Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar
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Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar



Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar took place Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Trade from upstate and metro New York state were invited to learn about the Finger Lakes region and its wines. This ...

Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar took place Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Trade from upstate and metro New York state were invited to learn about the Finger Lakes region and its wines. This presentation was given by the Finger Lakes Wine Ambassador Thomas Pastuszak, Wine Director at Nomad restaurant in NYC.



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Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar Finger Lakes Cool Climate Trade Seminar Presentation Transcript

  • FINGER LAKES GEOGRAPHYLOCATION & CREATION• Located in the heart of New York State• South of Lake Ontario & West of Lake Erie• 11 long “finger-like” parallel lakes oriented north-south, carved by Ice Age glacial movement• Main winegrowing lakes - Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga• Among the deepest lakes in North America, 450 to 600 ft deep, some reach below sea level
  • LAKE FACTS: THE BIG THREELengthWidth Depth (ft)mimi Max MeanKeuka 20 0.5 – 2 181 101Seneca 35 3.5 630 291Cayuga 38 1 – 3.5 435
  • WHY DO THE LAKES MATTER?THE LAKE EFFECT• Lake Ontario to the North, warm air currents in the winter, cool air currents in the summer• Depth of Finger Lakes provide beneficial “lake effect” to the vineyards planted on the shores• Warmer Minimum temperatures in Winter• Cooler Maximum temperatures in Summer• Helps compensate for Continental Climate• Elevation of Vineyard & Distance from Water creates vineyard diversity
  • TERROIR: SENSE OF PLACE• Glacial Activity that created the Finger Lakes also produced very complex soil patterns• The greatest wine-growing regions in the world have soils rich in limestone, shale, gravel; The Finger Lakes stands proudly among them• Site-Specificity: vineyards planted on varying soils show great mineral expressions that are specific to their underlying soils
  • FINGER LAKES: A BRIEF HISTORY• 1860: Pleasant Valley Wine Company in Hammondsport, first US bonded winery• Dr. Frank promoted Vitis vinifera in New York – hired by like-minded Charles Fournier (French Champagne maker) and president of Gold Seal Vineyards• 1962: Dr. Konstantin Frank creates Vinifera Wine Cellars,which quickly gains reputation for making excellent Riesling• 1976: New York Farm Winery Act passed, permitting wineries to sell directly to public• Dozens of new wineries begin to pop-up along the Finger Lakes in the 1980s-1990s, focusing on Vinifera
  • WINERIES & VINEYARDS TODAYOver 100 Finger Lakes wineries9,300 acres of grapes20% Vinifera1,900 acres ~ 5,800 tons ~ 350,000 casesGrowing Acreage of Vinifera PlantingsFocus on Riesling& Aromatic WhitesWhites ~65%
  • VINIFERA PLANTINGS Varietal Area800700600500400 Acres300200100 0 Riesling Chardonnay Cabernet Franc Pinot Noir Other Vinifera Gewurztraminer Cabernet Pinot Gris Merlot Sauvignon
  • INFLUENCE & INSPIRATION• Looking to the Old World for Guidance• Similar Climates, Soils & Vineyard Site exposures• White Wine: Germany, Austria, France’s Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer) & Burgundy (Chardonnay)• Red Wine: France’s Loire Valley (Cabernet Franc), Burgundy (Pinot Noir) & Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot)• Sparkling Wine: France’s Champagne (Pinot Noir & Chardonnay yielding méthodechampenoise wines)
  • QUALITY & VALUE PERSPECTIVE• The Finger Lakes offer incredible terroir for these varietals, one of the most unique in the New World with regard to suitability & diversity• Value & QPR: Fantastic Finger Lakes wines in the $10- $20 Retail Range (normal bottlings) that rival their Old World counterparts in the same range• Exquisite single-vineyard expressions & old-vines bottlings in the $20+ Retail Range that perform similarly• Finger Lakes Viniferaindustry is very young (only several decades) and just hitting its stride in comparison to Old World vineyards & winemaking cultures (centuries-old)
  • RIESLING: KING OF FINGER LAKES WHITES• ~ 700 acres • Stylistic Diversity• + 26% since 2006 • Dry, Lean, taut• ~ 2100 tons • Off-Dry, lush, with• ~ 140,000 cases balanced acidity • Sweet, dessert-style• ~ 7% of US Riesling market (Ice Wine & Late-Harvest)
  • RIESLING: TERROIR COMPARISON• Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (Germany): Rieslings of incredible balance, dance of acidity & sugar (Slate)• Wachau (Austria): Rieslings of greater weight, laser-like acidity, richness, profound waxed & firmly dry character (Loess [silt, sand, clay] & Volcanic Rock)• Alsace (France): Rieslings of greatly varied character, ranging from bone-dry & lean, to weighty, rich & unctuous (Granite, Limestone, Sandstone, Clay)• Finger Lakes (USA): Riesling for every palate, with soil types spanning the gamut of terroir, and styles influenced by all the great Old World Riesling regions
  • WE LOVE RIESLING – BUT WHY?• Terroir, A Sense of Place: Rieslings are incredible vessels for expression of site, you can “taste the soil” in site-specific examples• Wine + Food: wine’s place in history is on the table, with food, and Riesling’s fantastic natural acidity & fruit profile is extremely versatile with cuisine• Longevity: Riesling can age extremely well because of its balance of acidity & fruit extract• Hold the Oak: while many New World wines are over-oaked to accommodate the “modern palate”, Riesling will never see new oak, maintaining a great freshness and always expressing its fruit character & birthplace
  • THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES• As a region, there is great potential to become a world- class winegrowing region• Other now-great cool-climate regions at one time had to overcome growing pains & other obstacles, learning about what their land & grapes were capable of, and making important decisions for their futures• The region is now positioned to enter a Golden Age; vinifera has proven its viability in the area, vineyard techniques & care in the cellar have shown their benefits, and producers have the confidence to make great changes to benefit their wines
  • THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES• Producers must come together and combine resources in order to make great strides• Position Pioneering Estates as the “face of the region”, focus on quality & use them to represent the area as a whole to the rest of the wine world• Focus on the Vineyard as the primary goal• Follow the examples of Old World estates• Single-Vineyard Wines & expression of terroir, quality over quantity & never-ending pursuit of greatness
  • THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES• The American Wine Market is ready for an emergence of The Finger Lakes as its very own Premier Cool-Climate Wine Region• As consumers, we are leaning toward fresher wines that have lower alcohol and have their place at the table with food; very quickly, we are growing tired of jammy, high-alcohol fruit bombs• We already show love for cool-climate international regions, such as Germany, Austria, and France’s Burgundy, Loire Valley & Champagne• Utilize tools to provide Accessibility to the region & its wines, such as the IRF Scale
  • INTERNATIONAL RIESLING FOUNDATION’SRIESLING TASTE PROFILE• A quick way to understand balance• Voluntary participation to inform and educate• Ratio of residual sugar/acidity
  • THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES• Utilize the Food & Wine Industry to propel the Finger Lakes region to greatness• Sommeliers, Restaurateurs, Wine Writers and many other professionals in this industry will fall in love with Finger Lakes wines, once they are exposed to the best examples and notions of poor quality are dispelled• Create Ambassadors for the region through these professionals, let them become inspired & then inspire others
  • SOMMELIER’S PERSPECTIVE• Some great quality to be found in the area at various price-points• Single-Vineyard& small-production examples (micro- cuvees) are proving to be the most exciting• Acid: Keep it turned-up!• Dry to Sweet: Uniform support, as long as there is balance (whether austere or plush in style)• Sounds wine-making mixed with great terroirs• Value? Yes & No• Focus on the Very Best; put aside anything less
  • WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY“The Rieslings from our region have been outstanding in quality for many years and now that Riesling in general is gaining in popularity we are thrilled.” — Kevin Zraly,, April 2008“From dry to sweet versions, the Finger Lakes is slowly but steadily cementing its reputation as this country’s best source for Riesling.” — James Molesworth, Senior Editor, Wine Spectator“Americans are turned on to Riesling and the Finger Lakes has what Riesling loves: life at the cool margins and layers and layers of slate. There’s no better place to find crisp, refreshing, mineral-tinged Riesling in the States.” — Joshua Greene, Publisher and Editor, Wine & Spirits Magazine
  • THE FUTURE OF THE FINGER LAKES• Wine enthusiasts like you must go out & discover these wines, demand that your local stores & restaurants acknowledge and represent them• Include yourself in the equation as much as possible, visit these wineries & reach out to the winemakers & owners, share your thoughts & wine experiences with them• The Finger Lakes region cannot grow through the acts of a few individuals, only through a combined community effort & support