least in part. Some FLX fruit makes its way down here which has added some vitality to blends when used judiciously for the pretty fruit and acids they possess. My most popular wine is Nautique Blanc, the majority of which is estate grown Long Island Chardonnay and Riesling, is supplemented in part with crisp Seneca Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Having to pay $2,000 a ton for Cabernet Franc intended to be Rosé can be nearly cost prohibitive, but the wine sure is tasty.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We’ve got trouble, right here in River City….

Let me tell you right now New York state wine is in trouble.

There is a glut of wine in the world.

There has never been more cheap wine available in the marketplace.

There has never been a time when there have been more wineries in New York.

There has never been so much New York wine and so few places to sell it.

There has never been so much good wine being made in New York as there is now. Long Island and the Finger Lakes get 90s repeatedly now from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, and wines are improving in the Niagara and the Hudson Valley on a daily basis.

But there is a problem. New York liquors stores are not befriending the small winery owners. And the small winery owners are not doing enough to entice those same store owners to make things happen.

The Governor and the legislature have abandoned the wine industry in New York. In other states, hell, in other countries smaller than New York state, the wine industry is praised and courted, and supported by government. Other state and federal governments see the value in the billions of dollars the wine industries brings to their regions via sales and tourism – $3+ billion alone. But New York is so uniquely, so ineptly, and so badly run, that political infighting and pork far outweigh common good in this most corrupt and selfish of states. The buffoons who hold the chambers of the legislature at the state house are more like Dom Delouise playing Nero while Albany and NYC burn (I would say the Keystone Cops except the situation is so onerous – so potentially deadly to an entire industry).

Poor Jim Trezise is a good man. He has been a one-man cheerleader for the state for decades. He has overseen tremendous growth. He himself is indefatigable, but his offices are under-funded and under-staffed. Personally, I’d like to see a slight redirection of the foundation and what it provides, but that’s beside the point. And the lawmakers only see him as a black hole in the budget instead of a shiny gold ribbon on their lapel.

With the defeat of the grocery store effort, the wineries now face stagnation.

The New York Legislature will zero out the wine budget soon. It’s down to around $700,000, and the looming budget deficit makes it unlikely that the wineries will get anything at all in the next budget.

Who will save us?

Isn’t that the question? This seems to be the refrain. After a very good last year for New Your state wineries, the real question is – how will you save yourself? I am reminded of the campaign of Clinton versus Dole. Pointing to the disagreement between himself and Dole about the proper size and role of government, Clinton said during the campaign that Americans had the choice of building a bridge to the future together…or saying: "There's the future, there's the valley; I hope you can get across it, good luck."

And that’s where the wineries are in New York right now. They’ve been abandoned by the government and it’s leaders. Where do they go? What do they do?

There are no winery political action committees in New York. Winemakers by and large are farmers, and not prone to such wranglings. There is no state run organization that rallies the winery owners to action. There are no winery owners, save Scott Osborn, who will stick their neck out far enough to try a new direction. Like lambs to the slaughter, New York winery owners dodder their way to execution like spring lambs (rubbing our hands and looking at each other with worried faces as we go).

Cornell’s scientists will not lead you. That’s not their job. They can tell you what to plant, where to plant, what to spray, and who to call, but they cannot save the wine industry. It’s a business, and it takes a businessman’s acumen.

Like the liquor store owners, the New York state wineries need to form a coalition and force their own destiny, because the liquor store owners and the grocery store owners won’t protect anyone else’s best interests but their own.

What wineries need to do to insure their own future:
1. A coalition that can have representation in Albany in a bigger way
2. They need more, not fewer funds, for Uncork NY
3. UNCORKNY needs redirection
4. They need to make sure that the next time the grocery store fight comes around, that their
5. best interests are written into the law
6. They need to insure better branding of New York state wines
7. They need to get more and more face time with local liquor stores and restaurants
8. They need to insure that NY state wine increases its marketing materials for wineries to use in stores
9. Wineries need to get more help from their local or county chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus (some or great partners; some are not partners at all)
10. Wineries need to market themselves better to their local media, in the press, on the radio, in local lifestyle magazines, and on the internet.

Until they do, New York wineries will continue to lose ground.

So, who will lead New York State wine? Scott Osborne has tried…and is still trying. But few winery owners want to antagonize the few stores that currently help them. And he's been sabotaged by poorly written legislation.

Jim Trezise? He has presided over New York state's coming out party for the last 20 years. He has done a tremendous job. He’s a good man, but his function is that of a publicist – not that of a marketing, branding executive who will lead large sales initiatives or dialogues with the liquor stores. No doubt, he deserves a place at the table, but he’s not a businessman to lead the charge and make dynamic inroads. John Dyson? No, he’s already spent so much of his energy on establishing the Farm Winery Act and putting together a tremendous portfolio of wineries. He must be tired. What else do he have to prove?

Can James Molesworth carry the state all by himself? He’s been kind to New York, and has recognized the quality the state is producing, but he won’t save the wineries from their own ineptitude.

Lenn Thompson is as big a cheerleader as New York has had in 20 years. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Lenn become the next Jim Trezise 10 or 20 years from now. He’d be a good candidate for it. So is Morgen McLaughlin. She has the marketing savvy, but is she too tied to the Finger Lakes? She's done a tremendous job promoting that region. She's certainly one of the best in the business. (p.s. for those of you trying to stir up trouble, neither has broached any interest in Jim's job that I know of...merely making a point.)

But neither Lenn nor Morgan will make a deal that will set the New York liquor stores on the path to discipleship and love with New York state wine.

Will a liquor store owner rise up to save the wine business? A politician? A grower? A writer? A blogger? Not likely.

In the meantime, states like California, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia, are outspending, and outperforming New York wine. They have bigger, smarter, and more aggressive campaigns. Countries like Chile, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Italy and France all spend way more money than New York state to promote their wines in New York than New York does.

The wineries will have to save themselves. They will have to dig into their own pockets. They will have to spend reserves of energy and time – another thing they don’t have stores of. And they will have to do the unthinkable – they will have to band together – and place their trust in one another, and act altruistically for the larger good. And there’s your problem.

Next volunteer, please?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Red Wines of the Finger Lakes 2010

As always, the Rieslings and Gewuztraminers get all the attention from the press. But every year, I go to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, and I do a lot of tasting (I am a hard working guy).

Each year I taste as many of he good whites as possible. And there are many great ones. However, by Sunday, I am onto the reds. Listed here are a few of the reds I really ejoyed. Time was limited, so I didn't get to taste them all. And I tried to taste ones I wasn't familiar with, thereby discovering some new wines.
For those tasters going around the lakes, many are enthusiastic about the light whites that dominate the quality landscape. But I recommend these red wines, for the red wine enthusiast, which are less written about. These are good red wines. These wines below are the ones I'd be happy to tell red drinkers about. They are in no particular order.

The first red, above, is the Zugibe 2006 Cabernets. The three Zugibe brothers of Geneva - Frederick III, Brendan and Sean - each brought to this venture different yet complementary knowledge and experience. Frederick III is a trained oenologist, Sean a viticulturist, while Brendan's background lies in business. All three, however, along with their parents, Frederick II and Anna, shared a passion for exceptional wine, and a desire to create their own unique blend. 2006 Cabernets is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a big, bold blend of dark red color. Dried cherry, dark raspberry, and a touch of cocoa. Very impressive.

Six Mile Creek is Ithacca's own winery. Their Quintessence 2007 is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It features smooth and luscious fruit flavors followed by a rich tannic structure. A nice, dry finish.

Glenora is one of the largest and most successful wineries in the Finger Lakes. They are known for a great many wines, but dry reds is not one I would normally think of. There amongs the sparkling and semi-sweet wonders was a most pleasant surprise - 2008 Sangiovese. I birhgt, fruity, dry red, with plum and light raspberry. Soft tannins form the ending of a surprisingly and most drinkable light, dry red wine.

Keuka Lake Vineyards is a small estate winery that produces world class wine in a distinctively dry, European-style. Their estate controlled vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of Keuka Lake, the Y-shaped crooked lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Keuka Lake Vineyards Estate Bottled Leon Millot 2009 Fournier Vineyard was a lovely surprise. This Leon Millot was fermented in small 1-ton bins and punched down by hand twice daily. Malolactic fermentation was completed in 14 barrels followed by 7 months cellar aging in neutral oak. During again, the lees were stirred weekly to enhance mouthfeel. The 2009 Leon Millot is as dark as ink. The blackberry and currant come through as promised on the nose. Lots of dark, stewed fruits. An excellent balance of acidity and soft tannins. A great dry finish. A truly artisanal wine. Excellent.

J.R. Dill got his start 8 years ago making wine as a hobby in his parent's basement. Things progressed from there and in 2009 founded J.R. Dill Winery. J.R. Dill's great grandfather, H.J. Dill worked in the vineyards here over 100 years ago. The J.R. Dill 2007 DeChaunac was a lovely wine. Soft and fruity, with nice hints of oak, and a nice, smooth finnish. A lucious wine. Very nice. One of the best examples of the grape I have ever tasted.
Freedom Run Cabernet Merlot 2006 was an excellent red. I'll be writing about it separately soon. A very, very nice red.

Always a fan of Anthony Road wines. There are some really nice folks there. Devonia Red s a light bodied table wine. Big berry flavors up front, with really soft tannins. A nice elight table red. And a very nice price.
With magnificent style and grace, Carrie Collins created BelhurstCastle in 1889. Her polished soirees and flare for the extraordinary earned her a reputation far exceeding many in the area. Carrie's Castle on the lake became known for it's beauty, charm and romantic legends which exist to this day. Now there is Belhurst Castle Winery (and Inn and Spa). They make some lovely wines there. Chief among them for me was the Pinot Noir. Cherry and pepper dominate the nose of this very elegant Pinot Noir. A touch of cedar and a whiff of cocoa compliment these aromas. The cherry comes through on the mouth, as does cranberry, and a touch of tobacco as promised. Nice acid and good tannins come through. A dry, peppery finish declares a very, very nice Pinot Noir.

Sheldrake Point Winery & Simply Red Bistro are located on the shores of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York state. It's a beautiful complex. Again, I'll be writing more about them later. Gamay Noir is not the most commonly planted red in the Fingers. A tad obscure even.The 2008 Sheldrake Point Vineyard Gamay Noir is an Estate wine produced from Gamay Noir grapes (80% from a ten year old block) grown in Sheldrke's vineyard on the west shore of Cayuga Lake. The 2008 Gamay Noir is la light red wine. its got aromas of strawberry, cherry, and pepper. Up front it's all fruit. There's good melding between theacids of this light red and the the smooth, easy tannins. an excellent wine. Lucious upfront, with a nice easy dry finish. Really something to savor and enjoy. Great as a wine with lunch, but strong enough for dinner as well. Perfect for chicken, pork, salmon, even duck. One of my favorites!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Swedish Hill Winery wins “Governor’s Cup”

Sheldrake Point Vineyards wins “Winery of the Year”

Watkins Glen, New York, AUGUST 17—Swedish Hill Winery Riesling Cuvee from the Finger Lakes won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2010 New York Wine & Food Classic competition, held on August 16 & 17 at the Glen Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, NY. The “Winery of the Year” award went to Sheldrake Point Vineyards, another Finger Lakes winery, for the second year in a row.

The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all 850 entries in the Classic, known as “The Oscars” of New York wine. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included 850 New York wines and 17 spirits from the Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State. The Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvee was also voted Best Vinifera Sparkling and Best Overall Sparkling on its way to the ultimate award. Sheldrake Point Vineyards received 2 Double Golds, 2 Gold, 4 Silver, and 2 Bronze awards on its way to the Winery of the Year award.

A “Specialty Wine Champion” award was added in 2008 to recognize consistent quality among the increasing number of wines made from fruits other than grapes, or honey. The 2010 winner was ELF’s Farm Winery and Cider Mill with 1 Double Gold and 2 Silver awards. A new “Best New York Spirit” award went to Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin.

The awards were based on blind tastings by 24 expert judges—4 from California, 12 from New York, 6 from other states and 2 from the United Kingdom. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Four-judge panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 24 judges for Best of Category and Governor’s Cup awards.

Celebrating its 25th year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 280 New York wineries from all regions. In 2010, a total of 32 Double Gold, 74 Gold, 284 Silver, and 250 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, “Best of Category” and “Best of Class” designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among a panel’s judges that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.

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

Best Sparkling Wine Swedish Hill Winery Riesling Cuvee
Best White Wine Keuka Lake Vineyards 2009 Semi Dry Riesling
Best Rosé Wine Arbor Hill Grapery Coriesa Hill Iona Rose
Best Red Wine Bedell Cellars 2008 Cabernet Franc
Best Dessert Wine Casa Larga Vineyards 2007 Fiori Delle Stelle Vidal Ice Wine
Best Specialty Wine Torrey Ridge Winery Scarlet Red
Best New York Spirit Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin

The “Best of Class” awards went to:

Best Vinifera Sparkling Swedish Hill Winery Riesling Cuvee
Best Unoaked Chardonnay Coyote Moon Vineyards Naked Chardonnay
Best Overall Chardonnay Coyote Moon Vineyards Naked Chardonnay
Best Dry Riesling McGregor Vineyard 2008 Riesling
Best Medium Dry Riesling Keuka Lake Vineyards 2009 Semi Dry Riesling
Best Medium Sweet Riesling Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Semi Dry Riesling
Best Overall Riesling Keuka Lake Vineyards 2009 Semi Dry Riesling
Best Niagara Schulze Vineyards & Winery Thirty Mile Point Sweet Niagara
Best Gewürztraminer Sheldrake Point Vineyards 2008 Gewürztraminer
Best Cayuga White Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Cayuga White
Best Traminette Bet the Farm Winery 2009 Traminette
Best Vidal Blanc Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Vidal Blanc
Best Vignoles Lucas Vineyards 2009 Vignoles
Best Hybrid White Thousand Islands Winery Wellesley Island White
Best Diamond Torrey Ridge Winery Diamond
Best Native White Blend Niagara Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Rosebud Gold
Best Vinifera Rosé McGregor Vineyard 2009 Rosé D’Cabernet Franc
Best Native Rosé Arbor Hill Grapery Coriesa Hill Iona Rosé
Best Cabernet Franc Bedell Cellars 2008 Cabernet Franc
Best Other Vinifera Red Varietal Fulkerson Winery 2008 Dornfelder
Best Vinifera Red Blend Peconic Bay Winery Nautique Esprit De Rouge
Best Native Red Blend Penguin Bay Winery Tuxedo Red
Best Concord Eagle Crest Vineyards 2009 Canal Boat Red
Best Fruit Wine ELF’s Farm Winery and Cider Mill 2009

Appalachian Trail Apple Wine
Best Mead Torrey Ridge Winery Scarlet Red
Best Late Harvest Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2008

Bunch Select Late Harvest Riesling
Best Ice Wine Casa Larga Vineyards 2007 Fiori Delle Stelle Vidal Ice Wine

The following wines were awarded Double Gold medals:

Winery Vintage Wine
Barrington Cellars 2007 Frosty Niagara
Billsboro Winery 2008 Apres
Casa Larga Vineyards 2007 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
Coyote Moon Vineyards NV Naked Chardonnay
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2008 Riesling
ELF's Farm Winery & Cider Mill 2009 Appalachian Trail Apple Wine
Finger Lakes Distilling 2010 Seneca Drums Gin
Heron Hill Winery 2008 Semi-Sweet Riesling
Hosmer Winery 2008 Chardonnay
Hosmer Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc
Imagine Moore Winery 2009 Passion
Keuka Lake Vineyards 2009 Dry Riesling
Keuka Lake Vineyards 2009 Semi Dry Riesling
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2008 Vignoles Dessert Wine
King Ferry Winery 2008 Treleaven Dry Riesling
Lakewood Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Yellow Dog Riesling
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Semi-Dry Riesling
Leidenfrost Vineyards NV Niagara
Lucas Vineyards 2009 Vignoles
Niagara Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Rosebud Gold
Paumanok Vineyards 2009 Riesling Late Harvest
Penguin Bay Winery NV Tuxedo Red
Red Newt Cellars 2009 "Circle" Label Riesling
Rock Stream Vineyards NV Grappa
Schulze Vineyards & Winery NV Thirty Mile Point Sweet Niagara
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2008 Gewurztraminer
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2008 Late Harvest Riesling
Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Cayuga White
Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Vidal Blanc
Thousand Islands Winery NV Wellesley Island White
Torrey Ridge Winery NV Scarlet Red

The following wines were awarded Gold medals:
Winery Vintage Wine
Americana Vineyards & Winery 2009 Crystal Lake
Anthony Road Wine Company 2009 Vignoles
Arbor Hill Grapery NV Coriesa Hill Iona Rose
Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer
Bedell Cellars 2008 Cabernet Franc
Belhurst Estate Winery 2009 Gewurztraminer
Bet The Farm Winery 2009 Traminette
Billsboro Winery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Bloomer Creek Vineyards 2008 Riesling
Bouke and Bouquet 2009 Bouquet White Dessert Wine
Casa Larga Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
Cascata Winery 2008 The Professor's Classic: Dry Riesling
Cascata Winery 2009 Cascade Riesling
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Eagle Crest Vineyards 2009 Canal Boat Red
Earle Estates Meadery NV Honey Mead Contemporary
Earle Estates Meadery NV Autumn Harvest
Fox Run Vineyards 2008 Tierce Dry Riesling
Fulkerson Winery 2008 Dornfelder
Glenora Wine Cellars 2009 Dry Riesling
Glenora Wine Cellars 2009 Signature
Glenora Wine Cellars 2008 Meritage
Goose Watch Winery NV Classic Cream Sherry
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2008 Homstead Reserve Riesling
Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard 2008 Dry Riesling
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 Baco Noir Reserve
Imagine Moore Winery 2009 Joy
Imagine Moore Winery 2008 Inspiration
Jamesport Vineyards 2007 Petit Verdot
Johnson Estate Winery 2009 Concord
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2009 Riesling
King Ferry Winery NV Gilded Lily
King Ferry Winery 2008 Treleaven Eis Late Harvest Riesling
Knapp Winery and Restaurant 2009 Dry Riesling
Knapp Winery and Restaurant 2008 Vidal Blanc
Knapp Winery and Restaurant NV Limoncello
Lakewood Vineyards 2009 Vignoles
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2006 Blanc de Blanc
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2009 Dry Riesling
Lucas Vineyards 2009 Cayuga White
Lucas Vineyards 2007 Limited Reserve Cabernet Franc
Martha Clara Vineyards 2009 Riesling
McGregor Vineyard 2008 Riesling
McGregor Vineyard 2009 Rosé D'Cabernet Franc
Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery NV Semi-Sweet Mead
Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery NV Maple Liquer
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards 2007 Reserve Chardonnay
Paumanok Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Merlot Tuthills Lane Vineyard
Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Assemblage
Peconic Bay Winery 2007 La Barrique Chardonnay
Peconic Bay Winery 2009 Riesling
Peconic Bay Winery NV Nautique Esprit De Rouge
Pellegrini Vineyards 2007 Vintner's Pride Chardonnay
Penguin Bay Winery NV Percussion
Red Newt Cellars 2008 Dry Riesling - Reserve
Rock Stream Vineyards NV Make Me Blush
Rooster Hill Vineyards 2008Estate Cabernet Franc
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2007 Reserve Riesling
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2009 Dry Riesling
Silver Springs Winery 2009 Blueberry Bliss
Sparkling Pointe 2004 Blanc de Blancs
Standing Stone Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer Ice
Swedish Hill Winery NV Riesling Cuvee
Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Dry Riesling
Swedish Hill Winery 2009 Riesling
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2009 Dry Riesling
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2009 Vidal Blanc
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2007 Meritage
Torrey Ridge Winery NV Diamond
Ventosa Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc
Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2007 Chardonnay
Zugibe Vineyards 2008 Dry Riesling
Zugibe Vineyards 2007 Zenith

Complete results of the 2010 Classic will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at, which also includes Gold medal New York wines from other major competitions.

Media Contact: Jim Trezise, 585-394-3620, ext. 203

2010 New York Wine & Food Classic Judges

Julie Arkell
Freelance Wine & Spirits Writer & Author,
London, England

Mollie Battenhouse, DWS
Wine Director & Educator, International Wine Center, New York, New York

Dan Berger
Wine Journalist and Publisher,
Santa Rosa, California

Jill Blume
Enology Specialist, Purdue University,
Executive Director, Indy Int’l Wine Competition
West Lafayette, Indiana

Rene Chazottes
Wine Director, Maitre Sommelier, The Pacific Club, Newport Beach, California

Jim Clarke,
Wine Writer and Director, MEGU,
New York, New York

Michael Feil
General Manager, Westchester Country Club
Rye, New York

Doug Frost, M.W., M.S.
Wine Writer and Educator,
Prairie Village, Kansas

Chris Gerling
Enology Extension Associate, Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station,
Geneva, New York

Louisa Hargrave
Journalist and Consultant, Wine Wise, LLC,
Long Island Wine Pioneer
Southampton, New York

Lorraine Hems, CS, CWE
Lecturer of Wine Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY & Instructor, NYWCC,
Canandaigua, New York

Linda Lawry
Director, International Wine Center,
New York, New York

Fred LeBrun
Columnist, Albany Times Union,
Albany, New York

Marquita Levy
Wine Associate and Wine Buyer, Vino Volo Wine Bar, John F. Kennedy Airport
New York, New York

Ann Littlefield
Direct Wine Marketing Brand Champion,
Napa, California

Bill Mahoney
Wine Manager, Premium Wine & Spirits,
Williamsville, New York

Anna Katharine Mansfield, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Enology, Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station,
Geneva, New York

Ann Miller
Marketing Specialist, Missouri Wine & Grape Board, Jefferson City, Missouri

Jerry Pellegrino
Chef/Owner, CORKS & Abacrombie Fine Foods, Baltimore, Maryland

Maggie Rosen
Independent Journalist & Author,
London, England

Coke Roth
Wine Consultant & Attorney,
Kennewick, Washington

Dr. Bob Small
Professor Emeritus, Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly University & Chairman, Los Angeles Int’l Wine & Spirits Competition,
Pomona, California

Phil Ward
Brand Manager & Wine Educator, American B.D. Co./The Opici Wine Group, Board of Directors, International Riesling Foundation
Glen Rock, New Jersey

Eric White
Wine Consultant & Store Manager, The Winery,
New York, New York

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Hampshire Steamboat and Local Wine Cruise

I am totally late on this one. But I am reposting anyway because it just goes to show the kinds of cool wine things that are going on with East Coast Wineries. Great blog post by Morgen Thiboult.

Mount Washington Cruises hosts NH wine tasting sunset cruise
Sunday, August 1, 2010
by Morgen Thiboult

Grab your sweetie or your favorite wino and check out this very special event happening aboard the M/S Mount Washington.

On Thursday, August 5 from 6:30-9:30pm, the M/S Mount Washington will host a special wine and cider tasting sunset cruise.

The cruise will feature seven of NH's favorite wine makers including: Candia Vineyards, Farnum Hill Ciders, Flag Hill Winery and Distillery, Haunting Whisper Vineyards, Jewell Towne Vineyards, Labelle Winery and Zorvino Vineyards.

"This is an opportunity for NH residents and visitors to discover and taste some of the best wines NH has to offer in a beautiful setting..." said Tom Zack, Wine Director of Zorvino Vineyards.

Besides wine there will be live music entertainment, a variety of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres as well as glasses of wine available for purchase.

* * *

If you can't make it on this sunset wine cruise, consider checking out another day or evening cruise through Mount Washington Cruises. And definitely do yourself a favor and explore one of New Hampshire's great vineyards and wineries by visiting the NH Winery Association.

Read the whole post at:


Newark Star-Ledger Raves About Garden State Wines

Ultimate NJ wine tour
Published: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 6:28 AM
Newark Star-Ledger and

When I first set off to discover New Jersey wine culture, I didn’t expect to find a whole lot. Within my immediate geographic area (I live in Clifton) are several wine bars and discount wine shops that sometimes offer free tastings, but there are no vineyards — no place where I can track a wine’s humble origins, the process of vine to grape to barrel to bottle.

In the past, my husband and I always drove to upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region to get our wine fix. I didn’t think we had any other choice. But once I started researching wine spots across New Jersey, I discovered that we really had been missing out. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

This is, after all, the Garden State.

Through the course of three frantic months, we spent every single weekend traveling across all of New Jersey. We drove to the tippy-top — where small family vineyards like that of the Ventimiglias operated — and all the way down to Cape May (which had four of its own wineries, all well worth visiting). In a blur of vineyard after vineyard, our palates slowly changed.

At Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards in Colts Neck, we salivated over chocolate sauce made with chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape that is popular in New Jersey. At California WineWorks in Ramsey, we destemmed grapes, crushed them and added yeast, enjoying the hands-on process of making our own cabernet.

At La Griglia in Kenilworth, a restaurant recognized by Wine Spectator magazine, I fell in love with an incredibly light sparkling dessert wine.At Plagido’s Winery in Hammonton, I couldn’t help gushing over the sangria.When we visited Sylvin Farms Winery in Germania — a one-man operation — we had to run through the fields in order to find owner Franklin Salek. It was well worth it, as he then treated us to a history of the New Jersey wine business while we sampled bottle after bottle.

At Turdo Vineyards in North Cape May, we reveled in the unseasonal warmth of late last September by sipping from generous glasses of pinot noir on its outdoor patio. And at Ventimiglia Vineyard in Wantage, we tasted zinfandel straight from the barrel before sitting down to an intimate barbecue with the entire family.

By the time we made it to Hopewell Valley Vineyards in Pennington, we had to invest in a wine journal. The bottles cluttering the floor of our one-bedroom condo were all favorites, and we didn’t want to risk forgetting any of them.

Read the rest at:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Adirondack Winery Sangiovese

I was on a day trip with my sons Dylan and Dawson and we were supposed to go to Fort Ticonderoga, but it turned out the bridge was closed this summer, and we didn't have time to wait for the ferry to go back and forth. So the boys and I decided to turn around and head to Lake George for the day.

After munching on hamburgers and ice cream, and trolling t-shirt and trinket shops, I stumbled upon the Adirondack Winery. Now, this isn't my first post about the Adirondack Winery, but it was my first time visiting there.

Paul and Sasha Pardy own the Adirondack Winery in Lake George, New York. And there was Sasha standing behind the counter when I got there. She recognized me immediately. She was very kind and generous and we talked shop for some time.

But then it was time to get down to tasting. Being a red drinker, I asked to try several of the red wines.

My hands down favorite was the Sangiovese. Their Sangiovese is a fresh red wine. The aromas of strawberry and raspberry that are promised really do come through. This is a big fruit, low tannin wine, so it goes down awfully smooth. A lovely wine for sipping, for cheese, and for pasta dishes. A fun, medium bodied dry red. Great for summer fare! A lot of fun! Great job!

750ml, 12.5% Alcohol by Volume
Label Photograph: Looking up Shepard Park in Autumn, Lake George, NY
Awards: Bronze Medal, 2010 Int'l Eastern Wine Competition.
As part of their "Autumn Brilliance" series of wine labels, their Sangiovese won second place, along with their Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, at the 2009 New York State Wine Labeling & Packaging Competition.

Pellegrini Vineyards Petite Vedot 2006

I have long been a fan of Pellegrini Vineyards. This blog has documented some of my finds from them. One of the oldest New York reds I ever drank was from Pellegrini (it was sensational at 10 years old!). We have bought their wines in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in New York City. And for the many times I have been to Long Island, I never stopped in at Pellegrini. A few weeks ago I got the chance.

Pellegrini is a quiet house. They don’t do fancy wines, in that, they aren’t doing, the hippest, hottest thing. They don’t scream for attention from the press. They go on about their business. They are “the other guys” of Long Island wine.

Pellegrini’s 30 acre home vineyard was founded in 1982 and is home to some of the oldest vines on Long Island. Two additional properties approximately 5 miles east of Pellegrini Vineyards were purchased in 1998. These ideal parcels for vineyards have given Pellegrini the opportunity to plant more cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. These properties have enabled Pellegrini to Estate Bottle all of their reds and their dessert wine "Finale".

General Manager is Tom Drodz, recently described by another Long Island vintner as “one of the really good guys.” Tom is Long Island born and bred. His family’s old farm is now a competing winery. Tom was a long time member of the Palmer Vineyards team, who came over three or four years ago. He’s a veteran wine guy. He knows how to make things run.

The renowned Russell Hearn, of Premium Wine Group, makes all the wine at Pellegrini. They are not a client. He is their winemaker. He began his career as an apprentice at the age of 16, in his homeland of Australia. He is a dedicated, studious, hands-on winemaker, and has been with Pellegrini Vineyards since its establishment in 1991. He has made tremendous wines at Pellegrini. Hearn is a story in and of himself. For a man who makes as much wine as he does, Hearn’s wines at Pellegrini are subtle, soft, and very, very drinkable….and collectible. The older the wines from Pellegrini get, the better they become. These wines are extraordinary.

A state of the art membrane press cleanly extracts high quality juice low in solids. Six unique removable top red grape fermenters with a stainless punch down system (the first on Long Island and one of very few in the U.S.A.) extract deep color and soft tannins gently, avoiding typical levels of bitterness and astringency. At Pellegrini Vineyards they believe a soundly made wine requires minimal manipulation in the cellar. Many of their red wines are unfiltered, and are better off for it.

Recently, I tried a bottle of their Petite Verdot. Single bottlings of Petite Verdot are hard to come by, especially in Long Island. Petite Verdot, due to it’s deep, deep color, and depth of flavor, is usually a blending grape, adding character to Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons. However, this bottle was 97% Petite Verdot and only 3% Merlot. This is an herbal wine, rustic, with big, edgy flavors. The color is a deep purplish-red. The flavor is a like a big jam, with lots of dark fruit, like stewed prunes, plums, blackberry, with a touch of bramble thrown in. It has lots of fruit up front, but also a hint of vanilla which rounds out the taste. This is an exquisite wine. This is something you could drink now, or save for five or six more years at least. An absolutely tremendous wine, it’s crying out for some charring - for grilled Portobello Mushrooms, grilled Lamb or Pork Chops. A nice aged Parmesean wouldn’t be bad either, or a spicy Penne Arrabbiata.

A tremendous wine. A unique wine. You must buy some immediately! Congrats to Russell and Tom and the gang.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Richard Olsen-Harbich and the Green Breast of Bedell Cellars

“And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees… had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I was driving back to the Hudson Valley after I had recently visited with Richard Olsen-Harbich at his new digs at Bedell Cellars. I stood under one of the archways of the outdoor tasting pavilion that frame the immense vineyards at Bedell. Rich and I were jabbering away, as we leaned on the white porch rail, with the rolled up awnings flapping in the summer breeze. The sky was a bright blue and the golden sun morning sun tinged the leaves of the vineyard. We were looking out over the row after row after row of verdant vines uncoiling over the undulating Long Island ground.

Rich was like a little kid. He was pointing to the Viognier in that corner, the Chardonnay over here, the Merlot over there. He was like a little kid with a new box of toys, or a painter who had been presented with colors he had never seen before.

He had changed since I had last seen him. He was excited. He chattered and laughed. He had shaven his beard. Lost weight. He showed me the tanks and barrel rooms. He walked me around the vineyards.

Bedell represents an incredible change, challenge, and opportunity for Olsen-Harbich. He will be let loose in a vineyard with almost 30 year old vines. It is his first foray into such Old Vine designations.

I asked him, “So, is ‘Gnarly Vine’ older than ‘Old Vine’”? He laughed. But the question was not lost on him. The concept of playing with such timbered wood is a very exciting opportunity. It’s been a solid growing season, if not a little dry. But not a bad year to make wine in at all.

Bedell is one of the most established houses in the North Fork. Their sales and marketing team are second to none. Bedell has always been about quality (their Musee’ is tremendous and highly acclaimed), but there has also been a sameness about the line. Olsen-Harbich is one of the North Fork’s most inventive winemakers. To know he will be let loose here is exciting. He bright blue eyes wander and dance as he talks.

He will be making lots of individual wines. Blocks of wine. He will play with numerous things. He’s not just going to make one big batch of Merlot. That’s not Rich. He’s a winemaker who likes to try a lot of tiny little strokes to get where he’s going. That’s how he rolled up scores of 90 or better from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Will he continue his experiments with natural winemaking as he did with his highly acclaimed Naturale wines at Raphael? Will he do some Old Vines designations? Will he make blends? Or lots of single block designations?

Certainly Bedell lends itself to this level of more high-end wine making. One cannot imagine that Michael Lynne brought Olsen-Harbich over to Bedell to make great big batches of Merlot. Still, Olsen-Harbich will have to balance the market demand that has been created by Bedell’s exceptional sales and marketing team, feeding that line of estate and entry level wines, as well as create a new line of exceptional wines that will transcend the current line.

Rich is the Grand Prix winner that the Bedell racing team needed. With his drive, imagination, and passion, Bedell will reach new heights.

But it’s fun seeing him start to realize what he has before him, there on Long Island, somewhat like those old Dutch sailors coming to terms with what they were seeing for the first time. In Richard Olsen-Harbich I saw in his face that he was coming to terms with “something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post and Oz Clarke's East Coast Recommendations

Oz Clark was recently here promoting several of his new books, including the new, revises and up-dated Wines and Grapes, as well as his own Pocket Wine Guide, and his new up-comming title this Fall 2010, Let Me Tell You About Wine.

While he was here, he sat down and did a little mid-Atlantic tasting and had some enthusiastic reactions and recommendations.

More from Oz Clarke
Dave McIntyre
Washington Post
August 2, 2010

When I wrote about my tasting party with Oz Clarke, the gregarious and hilarious British wine writer, several readers chastised me for not revealing Oz's reactions to the individual wines. So he was kind enough to send me some tasting notes of his favorites. Keep in mind that we tasted probably 30 or so wines that evening ranging up and down the East Coast of the US, but centered on the Mid-Atlantic region. Here are the ones that stuck in Oz's mind:

NASSAU VALLEY VINEYARDS (DELAWARE) CHARDONNAY 2006 AND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007These Delaware wines were new to me. I really liked the lean, stoney fruit, even a little leafy in the red, and the restrained alcohol. I’d countenance a very light hand with the oak, but this is a promising newcomer.

BLACK ANKLE VINEYARDS VIOGNIER 2009 AND LEAF-STONE SYRAH 2008 (MARYLAND)With a name like that, you just know I’m going to love the wines, though my fantasy about the exact turn of the black ankle may not be entirely based on fact. These are restrained, reserved styles from Frederick County in Maryland and good examples of Maryland’s late but youthful charge on the Eastern wine scene. Or should I say, re-charge; I have fond memories of Byrd Chardonnays from the 1980s.

MICHAEL SHAPS PETIT VERDOT 2005 (VIRGINIA)Virginia just loves to play hard ball. Most wine regions steer well clear of Petit Verdot – too tricky to ripen, too tannic, can’t pronounce the name, blah, blah. But good ’ole Virginia thinks – hey. Warmish climate, humid, rain in the fall – Petit Verdot, thick skin to avoid rot, needs the heat. We can do that – and they do. Lovely dark fruit, pleasant tannic grip, a smudge of oak. Welcome to your New World home, P-V.

HORTON VINEYARDS RKATSITELI RESERVE 2008 (VIRGINIA)Now. Is that R silent? Some people call it Rekatsiteli, the Finger Lakes boys call it Arkatsiteli – but that R, – that P in Russian – isn’t it silent before a consonant? I learnt a bit of Russian – admittedly from a book published in the 1930s when presumably most decent Russian linguists had been incarcerated – so that I could sing Mussorgsky better. I then realised that Mussorgsky isn’t one of those guys you can sing better unless you’re born in deepest Siberia with a throat as wide as a 100-year-old pine tree trunk, so I sort of lost interest. But I still think the R/P question is silent before a consonant. I’m going to pronounce it Katsiteli. And Horton, God bless the fact that they’ve probably planted a row or two of every vine variety known to man – produce a really classic, full, apple puree example only matched in the East by Frank’s Finger Lakes classic that I tasted a few days later.

SHINDIG 2009 (FINGER LAKES, NEW YORK)For those toffee-noses who don’t believe the hybrids can do dick shit (sorry, ed - Note from Dave: That's OK, this is the Internet!) this mean, lean, chewy, apple skin and shimmering green flesh tongue scourer is 80% Vidal with a dash of Riesling to pull it towards the legit. side of the blanket.

BOXWOOD WINERY “BOXWOOD” 2007, (VIRGINIA) Well, some Virginian had to take on the twin Shibboleths of St-Emilion garagiste and Napa Titan. It’s pretty good if that’s your thing – and Virginia is sort of equidistant, so it should be good. (Note from Dave: Boxwood does two red blends: Topiary, which is modeled after St. Emilion - half merlot, half cabernet franc - and Boxwood, which follows a Left Bank recipe based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot. We tasted the Boxwood, because that’s the one I had on hand, but Oz can be forgiven for mixing them up slightly given the sheer number of wines we tasted that night. Besides, we probably talked about the Topiary and how that is the most popular of the two.)

BILTMORE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2008, (NORTH CAROLINA)I’ve been looking at photos of that damned railroad pile for so long, and at last I taste the wine. Intair-es-ting. Here come de Judge. (Note from Dave: I don’t understand this. But the wine was pretty good!)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Basignani's Maryland Zinfandel

Basignani's Zinfandel one of the few available in this region
Published: Monday, August 02, 2010, 6:02 AM
Updated: Monday, August 02, 2010, 6:46 AM
PAUL VIGNA, The Patriot-News

You won't find Zinfandel on the wine lists of many of this region's wineries. Fewer still grow it. Basignani Winery in northern Maryland is one of those exceptions for now, producing what they call Erik's Big Zin, a 100 percent Zinfandel carrying more alcohol (14.5 percent) than any wine they make.

Owner/winemaker Bert Basignani said they are selling the tail end of their 2006, the third vintage they have made. "It's Lodi (Calif.) fruit, it's good stuff, a good buy. It's a nice wine."

Basignani said "at the time, I guess it was 2005, we had run out of red wine and we needed another source until some other vineyards came online. So we started paying with it a little bit. Didn't make a lot of it the first time out. But we've liked it, and I kind of like doing it, so we've [continued to] produce it a few more years."

Once they sell out the remainder of the 2006 vintage, they'll move to the final vintage they made, the 2007. We stopped making it "because we started getting Cabernet from some of our other vineyards and our red production went up, so we haven't made it since '07. Then we'll evaluate it as time goes by whether we want to continue it."
Read the rest at:

Pennsylvania Wine Kiosks Lock Out PA Wine Producers

State wine producers are soured on kiosks
Friday, July 09, 2010
The new wine vending machines that opened last month in two area supermarkets are distinctly Pennsylvania. But the wine in them is not.

None of the products from the 123 wineries that operate in the state is in the machines, which are operated by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

"You would think they would subscribe to the idea to support local industry," said Bob Mazza, who owns Mazza Vineyards near Erie.

PLCB officials said that the selection in the machines isn't set in stone and that the agency hopes to give more attention to local wines in the future.

"We want to make sure we're paying homage to what we have at home," said Stacey Witalec, a PLCB spokeswoman.

That's also the hope of the local wine industry, said Jennifer Eckinger of the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

The first 53 wines selected for the machines were chosen based on best-selling varieties from the Wine & Spirits Shoppes, Witalec said. But the lineup will be changed based on feedback.
A lack of in-state wines was just one of the shortcomings that were identified, she said. Consumers also hoped to see wines from South Africa and kosher varieties.

The two machines -- at Wegmans on the Carlisle Pike in Silver Spring Twp. and the Giant Food Store on Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Twp. -- are part of a test run. If all goes well, the PLCB plans to roll out 98 more machines, starting in the Pittsburgh area and moving eastward.
Witalec said the machines have been doing well. The PLCB has sold more than 1,500 bottles from the machines, amounting to $16,000 in sales, she said.
Read more at: