When two dozen invited wine industry professionals take their seats at the head table at the New York Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit later this month, they’ll have specific goals in mind. So will Governor Andrew Cuomo, and that includes his desire to make sure the summit is not bogged down by two recurring debates: wine in grocery stores, and hydrofracking.
Several sources confirm that the summit will be geared toward other issues, leaving the volatile hot buttons for another day. Indeed, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly stated his opposition to wine in grocery stores, and his administration continues to review fracking. The summit is not designed as a lobbying opportunity.
Instead, the summit will focus on how to promote and grow the industries. Dozens of industry leaders will be invited, with a roundtable featuring some of the most prominent names from the Finger Lakes, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Niagara, and elsewhere. The governor’s staff insists that the entire state will be fairly represented. The roundtable is likely to be limited to two dozen people.
The summit will be held before the end of October; a committee is working to finalize the date. It will be modeled after the Yogurt Summit, a successful event in August that brought in producers and suppliers for a discussion on leveraging the explosion of the yogurt industry in New York State.
Apart from marketing — which will include focus on both private and public dollars — the summit will also tackle regulatory reforms. Winery owners are likely salivating at the opportunity to make progress on a number of legislative issues.
The New York Cork Report will publish accounts of the summit from various participants. Until then, we encourage discussion in our comments section about what the state can do to further support the industry.