Posts Written ByEvan Dawson

Naked and Still Loving It: The Unique Success of Lamoreaux Landing’s T23

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Red wine loves wood the way sunlight loves a hillside, the way Tarantino loves violence, the way feet love grass. One does not necessarily need the other, but can you imagine it another way? At Lamoreaux Landing on Seneca Lake, they could indeed imagine it another way. Back in 2002, the winemaking team floated the idea of viticultural nudity. This would not be performance art in a 750-ml bottle. This would be an experiment to see what would happen if cabernet franc saw no oak barrels. Today, the question of who gets the credit remains murky. Josh Wig, a co-owner,…

The 2012 Finger Lakes Vintage: Finally, the Hype is not Hyperbole

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“Don’t judge me by the size of my parents’ house.” These were the words a friend said to me in ninth grade before I came to hang out. He was concerned that I might judge him based on the opulence in which he was being raised. He worried I would assume he was just like his house: extravagant, showy, boasting of power. He needn’t have felt that way. No one should have to apologize for their parents’ success; we can simply hope it won’t make them lazy and entitled. The house is not the person. Circumstances change. I couldn’t help…

Finger Lakes Flooding Leaves Devastation but Minimal Impact on Wine Industry

Photo courtesy of Miles Wine Cellars' Facebook page

On Tuesday night, May 13, northern Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes was hit with the most severe storms it’s had since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Reports say that between 4 and 9 inches of rain fell, coming largely in two waves that were just a few hours apart, causing massive flooding. The Town of Jerusalem, especially Penn Yan and Branchport, was hardest hit, and a state of emergency was declared in Yates County. While a building in Penn Yan collapsed, and numerous houses and businesses were flooded and culverts washed away, no one was injured. On Friday the 16, more heavy…

In the Finger Lakes, Finally, Female Winemakers are Becoming More Common

Hector Wine Company assistant winemaker Alex Doniger

It was inevitable that women would conquer wine, and winemaking, as a small-but-not-unrelated stop on their way to conquering the top government posts that they have long been owed, in this country and others. Men have ruled for too long, and look where that’s gotten the world: on the brink of nuclear annihilation, or financial ruin, or The Singularity, or some such embarrassing way to ruin this improbable oasis in a heretofore barren universe. From the Russian satellites to Syria to the job markets to the pathetic level of political discourse, blame the men. We’ve proven ourselves incapable stewards. Anyway,…

No, We’re Not Number 3: The Trouble with Bad Lists

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The Finger Lakes is not the third-best wine destination in the world. And this should not offend anyone in the Finger Lakes. It should offend the nice people at the Huffington Post, or Viator, or wherever this list originated. For the past several days, I’ve seen a long list of people on social media celebrating this ostensible award. Several people posted the list on my Facebook timeline, declaring it another signal of the world’s respect for the Finger Lakes. And on that score, I guess, maybe, sure. But there’s actually a danger here. No one from Bordeaux is celebrating their…

New Survey Shows Why 2014 was the Worst Winter in the Finger Lakes in Years

A dead bud. | Photo by Jim Monahan, Cornell Cooperative Extension

The most devastating winter in more than a decade has left behind millions of dollars of damage to the Finger Lakes wine industry. Thanks to a survey from the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Finger Lakes Grape Program, we’re learning just how serious the winter losses could be. Over the last two weeks of March, researchers cut more than 14,000 buds and collected more than 100 samples of vinifera. Teams visited 20 different sites, from vineyards on Seneca, Keuka, Cayuga, Canandaigua, and Skaneateles Lakes. The staff attempted to collect buds from a variety of locations even within single vineyard sites — buds from high up, buds from…

Villa Bellangelo and Winemaker Ian Barry Part Ways

Former Villa Bellangelo winemaker Ian Barry.

Villa Bellangelo has decided to end its employment of winemaker Ian Barry, and the winery is launching a search for a new winemaker immediately. Barry was hired by Bellangelo in 2011 when the Missick family arrived from California to set in motion a dramatic change at the Seneca Lake facility. Known for a quirky Italian theme and a lineup of sweeter wines, the Missicks purchased Bellangelo with the intention of joining the regional elite. Barry, an award-winning winemaker with experience at several Finger Lakes producers, was hired to improve the wines. “Ian Barry assisted Bellangelo during an important transition,” said Chris Missick in a statement. “Most…

A Sense of History: Bellangelo’s Book is a Unique Marketing Effort

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Villa Bellangelo’s Christopher Missick has put together a kind of book that’s uncommon: a marketing document designed to boost his company’s brand, but also a historical document grounded in valuable research. This is a new age of marketing; 30-second television ads and newspaper spots are not bringing the return on investment like they once did. Companies are not just creating ads; they’re creating content, and it starts with explaining the company’s values. For example, today on Hulu, Chipotle launches its own four-episode miniseries called Farmed and Dangerous. Chipotle hired Ray Wise, a veteran character actor, to lead the show, and…

Consultant Winemaker Paul Hobbs, with Well-Known German Winemaker, Launches Finger Lakes Project

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The Finger Lakes region has been abuzz with news that consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs is launching a project on the southeast side of Seneca Lake. Just as importantly, Hobbs is partnering with a German winemaker of high pedigree. Hobbs and the unconfirmed partner have chosen not to reveal that partner’s name yet, but more than a dozen Finger Lakes industry professionals tell NYCR that the partner will be Johannes Selbach of Selbach-Oster. An email to Selbach has not received a reply; official word will come on Michael Warren Thomas’Savor Life radio show later this month. Hobbs is a high-wattage industry…

Finger Lakes Growers Begin to Check for Damage to Vines Following Brutal Cold Snap

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On Saturday, Steve Shaw of Shaw Vineyard spent about an hour carefully cutting buds from canes he pulled from his vineyard. It had been several days since the coldest weather to hit the region in years had finally lifted. Reports varied from county to county, town to town, vineyard to vineyard. The lowest temperatures had plunged perilously close to ten degrees below zero. Shaw wanted to know how his canes had dealt with it. There is no hard line of temperature that will inevitably cause vine death, but ten below is an unofficial rule of thumb. Growers will say that ten below for three hours…