By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor    

Elaine1 The Finger Lakes wine industry lost a major and beloved figure when Elaine Hazlitt passed away last Friday at the age of 70.

Hazlitt and her husband Jerry founded Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in 1985. She is credited with infusing the tasting room with her positive energy. And beyond the creation of the winery, Hazlitt's neighbors say that Elaine Hazlitt deserves credit for helping sustain the operation.

"After Jerry died, she was a very strong person to continue the family tradition of winemaking," says Ted Marks, owner of nearby Atwater Vineyards. "She held that family together. She got them into the era that they're in now."

"There are a lot of sweet people in the wine industry, but Elaine might have been the sweetest," says Dave Whiting, co-owner of Red Newt Cellars and Bistro. "No matter what she was faced with, she was always so wonderfully positive. I knew her for many years and that was always the case."

"She was a sincere and proud grandmother, and she loved her entire family," Marks adds.

As Marks notes, Elaine Hazlitt has succeeded in making sure the Hazlitt family remains heavily involved in the winery.

The New York Cork Report raises our glasses in her memory.