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These opinions are mine and don’t necesarily reflect those of my employer, Greenport Harbor Brewing, but I take great pride in brewing craft beer for a living. I take comfort in brewing beer at Greenport Harbor Brewing, where we made the decision to reject the opportunity to have another brewery brew our beer. While it might seem obvious that a business that calls itself a brewery should actually brew beer, there are far too many “breweries” that brew little, if any, of their own beer. Although the Brewer’s Association trade group reported an overall drop in contract brewing in 2012, the local prevalence “breweries” hiring other breweries to produce some or all of their beer is particularly troubling. From an economic and practical standpoint contract brewing is very tempting. By outsourcing production, contract brewing not only lowers the capital and experience thresholds for entry into the brewing industry, it allows established…

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During our summer recess/hiatus last week, Ben O’Donnell wrote a blog post titled “The Big Grapple: Can Long Island Wines Get Some Respect?” If you’re at all intersted in Long Island wine — or most any emerging region, really — I’d encourage you to read it. Because it’s part of the Wine Spectator’s blog, you needn’t be a subscriber to access it. I read it while I was away — and honestly didn’t think much of it. I’m not familiar with Mr. O’Donnell or his previous work, and the topics he covers are generally known (most for many years). In short, there really isn’t anything new here and I’m left wondering what the point is, honestly. Been there, done that. But, the past, present and future of Long Island wine is something I consider daily. I wasn’t going to mention it here on the site at all, until Kareem Massoud,…

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As the owner of a technology start-up dedicated to promoting local foods, I suppose I should have been offended by the remarks made last week by chefs Thomas Keller and Adoni Luis Aduriz in their New York Times interview with Julia Moskin. In the interview, which is excerpted in Moskin’s article, Keller and Aduriz, the award-winning executive chefs, respectively, of The French Laundry in Yountville, California and Mugaritz in northern Spain, disclaim any responsibility for supporting local farming or sustainable agriculture. In one passage, Keller questions whether it is his responsibility, given the small number of people he feeds, “to worry about carbon footprint?” In another, Aduriz’s opines that to align oneself “entirely with the idea of sustainability makes chefs complacent and limited.” Oddly enough, I found myself only mildly irritated by Keller and Aduriz’s statements. At least as excerpted in Moskin’s article, Keller and Aduriz glibly dismiss doctrinaire locavorism,…

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As the head of a winery, I am very frequently asked about terroir.  Does the concept really exist?  Is it real? Of course it is, I answer, but it’s difficult to understand.  But, it has actually helped me to define myself while I strive to better my knowledge of wines.  Finding terroir in wine is an existential and personal study, and very rewarding. For me, it sharpens the mind — here your senses are tested along with your memory, as you try to find nuances in a wine, and categorize them.  While you sniff and swirl the glass, you are digging in the earth a bit, eliminating from your mental picture of it that which you already know (it was cool, it was hot, it was in oak, it was in steel etc.) and trying to find the essence of the wine that man or winemaker cannot erase from it.…

By John Ingle, Heron Hill Winery As a winery owner and grape grower for over 35 years in the Finger Lakes Region, I have witnessed the growth of our industry from a dozen wineries in the ‘70s to over 100 now. I have also seen the significant increase in tourism in the Finger Lakes. This growth represents a focused and diligent effort to create two of the most viable profit centers, wineries and tourism, in the New York economy. For years, families and friends have united here over the lakes, the land, and the wine – to see it all go away over shale gas drilling – a.k.a. “fracking” – would be a tragedy. Out of my appreciation and dependence upon the lakes, I have implemented sustainable practices in my vineyards – always trying to control the negative impact on the water. This is often times more expensive, and labor-intensive,…

  Editor's Note: It's Regional Wine Week and while it's difficult to make this website any more locally focused, I wanted to draw some attention to the effort. As a member of the Drink Local Wine board of directors, I wanted to re-publish this post by DLW president, Jeff Siegel. I think it captures the essence of what DLW is all about.  By Jeff Siegel, The Wine Curmudgeon This is DrinkLocalWine's fourth annual regional wine week, which means all sorts of goodies and festivities at DrinkLocalWine.com, including the 47-word essay contest and voluminous links to regional wine stories, photos and interviews. The blog will be all regional wine this week; but don't worry, it won't hurt. That's because, to paraphrase my partner in the locapour movement, Dave McIntyre, local wine is no longer a novelty. There are thousands of regional wineries, they're in each of the 47 states that aren't…

From Lieb Family Cellars Having lost friends and colleagues in the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we at Lieb Cellars feel strongly that it is everyone’s responsibility to support the 9/11 memorial. In 2004, we were approached by Monica Iken, a widow of September 11th, about the opportunity to get involved with the September’s Mission Foundation (and, later, the 9/11 Memorial Foundation), and we have been appreciative of the opportunity to serve these fine causes. Over the course of the past seven years, that involvement resulted in a special series of wines created for these two organizations. In that time, we have been honored to participate in this project and are proud to have found a way to give back to these organizations as a member of the greater New York business community. Lieb Cellars has a long history of similar charitable work, and has been involved in the…

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  In a 2004 speech on his educational programs, President Bush decried the “soft bigotry of low expectations” by the opposition party. The worthy phrase resonated with many. I wondered about such expectations in regard to New York wines, and how our wine industry would react if a mirror were held up to its wines and the reflection said “it’s great…for what it is…” That stinging phrase, “for what it is…” is the comment that sinks and supplants the “world class” argument every time, and I’ve tried to count how often I’ve heard it over the years. As if further explanation were even required at this point, let me posit the possibility of a Pauillac or a Volnay being described the same way — not likely. But this malignant axiom gets attached to places like Chile and Argentina, though less so recently, and to more obscure places who exist in…

 By James Silver, General Manager of Peconic Bay Winery, Nautique Wines and True Believer Cider  Photo courtesy of Dr. Vino I was recently asked by my distributor to put Peconic Bay wines into kegs for sale in Manhattan, to accounts you would no doubt recognize, who have embraced this curious new “wine on tap” (WOT) service system.  I never recoil from a sale, but the idea of presenting our wines in this pedestrian manner immediately began to weigh on my sensibilities.  The defense of WOT is so amorphous, and chanted with a religious zeal, while the drawbacks, in my mind seem so genuine to me.  Let me remove the financials from the argument, since profit is relative here. To the consumer, the whole idea of an “always fresh” wine must seem so appealing. I actually didn’t realize there was a freshness problem. Oh sure, I’ve been to any number of…

By Evan Dawson, Managing Editor For our next guest commentary in this series, we wanted to turn to the retail side of wine. Daniel Posner is very well known in the world of high-end wine and online wine discussion. He's not afraid to speak forcefully — and occasionally controversially. He's the owner of Grapes The Wine Company in White Plains, New York and his daily wine deal email is a popular list to be on. And, he runs WineTalk.com, a growing discussion board that focuses on wine in all of its forms. And you'll see, Daniel carries some New York wine… but not much. (We recently noticed he had Hermann J. Wiemer on his daily email offer, for example.) Some will argue he doesn't carry enough, but others will say that Posner carries what he can sell, and New York wine needs a better image to make it in a…