Governor Cuomo Hosts Long Island Wine and Craft Beverage Tour and Congratulates Winery of the Year at Harvest Fest

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  25. August 2014

Long Island, NY - August 23, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today hosted the 2014 Long Island Wine and Craft Beverage Tour, which was organized to promote New York State’s beverage industry and boost tourism to the State’s growing number of wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The Tour included stops at several Long Island producers including, Long Island Spirits, Kontokosta Winery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and McCall Wines, and provided State and local leaders, wine industry professionals, restaurateurs and tourism officials an inside look into the manufacturing of New York spirits, beers and wines. The Governor also unveiled a new advertisement that will begin running this Labor Day to promote the region’s wine and craft beverage assets.

To further highlight Long Island’s agriculture and tourism industries, the Governor also announced that the State will allocate $300,000 to launch a new promotional effort to include a targeted advertising campaign and events designed to leverage international travelers and media attention. This effort, initiating in 2015, will also include expanded partnerships with a variety of transportation companies to increase air, car, rail and bus travel options from New York City and beyond. This multi-faceted approach is intended to attract thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the globe to experience the best of Long Island’s craft beverage producers.

“New York’s agricultural industry produces some of the best craft beverages in the world, and its small businesses support jobs and tourism revenue in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today, we’re taking another step to raise the profile of these local vendors by highlighting some of Long Island’s best venues. I am proud to congratulate the winners of the Governor’s Cup, as well as the many other awardees and businesses for their participation in this year’s competition.”

The promotional initiative announced today will build on the I Love NY campaign’s existing partnerships with the MTA and Port Authority, focusing on JFK and LaGuardia airports, the Airtrain and platform advertising on sections of the Long Island Railroad, in order to reach potential visitors already traveling to or through New York City. In addition to the substantial tourist market linked to New York City, online and print advertisements will also target key international travel markets in Canada, Europe and Asia that have been shown to be dependable export hubs for craft beverage products from New York and the U.S. Based on a correlation between high rankings for annual tourist visits to the New York City area and per capita wine consumption and wine imports, the countries with identified potential are Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan and Sweden.

This new promotional initiative will also expand on existing relationships with Delta and Avis-Budget so that boarding passes and car rental/bus vouchers may be used for offers at wineries, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and other businesses on Long Island. These offers will be available over targeted weekends in 2015.

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has worked to further develop the beverage industry, which is a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the State. As a result of two successful Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summits hosted by the Governor, New York State has implemented groundbreaking initiatives and enacted legislation to support and grow the beverage and agriculture industry, including a new marketing campaign to promote the industry and regional tourism, and a series of regulatory reforms that significantly reduce business costs for beverage producers.

In April, the Governor announced a $6 million commitment to promote New York’s wine, beer, spirits and cider industry. Under this commitment the State will commit $2 million in direct spending to support the industry’s growth via a $1 million targeted advertising campaign and $1 million in tourism promotion funding. Additionally, Empire State Development will launch a $2 million grant program that matches $2 million in industry contributions for the marketing and promotion of wine, beer, spirits and cider produced in New York State. Entities deemed eligible for this grant funding will include not-for-profit organizations whose primary purpose and mission is the promotion and marketing of New York State produced wine, beer, spirits and cider.

New York is now home to nearly 700 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, second in apple production, has the second most distilleries and is home to three of the 20 top-producing breweries in the United States.

Since 2011, the number of farm wineries has risen by nearly 50 percent from 195 to 291 today. In addition, the number of farm wineries opening branch offices, authorized by legislation signed by Governor Cuomo in 2011, has increased by 90 percent, from 29 to 55, and the number of wineries has increased from 52 in 2011 to 78 today, for a total 46 percent growth.

As a result of a new law signed by the Governor in 2012, farm breweries have also seen significant growth in recent months – with 57 new farm breweries opening as a result of this law having taken effect in January 2013. Like Farm Wineries, Farm Breweries must use specific levels of locally grown ingredients. Farm Breweries enjoy similar privileges to Farm Wineries, including the ability to open up to five offsite retail outlets, open restaurants, conduct tastings and sell related products, including souvenirs, food to complement beer tastings, and equipment and supplies. As Farm Breweries continue to open across the state, the demand for locally ingredients has likewise grown.

New York’s beer, wine, spirits and cider industry continues to have a tremendous impact on the State’s economy. Between manufacturing, agriculture, distribution and retail, in 2012 the industry had a combined economic impact of more than $27 billion and employs more than 85,000 people. According to a recent study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the full economic impact of New York grapes, grape juice and wine in 2012 was $4.8 billion for New York State. 

New York Wine & Food Classic
Following today’s tour, Governor Cuomo presented Macari Vineyard & Winery in Mattituck with the prestigious “Winery of the Year” award at Long Island’s Harvest Fest celebration. This annual event brought together more than 40 Long Island winemakers and more than 30 top regional chefs and food artisans to celebrate the wine-and-food bounty of Long Island Wine Country. The award is a part of the New York Wine & Food Classic competition, organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

This year's competition included 835 wines, 20 hard ciders and eight spirits from across the state. The awards were based on blind tastings by 22 expert judges—four from California, ten from New York, seven from other states and one from France. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers and wine educators. Judging panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 22 judges for the Best of Category and Governor's Cup awards.

The Governor also announced the following winners from the 2014 New York Wine & Food Classic competition for the “Best Long Island” wines in several categories, as follows:

  • Best Dessert Wine: Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard’s Cheval Bleu
  • Best Rose Wine: Wolffer Estate 2013 Grandiose Rose
  • Best White Wine: Martha Clara 2012 Chardonnay
  • Best Sparkling Wine: Sparkling Pointe 2005 Brut Selection—which was also the Best Sparkling Wine of New York
  • Best Red Wine: Macari 2010 Cabernet Franc—which was also the Best Red Wine of New York.

Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “Today was really an opportunity to showcase the drivers behind the wine industry’s growth in New York, which has received unparalleled support from Albany by way of open ears and real regulatory reform. But what makes New York excel in this arena is the care and talent of vineyards who bottle the best wines in the world season after season. The fact is, there is simply nothing in the world like a New York wine.”

Sal Diliberto, President of the Long Island Wine Council, said, “Where we are with wine production in New York was literally a dream just a few years ago. All hands are on deck to move the industry forward in this state, and the results are real; more wine is being bought, boosting tourism and ultimately creating more jobs throughout our communities across New York.”

Ron Goerler, Chair of Harvest Fest and owner of Jamesport Vineyards, said, “These wines, hand in hand with the absolute beauty of Long Island, present newcomers and fans with a perfect platform for what makes New York wine so unique. Jamesport Vineyards is proud to be part what vineyards across New York provide – a distinct talent to create and share with the entire world some of the most amazing wines.”

Harvest Fest also included additional awards presented to those who have made significant contributions to the Long Island farming and winery industries, including Florence Fabricant, a New York Times wine and food writer and author, and Tom Schaudel, a master chef with several restaurants on Long Island who is also a popular radio show host and local personality.

Photo via Governor Cuomo's Flickr Page.

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