Browsing CategoryNiagara

New York Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit: Focus on Marketing, Not Fracking or WIGS

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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…

Western New York Food Community Rallies to Support Oles Farm

Barn at the Oles Farm. Photo by Christa Glennie Seychew.

I became acquainted with the Oles family when I was in third grade, when their youngest daughter, Pam, was my classmate. We bonded over a love of digging in the dirt during recess, and subsequently I made many childhood memories at their beautiful farm in Corfu, New York. I ate their fresh strawberries every year on my birthday in June; I drizzled their maple syrup on my pancakes. As I grew up I watched the Oles Farm develop a strong reputation in Western New York; as I became more involved in Buffalo’s food scene, I began to see their products…

A Real Winery’s Tasting Room is Not a Bar… And Other Advice to Get the Most From a Visit to Wine Country

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This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this topic. 99% of you know everything I’m about to write. And agree. And act this way. But I still feel compelled to write about it. Why? Maybe it’s because pumpkin-picking season is upon us on Long Island and wine country roads are clogged with local agritourists. Maybe it’s all of the bar-masquerading-as-a-tasting-room stuff I’ve been reading. Or maybe it’s that I’m becoming more and more like my father every day in that I simply expect people to act the right way in every situation — including visiting wine country. Most of the time,…

Freedom Run Winery 2010 Estate Cabernet Franc

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I think my Niagara-based colleagues here at the NYCR would agree that their home region has yet to hone in on a ‘signature variety.’  Many grapes have been consistent performers, including chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet franc. Does Niagara need a signature variety? I have mixed feelings on the matter, but will explore them in an upcoming post. For now, we can say that it can be helpful to be known primarily for one grape — think Oregon (pinot noir) or the Finger Lakes (riesling) closer to home. On the other hand, merlot as Long Island’s signature variety has been…

Ballpark Brew Fest Hits a Homerun

Flying Bison Brewing's Tim Herzog

I’ve written before of my beefs with beer festivals. It’s heartening, then, to see events like Ballpark Brew Bash, which took place in Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field this weekend. Small and intimate but boasting an impressive selection of breweries and beers, BPBP was downright pleasant to attend. Thanks to a favorable ratio of breweries to attendees and a spread-out facility (the breweries set up on the edges of the baseball diamond and in the concession areas) I didn’t see a single long line –– not even at the Stone or Founders stands, where beloved Bastards both Dirty and Arrogant were on…

Harvest 2012: Chardonnay in Niagara USA

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Harvest has ramped up here in Niagara this week as the time for chardonnay had come in several local vineyards. Leonard Oakes Estate Winery had already taken Vignoles before pulling chardonnay in addition to pinot noir for sparkling wine. Freedom Run Winery’s custom crush operation had already brought in Brianna, Edelweiss and Leon Millot before they began their estate chardonnay picking on Monday. The picture at left shows the bounty of chardonnay collected at Eveningside Vineyards yesterday where the yield looked larger than normal and the quality looked to be very good. In the coming days I’ll post the film…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Vidal Ice Wine

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Late harvest and ‘iced’ wines — those made with grapes frozen in commercial freezers before processing — are common in New York. Real deal ice wine is not. This is the real deal and you can certainly taste the difference. Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine ($38) smells like juicy ripe peaches and apricots drizzled with floral lavendar honey. The nose is intense and ever-moving as the wine warms to room temperature. The palate is explosive in its concentration and complexity, bursting with stone fruit flavors along with those of hay, honey, cooked sugar, golden raisin, dried apricots and lavender…

Hop Harvest Party in Niagara County!

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McCollum Orchards hosted an old-fashioned harvest party this week to enlist the helping hands of their Niagara County neighbors, willing homebrewers in search of “U-Pick” hops, and any folks interested in experiencing the farm’s first commercial hop harvest. As guests helped owners Rich and Bree Woodbridge cut down Cascade bines and pluck hop cones, then sort them and lay them out on drying racks –– all in 90-degree heat –– the community got a taste of the life of a hop farmer. They also got a taste of banana bread, homemade brownies, pie, hot dogs, and a fresh batch of…

Harvest Update: Cascade and Centennial Hops at McCollum Orchards

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McCollum Orchards, Niagara’s new hops farm and orchard in Lockport, New York, kicked off its first commercial harvest this week with Centennial hops. Bree Bacon Woodbridge, co-owner of the farm with her husband Rich, reports that the crop “looks pretty good, all things considered. We picked several cones that are the size of my thumb.” Woodbridge says the very hot, dry 2012 season brought “more pest pressure than last year. We were back on our heels and then were able to put in irrigation, with inline fertilizer, which helped regulate a lot. We have done a lot of hand-picking of…