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July 14, 2009


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You are astute. Reads like a promo piece for the region.

Re, the number of NY wineries, et al: don't you know that wine is a numbers game these days?

Drink and enjoy what you like? That's passe...

Numbers are numbers, but they are not indicative of many other important qualities.

In my mind, it doesn't matter if New York has 5 wineries or 500. The importact factors are the matters of quality, reputation, and the story that goes into the wine. These factors are what world-respected "regions" are built upon.

For some time, New York has promoted its industry as one state, assuming that the arbitrary political borders also define some sort of wine industry. This setup may have worked when we were talking about the Finger Lakes, Long Island, and a handful of Hudson Valley wineries. Now that it seems like any part of the state with some available soil is fair game, how can we even talk about New York wine?

Heck, maybe cold weather grapes will make some interesting stuff, but once too many variables and differences are put forth I'm beginning to think less and less of New York wine and am focusing instead on the specific regions.

Even with that qualification, a region like the Finger Lakes is simply unwieldly. It's a big region, hard to get around in, and there are so many wineries that no individual can really get to know them all.


You are correct. That's why the wine world talks about macro, meso, and microclimates.

You are of course talking up a battle that we may have already lost. Too often, people use the phrases, "Italian wine," "French wine," Spanish wine," New York wine," California wine," as if that is any sort of identification.

A number is about competition, is about pride, is about everything else except the wine.

Did you know that NY is 4th in domestic wine production volume. Now don't you like NY wine even more???

While I agree that monikers like "Italian" or "Californian" exist to describe a whole swath of very specific wines from specific regions, I think most people are willing to dig a little deeper into those descriptions. Therefore, one easily generalizes about the Californian wine industry, but anyone who has a superficial knowledge can talk about Napa or Sonoma in a somewhat seperate fashion.

In New York, a geographically diverse state that is damn cold in many parts and even snowier in others, that has maritime, continental, and lake climates and everything in-between, what is the purpose of promoting the building wine industry as all New York? Frankly, it seems to mean less and less as time goes by!


I don't understand at all what you are saying, re, California. It is also a diverse geographic state. Why would it be easy to generalize about California wine regions?

What I am saying is that despite the general term "California wines," almost any regular wine consumer can then break down that very large region and show some knowledge and appreciation of certain locales, wines, styles, etc.

All too often, we hear a reference to New York wines with no such categorical breakdown. I've heard "New York wine this," "New York wine that," but all too often I hear little knowledge or familiarity with the distinct regions and wines within in New York. It seems to be painted with a very broad brush!


People with a deep passion for wine, and a developed or developing knowledge on the subject tend to forget that the overwhelming majority of wine consumers do not study the subject hardly at all.

When you are in a tasting room or in retail you get to learn what the rest of the consuming world is really like when it comes to wine knowledge.

In fact, part of why I often rail against wine writing is because, essentially, many of us are preaching to our own, known choir. Few wine writers seem equipped to talk to that vast majority that could use simple educational information--and some myth debunking, too...

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