By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief and Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

This week we have three news items of note — one from each of the three main wine regions in the state. Of course, the Long Island item is about beer, not wine.

Finger Lakes

A Party to Celebrate Finger Lakes Sparklers
Finger Lakes producers continue to spotlight their sparkling wine
in a new event at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Sixteen wineries and
one distillery will pour three dozen sparkling wines and sparkling
beverages at Bubbly! The Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine Party.

The event
runs this Saturday night from 6-9 p.m. and according to Finger Lakes Wine
Country, this is the largest group of local sparkling wine producers
ever assembled. Tickets are $40 per person and $75 per couple.

Hudson Valley

Winemaker Brown Leaving Benmarl Winery
Benmarl Winery
winemaker Kristop Brown has announced his intention to leave the Hudson Valley to pursue winemaking opportunities in Washington state. Though he doesn't have a job lined up, Kristop told me in an email this morning that he has several interviews lined up this week and that he plans to finish his enology degree at Washington State University. "The head of the department is Thomas Henick-Kling, formerly of Cornell
and he has convinced me of the quality of the program there," he said.

Kristop said that he'll "miss the artistic freedom I was afforded at Benmarl and the opportunity to tend to vines and make wine" because he knows that he probably won't have that at a larger winery out in Washington. But, he also thinks that "Washington does have more opportunity than the Hudson
Valley for a winemaker at this point in time. I feel like it's the
frontier of winemaking and viticulture in the United States right now
and I want to be a part of it."

Something tells me that the Hudson Valley hasn't seen the last of Kristop though. He added that "The experience of having worked in more than one wine region will be beneficial even if one day I decide to return to New York."

Long Island

SH_Biere_de_Mars_Bottle Southampton Bier de Mars to be Released in Manhattan
On March 2, Southampton Publick House will release its new Bier de Mars at an invite-only event at Manhattan's The Pony Bar from 6 – 8 p.m., followed by a public launch from 8-10 French for “March Beer,” is a little-known specialty beer that originated in northern France. It was traditionally brewed in late winter when the fermentation cellars were at their coolest, resulting in a crisper, cleaner taste.

Southampton Biere de Mars is brewmaster Phil Markowski’s classic interpretation of an authentic French farmhouse-style Biere de Mars. “Our version is brewed with a
blend of wheat and barley malts and a generous amount of continental hops. It
is cool fermented and aged to give it a clean, smooth, lager-like character,” says Markowski.

Previously only bottled in 750 ml bottles, this year's edition will only be bottled in standard 12-ounce bottles.