New York Wine & GrapeNews
The Press Deck - May 16th 2018
Field Notes... From Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York’s grape growers and wineries serve as valuable stewards of our land, natural resources, and environment. Our State possesses an abundance of beautiful natural resources like forests, oceans, lakes, waterfalls, river valleys, escarpments, mountains and even white dear that make it a compelling place to live and visit. The wine industry serves as a perfect complement to these resources as our vineyards preserve the inviting beauty of our natural landscapes. Our industry goes a step further in that it deploys sustainability measures designed to minimize the potential impact of farming and production practices. Being environmental stewards is a core principle of our industry. Last week I had the opportunity to join the New York Wine Industry Association in a wine industry roundtable organized by Senator Rich Funke, Senator Pam Helming, Senator Tom O’Mara, and Assemblyman Palmesano. My industry colleagues shared their frustrations about the proposed trash incinerator in the Town of Romulus, which is located between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes; and near the largest concentrations of wineries in New York. The proposed incinerator would have an adverse impact on the adjacent vineyards, and it would be a blight on the attractive natural qualities of the Finger Lakes region that draws visitors from around the world. The New York wine industry is a magnet for tourists and tourism-driven expenses. New York's “wine country” regions generates 4.5 million tourist visits and $1.8 billion in annual tourism expenditures, benefiting local economies and tax bases (Source: WineAmerica). Senator Helming, Senator O’Mara, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and Assemblyman Palmesano introduced legislation (S.8109) in March to block this project and prevent it from happening to other communities across the State. Residents in New York have long valued the protection of our environment, so I applaud these legislators for standing with our industry and Finger Lakes communities to ensure the quality of our environment remains protected. On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo joined the aforementioned legislators and announced his opposition to the project. The Governor has long recognized the wine and tourism industries as important economic development and job creation drivers for the State. And, he has invested in their growth by hosting annual summits, reducing onerous regulations, and funding marketing initiatives conducted by organizations like the Foundation. Senator Helming’s of ice produced a high-quality map that demonstrates the incinerator’s potential impacts on vineyards and its proximity to existing landfills. Maintaining a clean environment and preserving our natural resources provides the most effective means for ensuring the continued growth of our world class wine region and for tourism into New York State. Many New York wineries have answered Governor Cuomo’s call to develop more renewable energy sources by investing in their own on-site solar, geothermal, and wind generation projects. The Foundation will continue to support these efforts by educating our industry on financing and grant resources available to deploy more energy efficiency building improvements and renewable energy generation at vineyards and wineries. And, we will continue to support groups like Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing who promote viticulture practices that help preserve Long Island’s sensitive water resources.
Sam Filler, Executive Director