Upstate New York may not have been known for its wine but one region has decided it’s time to put New York on the wine map. The Finger Lakes are a unique region with a cool climate, soils rich in limestone, shale, gravel and are within close proximity to water providing us with one of the greatest wine growing regions in the world. With over 100 wineries it is a mystery why the Finger Lakes have not become a household name for wine growing regions.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Tracey Dello Stritto of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance to learn more about this fascinating region. From the tip of Montauk past the Hudson Valley all the way to the great lakes, there is a truly magnificent and beautiful state with magnificent wine.
When people drink wine they always limit themselves to the regions they believe great wines comes from, California, France, New Zealand. One region has had enough of its under-appreciation and that is the Finger Lakes and their Rieslings. For centuries this land has been scattered with wineries, in 2004 an organization called the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance opened its doors to create a unified front to get the Finger Lakes noticed as a major player in the wine industry. “Over the last six to seven years, the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance has engaged with and responded to trade editorial programs and have seen an increase in editorial coverage from national and international media outlets such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine & Spirits Magazine. We have also seen an increase in Finger Lakes wines on wine lists regionally and nationally,” said Tracey.
Through this call to action over the past 12 years, the Finger Lakes has really been able to grow. The Finger Lakes region was a region that people locally and outside of the region did not know existed. Tracey realized the importance and benefits that marketing can do for her hometown region. The lakes wine industry was far more important to the region that she realized, the alliance had a beneficial effect on tourism, awareness, and visitors.
Their crown jewel is their Reisling but the region is also known for Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and a Cabernet Franc. “As any wine expert will know Riesling is a cool climate, winter-hardy varietal and often can tolerate a moist, cool climate in the summer. Its root system is vigorous and does not mind the shale dominated soils that we have in this region. It’s natural minerality and fruit components are brought about by our terroir and growing conditions” Tracey stated. The alliance is growing traction as sommeliers are adding Finer Lakes Riesling to their wine list as a go-to wine for those tough customers who have had it all. The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance complies 29 wineries of incredibly talented producers who all benefit from the services the alliance provides.
The alliance provides wineries, big or small, with marketing opportunities to help their brand and make the connection between producer and purchaser. Tracey works to enhance these programs and add a variety of other benefits like a video promotion, connect with media outlets, and to grow the alliance. Tracey describes her work at the alliance as one of those things where a rising tide lifts all boats. The Alliance brings these wineries together to create a unified force. Through this alliance, the Finger Lakes is making its way into wine lists and homes across the country.
For more information on the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, visit their website.