You may have noticed that I've been getting a little heat in the comment section of my recent post on the 2007 New York Food & Wine Classic. You might think that I don't like those sorts of comments, but the exact opposite is true. They are one of the many things that are great about the blog medium. If that piece had been published in a newspaper or magazine, people could have emailed me or sent a letter to the editor, but there wouldn't be an actual discussion going.
And, the great thing about discussions like this one are that they make you think, and I've been thinking a lot more both about the Classic and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation over the last couple of days.
I've admitted, publicly, that I shouldn't have used some of the language that I did in that original post. I edited the post accordingly. But let's remember one thing about the NYWGF:
No matter how great Jim Trezise has been for the wines of New York, the foundation he run is not perfect or above questioning.
And neither is the way that the New York Food & Wine Classic is run. If it were, Red Barn Winery wouldn't have won "Winery of the Year."
Congratulations to Red Barn for doing so well with the wines that it submitted, but should a winery that appears to only make dessert and fruit wine from purchased juice, really deserve to be "Winery of the Year" in one of the nation's emerging wine regions? Probably not, and I don't think so.
Nothing personal against Red Barn, heck, the owner is my wife's uncle (well, not any more because of a divorce in the family), but the formula that the Foundation uses to choose the "Winery of the Year" clearly needs to be updated. In past years, the formula has worked out okay, but this year should prove to people that a change is needed.
And for people who think that I'm wrong to question the sanctity of the Classic, just remember that there is a reason that some top wineries don't submit wines to the competition. Actually, there are probably a few reasons, but they do exist. If the Classic were a perfect operation, everyone would want to be a part of it I think.
My guess is that next year there will be a few more wineries who don't participate, and the next year a few more, unless things are improved.
I've always felt that part of my role as a blogger covering the New York wine industry is to not settle for the status quo and challenge everyone to improve and do things better. And sometimes I say things that no one else will (even if they think it) but remember, no one or thing is perfect or without room for improvement. Not the NYWGF. Not the Classic. Not Jim Trezise. Not my commenters. And, not Lenn Thompson.