New York Wine & GrapeThe Wine Press

05

Dec

The Press Deck-12/3/18~More Grapes Worldwide But Fewer Acres~Vineyard Improvement Program is Accepting Applications!~Extension of Real Property Tax Exemption on Farm Buildings~Sparkling Pointe Wins Best in Class at World Championships

Field Notes

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This past August, Cornell AgriTech became the new name for the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Cornell AgriTech, has been for 130 years, one of the preeminent centers for food and agricultural research and education. It forms a vital part of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I recently joined Cornell AgriTech’s Advisory Council, and I am excited to contribute my background in economic development and public policy. The grape and wine industry is well represented on the Advisory Council, as Nova Cadamatre (Constellation Brands), Sarah Eighmey (Anthony Road Wine Company) and Suzanne Hunt (Hunt Country Vineyards) were also recently appointed to the council. 
 
We all participated in the Advisory Council meeting held last week where we learned about the exciting growth ahead at Cornell AgriTech. We toured improvements underway at Barton Lab and the Food Science Building, and by this time next year, the beloved Jordan Hall, will be fully climate controlled and equipped for distance learning. Cornell AgriTech is led by Jan Nyrop (also NYWGF Board Member,) and I encourage you to view this two minute video where he describes all the exciting progress blossoming at Cornell AgriTech. 
 
On the political front, State Budget season will be kicking off next month in Albany with the Governor’s State of the State address and his executive budget presentation. I traveled to Albany last Wednesday to attend the Assembly Agriculture Committee hearing to provide an update on NYWGF’s activities during the 2018-2019 State Fiscal Year. It was also Chairman Bill Magee’s last hearing, as he did not win re-election this fall. So, it was a bittersweet hearing and the beginning of the changes anticipated for 2019 in the State Legislature. There will be a need to educate all the new incoming members of the Legislature about the value of agriculture to the State’s economy and how the grape and wine industry has long been a key state commodity. 
 
We are planning to organize a grape and wine industry day at the State Capitol on February 4 and 5 to visit members of the legislature. We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks. Please contact me if you would like to participate and volunteer your time to visit your state legislative representatives. It will be important for our legislative representatives to hear from wineries across the State how the State’s financial support of the grape and wine industry contributes to the State’s economic vitality.
Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation