Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State has been honored with the title of "Wine Region of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The publication cited the quality of wines, tremendous growth of the industry, and greatly improved business climate, particularly over the last four years with Governor Cuomo’s support. The award will be presented at the Wine Star Awards gala dinner on January 26 at the New York Public Library.
“From a Riesling in the Finger Lakes to a Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot on Long Island, New York produces some of the best wines in the world," Governor Cuomo said. “We’ve worked extremely hard over the past four years to partner with all sectors of our craft beverage industry to roll back archaic regulations, raise awareness of our vineyards, and to be actual partners in the industry’s success. I congratulate all the dedicated New Yorkers who work in the wine industry on this substantial accomplishment.”
Adam Strum, Publisher and Editor of Wine Enthusiast, said, “The New York wine industry has made a remarkable comeback in the past thirty years in terms of the quality of wines, number of wineries, and economic impact. All of those positive indicators have accelerated tremendously during the past four years, making New York State one of the most vibrant and promising wine regions in the world.”
Since Governor Cuomo took office, New York has created more than 100 farm wineries, 28 farm winery branch offices and 28 new wineries. New York is the third largest wine and grape producing state in the nation, with 37,000 acres of vineyards and more than 375 wineries in 56 counties. According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the industry has a $4.8 billion economic impact and attracts 5.3 million tourists annually to the state. The industry supports 25,000 full-time jobs with wages amounting to more than $1.4 billion. The quality of New York wines has risen substantially in recent years as well. Last year alone, New York wineries won over 700 gold medals or above at competitions across the world, the most in one year in the history of the state.
Through both legislation and regulatory changes, Governor Cuomo has focused on helping the state’s wine industry grow. In July 2011, he signed legislation allowing farm wineries to operate up to five branch stores. The legislation also cut paperwork burdens, reduced capital costs for wineries, allowed wineries to participate in more charitable events, and consolidated winery license categories. He has also signed legislation allowing wine to be sold at roadside farm markets, as well as legislation to create and expand wine trails.
The Governor has hosted two Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summits over the past two years, bringing leading industry representatives together with state government in an effort to help the wine industry continue its remarkable growth. As a result of feedback from the Summit, the State Liquor Authority has issued a number of new and revised business friendly “industry advisories” to assist wineries including:
- Ending the prohibition against multiple manufacturing licenses at the same location
- Allowing craft manufacturers to sell bottles when they are conducting tastings
- Reducing fees for manufacturer marketing permits
- Reducing license application requirements for manufacturers
- Increasing the duration of winery licenses from one to three years
- Eliminating the requirement for farm winery licensees to obtain a $1,000 surety bond
- Reducing costs to farm wineries by adopting a new interpretation of the law to allow farm wineries to transport other wine products to tasting and sales events
- Reducing costs to manufacturers and wholesalers with multiple licenses by allowing the delivery of all of their products in one shipment
The Governor also created Taste NY, which has become one of the most successful marketing programs in New York State history, shining a spotlight on the array of high-quality foods and beverages produced right here in New York. Taste NY produced a commercial promoting the quality of New York wines as well as another video highlighting the tremendous grape harvest of 2013. State wines can also be found at Taste NY stores at LaGuardia Airport and Grand Central Terminal. The Taste NY Market at Todd Hill’s weekly farmers’ market on the Taconic also showcases New York State wines. New York wines are also featured at high-profile events often sponsored by Taste NY, including the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the PGA Championship, the Great New York State Fair and the annual meet at Saratoga Race Course.
Support from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, which was created by former Governor Mario M. Cuomo in 1985, has been a key factor in the industry’s growth. There were 37 wineries in New York State in 1985, compared to more than 375 today.
Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, said, “Being named ‘Wine Region of the Year’ in Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards is a huge honor and a reflection of our overall goal—‘To have the New York grape and wine industry recognized as a world leader in quality, productivity, and social responsibility.’ It is a tribute to former Governor Mario M. Cuomo, who rescued our industry in 1985; to the hundreds of people in our industry who have worked together to always get better; to Cornell University for world-class research; and to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his Administration’s incredible support in creating the best business climate for our industry in the history of New York State. Legislators in both parties and both chambers also share credit for their strong support, particularly Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee who chair their respective Agriculture Committees. As proud as we are of New York wines, we are even more proud of the many people responsible for achieving this prestigious recognition that New York is truly a world-class wine region. We’re the 30-year overnight success!”
Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, "Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences congratulates the growers, vintners, business entrepreneurs, policy makers, and all stakeholders whose hard work and dedication to this flourishing industry in New York State makes this international distinction possible. We are so pleased to be your partners in these endeavors, across the spectrum of our research, education, and extension programs, to support and advance your work, and we look forward to our continued efforts and collaborations."
Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said, “New York’s wine industry has expanded tremendously in past years, with much of their success coming from the changing business climate and regulatory reforms for farm based beverages in New York. Our grape growers and viticulturists produce some of the country’s best wines and create a wonderful product that is enjoyed worldwide. We look forward to the continued growth of wineries in the state.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This award, which is one that is 30 years in the making, officially puts New York State on the map as an international leader among wine producers. This is a huge accomplishment that was made through a great partnership that includes strong promotion, high-quality growers, reduced regulation, and most importantly a dedicated industry. Congratulations to everyone involved in this unbelievable recognition.”
State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen said, “By working hand in hand with the industry, Governor Cuomo has created a climate where New York’s wine producers have grown not only in numbers, but also in stature, creativity and excellence. Recognition as wine region of the year is a testament to our wineries, winemakers, and grape growers, who are producing world-class wines and further establishing New York’s position as an internationally recognized wine region.”
For more information about New York State’s farm-based beverage industry, visit www.taste.ny.gov
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