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March 13, 2012

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Thanks Lenn

It was an amazing 2010 Blaufrankisch Mudd West Vineyard from Channing Daughters.

A NYW&GF program that seems to mostly benefit the Finger Lake vintners? Isn't' that all of them?

A bit confused at the above comment, hard to believe someone who reads this blog isn't aware that NY is comprised of at least 4 distinct regions (having claimed 8 American Viticultural Areas) possibly 5 or 6 if you considered the thousand islands (but they buy most if not all of their fruit) and lake eerie (primarily labrusca and hybrid table grapes) as well.

Steve: Thanks for the note. I can't speak for Ian (nor do I know who he is) but my guess is that this is just some belief that NYWGF is biased towards the Finger Lakes producers -- I guess re-kindled by Len's comments that the Finger Lakes are benefiting greatly from these types of programs.

I don't doubt that such a sentiment exist, but personally I adhere to the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats. I do however think it could be a misstep to embrace only one varietal (I'm looking at you Riesling) when only one of our regions is faithfully producing them. NY is certainly capable in the reds department and other dry aromatics are also made well here, not to mention ice wines.

To amplify my comments, it appeared to me that the upstate and in particular the Finger Lakes region vintners came with their marketing hats on and were really trying to impress the media, small wine merchants and consumers, whereas in my opinion the Long Island wineries were more in a event tasting mode. I know in the afternoon a number of Long Island winemakers and proprietors were working the media, but later in the day/evening it was much lower profile. And again in my opinion some of the wines poured were not necessarily the best of Long Island.

Duly noted, though perhaps Long Island's proximity to and familiarity with New York City markets had something to do with this. Many LI wineries are already on NYC menus, whereas wines from the Fingerlakes seem far more rare, imho, only Wiemer and Konstantin Frank immediately come to mind.

There are a few more Finger Lakes producers who have done good things in NYC (Ravines and Lamoreaux come to mind), but that's an interesting point.

Of course, there aren't that many Long Island producers who have really done a great job in NYC, are there?

Living in Manhattan, LI wines have had a continue to have a challenging time in general, There are notable exceptions including Shinn Estate wines, and top end Wolffer and Bedell big bold reds at some steak houses. The advantage the upstate producers have are lower costs, therefore they can price at lower points. FLX prices at the tasting ranged from $10 to $39, with a mean value of $16. Long Island wines were from $15 to $75, but with an mean value of $25+. According to smaller merchants, these retail prices for LI wines place them in top tier price groups, and consumers question the value vs. international competition. The Finger Lakes wines are much better priced. As for NYC restaurant prices, the Finger Lake wines on wine lists are in the $20-35+ range at many places we have dinned at in the city. The limited LI wines are in $30-50+ range, excluding the $100+ big merlots, cab francs, and blends. It was a challenge when I was at LIMA and it appears to remain a challenge.

NIAGARA.....Spell check? where Cab Franc isn't rare!

This is a wonderful marketing initiative. We would have had better participation from Niagara, but even with the minimum 5 wineries participation, NYW&GF thought we could not get the cellar visits because of the distance to the west coast of the state. We will have stronger participation next time, if we can the full program features extended to this region. It would seem to me to be easy to get the NY City press interested in a trip to Niagara USA (which is a short direct flight and has lots more going on for the visitor in addition to wine!)

NY City is a fast growing market for our wines and one we are focused intently on.

As always, typos are ultimately my responsibility, Duncan. There are more elegant ways to point them out, however ;)

I think only time will tell just how successful the event really was. A burst of press and attention is great, of course, but how much wine will actually be sold over a longer period of time. Awareness versus lead generation I guess.

Sorry.... feeling a bit feisty today, it must be the spring weather!

Hey, FWIW, we at Sheldrake have been promised a bunch of orders from various NYC stores, and today actually filled our first order (3 cases of Cab Franc all to the same store). For us, at least based on promises. it seems like a big success.

I think that we need to look at this event as part of the big picture. Not as if it worked, Didnt work, or is going to work. I think that we can all agree that it was successful, and that the NYC market should be one of the focuses of the NY wine community. As far as the Riesling debate goes, I think that we need to embrace it. When competing for attention on the world stage, you need something special. Napa - Cab Sauv, Russian River- Pinot, New Zealand- Sauvignon Blanc, Etc . . . Its not to say that these regions dont have other world class wines, they do. However they needed that one variety to put them on the map.

Lenn and Len,

The NYW&GF promotion was an enormous success on all fronts: winery participation, media recognition, sales orders, and even political enthusiasm. It took a landmark effort by the NYW&GF Board of Directors (including President Jim Trezise and Long Island representatives Trent Preszler and Larry Perrine) to secure the funds for this project in an era of drastic budget cuts. Then it was executed professionally and ambitiously by First Press Public Relations, a top notch agency who also represents Napa Valley Vintners in NYC. This program was a boon to NY wineries and we hope to secure future funding to continue the valuable work of First Press PR in the marketplace. A lot of people deserve hearty thanks and congratulations for pulling off the first concerted promotion of its kind.

Long Island wines have never been more popular in NYC than they are today and that is evidenced by the fact that our wines are now in more retail shops and on more wine lists in NYC than at any time in the region’s history. We cannot speak for other wineries specifically, but we know of at least 100 shops and restaurants in NYC that have carried Long Island wines in the last two years, and that is probably an underestimate. Local wines in NYC used to be a little drop in the bucket, but now it is becoming a well-accepted phenomenon. The reception to our products just keeps getting stronger and everyone from store owners and chefs on down to consumers are more interested in local wines than ever before and more confident than ever that a local wine is going to be delicious.

Your assessment of the various price points of NY wines is far off base, which is not surprising since it’s just based on casual observations and opinions rather than a meaningful quantitative assessment of the marketplace. A few years ago, Trent collected the wine lists of 54 Zagat Top 100 NYC restaurants and went line-by-line down those lists to categorize over 6,700 unique wines sold in the NYC market. This was part of a scientific survey Trent conducted that was sponsored by Cornell University and published in 2009 in the academic Journal of Food Distribution Research. What Trent found in his research actually proves what we have known for many years: New York wines are not only world-class in quality but are also some of the best values in the world.

In Zagat Top 100 NYC restaurant wine lists Long Island red wines are the least expensive red wines offered from anywhere in the world and are on average 65% less expensive than French reds and 52% less expensive than California reds. Before you start shaking your finger in disagreement in an attempt to deride Long Island wines as being too expensive, please consider the facts, which are copied below this message for full disclosure. This research disproves the common notion put forward on this blog that some people believe Long Island reds in particular are overpriced. Now we know that these opinions, which are generally made as casual observations, don’t really hold water when framed in the context of scientific scrutiny.

It would be nice if as a region and on this blog we could move beyond some of the same old stale arguments about price and look toward the future with bright optimism and shared pride in all the meaningful spade work we have done over many years to cultivate a successful presence in the marketplace. Your local grape growers and winemakers would thank you for it.

Sincerely,

Trent Preszler
CEO, Bedell Cellars

Rich Olsen-Harbich
Winemaker, Bedell Cellars


The average price for RED wine on surveyed NYC wine lists is $95.79 with the regional breakdown as follows:
France $126.97
California $94.64
Italy $79.81
Spain $79.73
Oregon $68.92
Australia $64.11
Washington $60.79
New York (mostly Long Island) $44.98

The average price for WHITE wine on surveyed NYC wine lists is $57.88 with the regional breakdown as follows:
France $71.91
California $55.76
Italy $44.21
Spain $40.41
Oregon $37.92
New York (mostly Finger Lakes) $37.68
Australia $37.59
Washington $37.47

Of course one of the organizers and his winemaker are going to say the event was a success.

Talking about himself in the third person to boot.

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