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March 09, 2007

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Whatever became of the grant that the wine council received for this very same purpose?

Also, Mr. Bate of the Long Island Wine Council has been maintaining a very low profile, in my opinion. Perhaps he is working very hard behind the scenes?

Suggest your local leadership contact the Lodi Woodbridge Wine Commission and learn what they did....

Lenn, here's my guess at it. I wonder if it has something to do with a more coaelesced food scene up there to go with the wine. I agree with you on the wines--when I think of wines outside of the Finger Lakes I think Long Island first wayyy before the Hudson Valley. I also wonder if there isn't a perception that the Hudson Valley is more geographically accessible. Onc can imagine a day trip from the Stone Barns Center at the southern end (Tarrytown) up to the Shawangunks and the wineries around there without too much issue with traffic, etc.

I would hope that if a center was to open in the Hudson Valley that LI would be the next logical location.

From what I understand of the situation, Canandaigua Wine Cellars (Constellation Brands) donated the original property that the Food and Wine Center sits on - making it a big inducement( to say the least) to having it located there. No doubt the Hudson Valley site is less expensive or might have been donated as well - not sure. Politically we've always been at a disadvantage with regard to money and projects on a statewide level - in the wine industry and well beyond. Also don't forget the NYWGF stands for wine and grape foundation - not just the wine foundation. Concord and other similar juice grapes still account for far and away the largest acreage of grapevines planted in NYS. As the old saying goes - follow the money.

I agree that a L.I. Wine & Culinary center would thrive, but don't forget that the current center is the "New York" Wine & Culinary Center, not just the Finger Lakes. L.I. wines get an enormous amount of promotion in the center, which is awesome because I would estimate that 90% of tourists walking into the center have no idea that vineyards even exist on Long Island.

Lenn - of course money comes into play here, so that is certainly part of it. And, I agree with Jennifer about the "food scene" - the CIA alone is a reason to make that are a focal point.

However, that said, I'll make the following statement and take whatever bashing comes from it... I don't think that the Long Island wine region has yet to come together as a group and go after the common causes. There's still way too much infighting (ie - should Merlot be the signature grape) and the same (often boring) names show up at every promotional event. And while I won't point at Steve Bate directly because I think he's already done way more than anyone, the LIWC as a group is seemingly impotent.

The wines of the region are clearly coming of age, but the region itself is still an adolescent trying to figure out how to use its long, clumsy legs and speaking with a squeaky voice. This will DEFINITELY change, but the region needs more time. And certainly more unity.

First of all, Hudson Valley wines are simply bad. Others can disagree with me, but I was extremely underimpressed when I swung through the region this fall. The culinary scene, anchored by the CIA, has much more to show for it.

As for the Wine and Culinary Center in Candandaigua, the reason that the FL got their act together for a center like this is that they have formed numerous alliances. The 90+ wineries vary in quality tremendously--ranging from a few world class to many making real crap--but they've recognized the value of working together as a region. This is frustrating on one level because too many of the good wineries are hidden amongst the bad, leaving the general impressions of a cultured visitor totally to chance. In terms of politics, however, the FL wineries and grape growers are powerful. Since the region is large geographically, there are lots of state senators who need to appease their constituents. Assemblymen from population centers such as Rochester and Syracuse, both of which lie outside the official FL region, lend their support freely because its good for the wider area.

I think there should be three centers. The FL one, a Hudson Valley center anchored by its rich culinary background, and a LI center that promotes its wineries and culinary achievements. The three centers should make it clear that they are part of a system, therefore encouraging visitors to visit three distinct regions of the state. These centers would do a lot to draw tourists from one end of NY to another, bringing the vast upstate region into a coalition with the more accessible downstate region.

But, I'm sure that makes too much sense, and it would require someone in Albany to recognize the potential. NY is not very good at that sort of cooperation and vision!

Heck, Lenn, lead the charge on LI and maybe these centers will form independtly and then can link up as time goes on!

The establishment of the Long Island Merlot Alliance is exactly the type of "coming together as a group" that will make this region recognized for quality wine production. There is never complete consensus in any wine region - you will always have your leaders and followers, your committed producers and those that are just out for a quick buck. Trying to be all things to all people is not a wining strategy in the wine world.

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