Saturday, November 25, 2006
BALDWIN VINEYARDS in the Hudson Valley clearly does fruit wine right, racking up awards around the country for its luscious Strawberry Wine and Raspberry Wine. Most recently, Baldwin’s Strawberry tied for Best Fruit Wine in the United States at the World Value Wine Challenge sponsored by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. Earlier this year at our New York Wine & Food Classic, the same wine won Best Fruit Wine in the state for the third year in a row, and Best Specialty Wine for the second year. Last winter, the San Francisco International Wine Competition rated Baldwin’s Strawberry Wine the Best of Class, which essentially meant best fruit wine in America. While great by itself, the Strawberry Wine is also a fabulous topping for vanilla ice cream and even pancakes. Located in Pine Bush along the Shawangunk Wine Trail, Baldwin Vineyards is a small, family farm winery owned and run by Jack and Pat Baldwin, who have long been industry leaders in terms of cooperation with others. For more information, visit http://www.BaldwinVineyards.com.
“UNCORK NEW YORK” statewide wine guide is hot off the press and ready for distribution to consumers, media and the trade. The new statewide brochure is just a prelude for several more detailed regional brochures which will follow in the next couple months. Anyone wanting copies should contact Bonnie Hampton at our office (email@example.com, 585-394-3620).
VITICULTURE 2007 in early February is now only about 10 weeks away, so it’s time to register for a great three-day series of seminars along with a major trade show in Rochester. The conference kicks off on Wednesday, February 7 with two major plenary sessions—“The Big Picture” with an overview of world trends and markets, followed by “Farming for Flavor” with a comprehensive look at establishing an international reputation and identify (like New Zealand) by literally thinking from the ground up. Thursday’s plenary session will focus on Sustainable Viticulture in all of its aspects, and Friday has been designated as “Grape Juice Day” to address challenges and opportunities in that sector. That’s not to mention a whole series of specialized break out sessions, a huge trade show, great food and fun times. Everything you need to know—the program, cost, lodging, and registration information—is readily available at http://www.viticulture2007.org. Sign up today for a hot time in February.
WINE MARKET TRENDS in the U.S. are as favorable as they’ve been in a long time, and maybe ever, according to a presentation by John Gillespie, President of the Wine Market Council during the recent WineAmerica fall conference in Canandaigua. One of the industry’s most informative and entertaining speakers—and one of ours during “The Big Picture” session at Viticulture 2007 in February—John Gillespie relies on detailed, sophisticated market research to track the past and predict the future in a rapidfire presentation filled with facts and fun. Some examples of good news: The baby boomers (that’s us) are a huge generation that has always been relatively wine-friendly, which continues today. Our kids—the “echo boomers” or “millennials” now in their 20’s—are also a huge population group which is far more wine-focused than any other young generation in history, and they still have decades of consumption ahead of them—what Gillespie describes as “the pig moving through the python” effect. There are also many more “core” drinkers than ever, due to “marginal” drinkers who have increased their consumption; wine is now the preferred alcoholic beverage in the country for the first time ever; the U.S. will surpass France as the world’s largest wine consuming country within a few years; and on and on. If you’re looking for a reliable market analysis in a memorable way, you won’t want to miss Viticulture 2007.
LEGISLATIVE SESSION in New York State ended last June, and the new one doesn’t start until January when the Administration of Governor-Elect Eliot Spitzer moves into the historic Capitol Building, but a few recent bill signings (by outgoing Governor George Pataki) are still worth mentioning. One provides a six-year tax exemption for land used solely to replant or expand an orchard or vineyard, an incentive to increase the supply of grape varieties in demand and decrease those with unpromising markets. Another amends a law allowing farm wineries to source grapes and grape products from out-of-state suppliers in years of weather-related crop loss; and a third extends the Niagara Wine Trail in order to make it more accessible and convenient for wine country tourists in that expanding area. Now it’s on to a new year, and a new Administration, which to its credit has assembled a group of advisory committees in various areas. I am honored to serve on the agriculture advisory committee along with John Martini of Anthony Road Wine Company and Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards, joined by our great New York Farm Bureau colleagues Patrick Hooker and Julie Suarez. It’s encouraging that Mr. Spitzer is listening even before he moves to Albany.
CATCHING GRAPES in your mouth, like popcorn, is a fun exercise that one guy takes very seriously, hoping to establish a Guinness World Record by catching 116 grapes in his mouth in three minutes. Texan Steve “the Grape Guy” Spalding performed the feat in front of the famous Opera House in Sydney, Australia, where he also caught 1,203 grapes from a distance of 15 feet over a half hour. He’s still awaiting word from Guinness on whether he’s now officially the grape speed catching champion of the world. Meanwhile, his resveratrol level should certainly be up.
RESVERATROL, the red wine component deriving from grape skin contact with the juice, keeps getting lots of press for its positive health effects related to cardiovascular disease, alzheimer’s, colon cancer, and much else. One of the pioneers of resveratrol research was retired Cornell professor Le Creasy, whose son Glenn (a viticultural researcher in New Zealand) will keynote the “Farming for Flavor” session at Viticulture 2007. About 10 years ago, Le Creasy analyzed different types of red wines from around the world, and found that Finger Lakes Pinot Noir had the highest concentrations of resveratrol of any type of wine from any region. Why? Because Pinot Noir grown anywhere is the grape variety most susceptible to disease, which resveratrol fights naturally. And because the Finger Lakes region has a humid grape growing climate compared with others, once again requiring more naturally occurring resveratrol to ward off disease. But don’t drink wine as medicine; drink it as pleasure. All wine consumed regularly and in moderation, especially with other foods, has health benefits for most people; and all wine regions have their unique attributes. The best wine is the wine YOU like best. Enjoy!
“Life can’t be shared with an empty glass.”
* Nancy Johnston
A Votre Santé To Your Health