Finger Lakes and New York get lots of wine attention

It’s been a big week in Finger Lakes wine country.

Not only was the area named the top wine region in North America for the second year in a row, but two executives of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, headquartered in the Finger Lakes, were named to the Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemakers list.

The Finger Lakes region won the USAToday 10Best Reader’s Choice for best wine region, it was announced over the weekend.

“It is truly an honor to receive this award for a second year in a row. We were in the running with such impressive wine regions throughout North America,” said Carmela Barbagallo, executive director of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. “This recognition speaks to the dedication of the owners, tasting room teams, winemakers and vineyard managers. We share this award with of our hospitality partners who create memorable experiences for guests visiting the Finger Lakes region. We have watched out our region evolve for decades and feel grateful that travelers from all over the world are enchanted when they visit.”

The second honor named Sam Filler, executive director, and Paul Brady, brand ambassador of the NYWGF, to its young tastemakers list. Filler has been executive director of the foundation since 2017. Brady, a sommelier familiar with the New York City wine scene, joined the foundation last year.

“It’s an honor to be named to this prestigious list of tastemakers who are all so wonderfully dedicated to their craft and profession,” Filler said. “It’s the perfect time to debut our new look, and show that we, as an organization and state, are boldly moving forward. We’re excited to share the incredible product and passion of our state’s wine and grape industry.”

At the same time, the foundation released its new logo and tag line, “Boldly, NY.” It replaces the Uncork New York! phrase and logo that has been in use for many years and is part of a rebranding upon which the foundation has embarked.

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Finger Lakes wine region called best in country

The Finger Lakes is the best wine region in the country, according to the USAToday 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards.

In dozens of categories, experts in the field winnowed selections to 20 finalists and then the top 10, and their rankings were determined by popular vote of readers and others who logged into the contest to vote.

FLX Table in Geneva, affiliated with Element Winery, was also chosen as the top winery restaurant in the country. Among the others on that top 10 list were Fox Run Café at Fox Run Vineyards in Penn Yan at third place, and Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee at eighth place.

“We are ecstatic to be recognized as the best wine region in the country,” said Lisa Burns, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council. “The Finger Lakes wine and tourism industry generates $2.8 billion on an annual basis. This national honor represents the region’s 130+ wineries, five wine trails, and 60,000 diligent, hard-working residents.”

The Finger Lakes region was chosen over nearly 250 American Viticulture Areas, or designated wine regions.

The Finger Lakes was represented in every wine category in the contest:

  • Belhurst Castle in Geneva took third place for “Best Wine Country Hotel”
  • Fox Run won seventh and Dr. Konstantin Frank in Hammondsport won 10th place for “Best Tasting Room”
  • The Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Watkins Glen came in fifth for “Best Wine Festival”
  • Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in Dundee placed seventh for “Best Winery Tour.”

Though New York’s craft breweries are about to overtake the number of wineries in the state, they are mostly much newer, perhaps accounting for little to no showing in the contest categories for beers.

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