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November 25, 2009

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Evan,

I agree that the hands on, small family business nature of Finger Lakes wineries is a unique part of the visitors experience. In my experience, this is a common theme for NY wineries in general. It's not unusual to find owners and winemakers (or the owner/winemaker) at work in the tasting room. We just started running tours more frequently this year and they have been very popular. The tour guide is either my wife or myself. It's a part of the business we really enjoy because the people who take the tours are so interested in NY wine and food. I don't see either of us delegating tour guide duties anytime soon.

Duncan -

Wonderful to hear. I probably should have clarified something: Based on the title, one might suspect winemaker worship. It's actually quite the opposite. This is not about creating a rock-star image for winemakers; it's about removing that image in favor of a more approachable, relatable persona and story. I look forward to touring the NE and meeting Duncan and many others.

It depends on the winemaker, of course. Having said that, I can count on one hand the number of winemakers I've met that I haven't liked.

The major issue for me, and I am sure other winemakers, is time, particularly this time of year. It is the best time to tour from a visitor stanpoint, but the worst time for a winemaker. On a daily basis I am the only one at the winery so it makes it difficult to break free and do a tour. That being said, I have never turned anyone down who calls and wants to visit. Recently while racking wines, a car just pulled up and walked onto the farm, so I stpopped what I was doing and gave them a tour. My goal is to advance the wine culture in NE Pa.

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