New York Wine & GrapeNews



The Press Deck ~ July 18th, 2018

Valerie Ross

Category: Industry

Our team at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation seems to be flowing with the same vigor pulsing through the vineyard vines across the state.We are approaching our programming with fresh perspective and renewed tactics based on our Strategic Plan.
As you read last week, we've just completed another successful NY Drinks NY Finger Lakes Vineyard Visit, as we welcomed 15 members of the trade and media from places like the Rockefeller Center Rainbow Room , Chamber Street Wines and the Black Dress Traveler to name a few. We tasted our way across the Finger Lakes, visiting 25 wineries over three days. They say that the best way to learn a language is through full immersion, and I would assert that there is no better way to learn about New York’s amazing winemakers than by immersing oneself in vineyards, press decks, and tasting rooms. Our participants can now be considered fluent in the winemaking ways of the Finger Lakes.
In the middle of the excitement of last week’s visit, our dear friend and longtime colleague, Susan Spence, retired from the Foundation after 28 years of dedicated service. The NYWGF Team already misses Susan’s confident hand overseeing operations and fiscal management, her masterful execution of our Export program, and her role in building the Foundation into the successful organization that it is today. She joins her mother, Juanita, as NYWGF staff alumni that we will continue to lean on for her sage advice and insights for best serving our state’s wine and grape industry. She is an irreplaceable part of the Foundation and she will be remembered as one of our industry’s key pioneers.  
Susan was so effective in her work that it takes two of us to manage one of her projects. Val and I will be co-leading the Foundation’s Export program moving forward. We jumped right in last week by travelling to Washington D.C. to attend the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council’s Attaché seminar . This conference provided us the opportunity to network with Agricultural Trade Officers (ATO) based in U.S. Embassies in key export markets for New York Wines, like the U.K., France, Japan, the Caribbean, and Canada. We've come away with a sense that our instinct to focus on a few markets with "high touch" events, along with a rebranding of our international tradeshow presence, is the right direction to go. We will be doing more work on the Export program today with two roundtable meetings designed to get more feedback from current participants and others delving into the international marketplace.
On more serious news, I have heard from many wineries across the state about their concerns related to NYS A11203/S9040 , which is legislation that relates to clarifying alcoholic beverage tastings sales tax exemptions. The legislation sponsors, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Patrick Gallivan, released the following statement yesterday; “This piece of legislation only applies to tax exemptions on tastings from New York producers at their premises. This would in no way impact who can serve alcohol for on-premise retailers such as bars and restaurants. We have been working on providing tax relief to promote NY products over the last couple of years. During this time, numerous conversations with industry representatives and State agency officials occurred. I have been assured that the bill will not be sent to the Governor for consideration until the end of the year, when we will request a chapter amendment to address the 21-year-old age limit and any other unintended consequences.”
The New York Wine Industry Association issued a Legislation Alert yesterday with their position on the bill. (NOTE: NYWIA’s opinions or policy positions do not reflect those of NYWGF.) If you still have questions about the bill, please feel free reach out to me.
Sam Filler, Executive Director