By Melissa Dobson, Finger Lakes News Correspondent
The warm afternoon sun shone brightly on the crowd of media gathering in the tasting room of Fox Run Vineyards along the northwest side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes on Wednesday, September 17, 2008. Behind the tasting bar, a large sign announced the news garnering all of this attention: Fox Run is a Wine & Spirits Magazine 2008 Winery of the Year.
Owner and Finger Lakes wine advocate Scott Osborn circulated and invited guests to indulge in a spread of hors d'oeuvres prepared by resident chef Frank Caravita.
As the press conference began, winemaker Peter Bell called attention to how pleased he was for this distinction both for Fox Run Vineyards and for the entire Finger Lakes wine industry. He said that he is proud of the members of the wine community here for its cooperative nature, and its willingness to share with each other and work as a group to benefit the entire region.
Peter then stated that he believes that "the best wines come from a cool climate during a warm year. A good wine is easy to drink, delicious and refreshing." He feels that the pendulum is beginning to swing away from overripe wines displaying gobs of fruit and toward more refreshing and delicious wines.
He then read through a few recent wine reviews in an unnamed consumer wine magazine, one from a Finger Lakes producer and two from other regions pointing out the disparity of scores that ranked the Finger Lakes wine much lower on the 100-point scale than the other regions, although the wine notes for the Finger Lakes wine read much more positively than either of the others. He is pleased that Wine & Spirits Magazine has cut through this discrepancy and is recognizing the region for its quality wines.
After describing the geological qualities of the vineyard and its tendency to bring forward notes of nectarine and papaya in Fox Run wines, Peter and Scott introduced two other members of the Fox Run team: jack-of-all-trades Peter Howe and Assistant Winemaker Tricia Renshaw. Both are young and enthusiastic and were thanked by the team for their contributions to the winery's success.
Scott then stated how pleased he is for this "tremendous recognition." He said that although there is still sometimes a stigma toward the Finger Lakes as a second-rate wine region, "we're not." Doug Dello Stritto, Director of Operations & Event Services at the New York Wine and Culinary Center, added that the Wine & Spirits award shines a world spotlight on the wines of New York and puts them on the world stage.