Wine making is becoming big business in the North Country.
It already has across the state. New York ranks third nationally in wine and grape production, with the crop value estimated at $52.3 million in 2012.
Thus, we join Gov. Andrew Cuomo in urging everyone who enjoys wine to give the New York state variety a try — and, especially in this region, to sample North Country wines.
Here is what Cuomo had to say about this year’s grape crop and wine vintage:
“The successful harvest for New York’s grape growers is giving our state’s wine industry a boost in production at exactly the right time. Over the last several months, New Yorkers and wine enthusiasts around the world have been learning and enjoying the incredible wines our state has to offer.
“As we continue efforts to improve the business climate for the wine industry, I congratulate our grape growers and wine producers on a prosperous year in 2013. As the holiday season approaches, I encourage those looking to find a great gift to support New York’s growers and purchase a locally produced wine.”
Some resourceful entrepreneurs and vintners suspected a number of years ago that, surprisingly, this climate could accommodate the production of appealing wine grapes.
In Willsboro, New York State Cooperative Extension has been experimenting with the production of grapes for years.
Private growers in Essex and Clinton counties have taken the plunge, and now local wines are available on the market.
The New York Wine and Grape Foundation and the New York State Brewers Association both represent the interests of the state’s vintners.
Western New York wines are famous, of course, but until recently, the North Country wasn’t considered a significant producer of fine wine grapes. The newly established Adirondack Coast Wine Trail should boost recognition of local wines.
Cuomo has emphasized that wines from all over the state should be given attention this holiday season, and we couldn’t agree more.
But we also recommend that the local wines not be looked upon as strictly holiday fare. Just as we paid special attention to doing holiday shopping at local outlets on Small-Business Saturday, we suggest wine drinkers dedicate themselves to trying local produce during the holidays and throughout the year.
We urge a broad sampling of locally produced wines with the goal of finding some that will remain on the menu permanently.
Consuming local wines keeps money turning over in the area and augments the local economy by putting money into the pockets of people with the daring and know-how to try something new.
A local economy flourishes when it is eclectic, with a wide array of products. In their own small way, wines are beginning to do their part.