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February 11, 2013

Vintners: Official trail, area would promote wine

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

“We’ve been going for three years now, and we have wines that are aging well,” Mr. Vesco said.

He added with a laugh, “We no longer have the month on the label.”

COLD-HARDY VINES

The other project, at the federal level, is the establishment of an American Viticultural Area. For an area to be designated as an AVA, winemakers must demonstrate a unique environment and climate. Once the designation is made, the area would be recognized as distinct in the world of wine. 

“I think it would be significant,” Read said.

The process may take two years to complete; Congressman Bill Owens (R-Plattsburgh) is in favor of the application, he said.

And Read noted that the unique characteristics of the region make it an excellent candidate for a Viticultural Area.

“If the Finger Lakes were replanted today, they would replanted with different vines,” he explained. 

Many of the cold-hardy vines chosen for North Country and Adirondack vineyards are experimental varieties; they were not available when Finger Lakes grapes were planted. 

“We would be the first AVA focusing on cold-hardy vines. This area is helping to pioneer that,” Read said. 

“It would be something unique.”

RICHER TASTE

Cold-hardy varieties proving successful include Frontenac, Frontenac Gris and Marquette. 

“I think Marquette’s going to be the star,” said Read of the rich, flavorful red wine.

He noted that all vines struggle by nature. 

“They were designed to go deep into rocky or sandy soil, and they like harsh conditions.

“Through genetics, we’re introducing the cold as a harsh condition.” 

And vines that survive in harsh conditions often produce fruit that is smaller and more dense, with concentrated juices and a richer taste.

And as a Viticultural Area and with a Wine Trail, vintners say, attention could be drawn to this potential.

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