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“The world belongs to those who show up,” remarked Dr. Robert Thompson during his presentation on international agriculture trade at the 187th Annual New York Agriculture Society Forum last Thursday. While Dr. Thompson’s words intended to convey the importance of developing international relationships, the same principle can be applied to our everyday lives here in New York. Nothing beats in-person meetings because they facilitate immediate bridge building and understanding. I am in the middle of an 8-day road trip that has taken me to Syracuse, Rochester, Geneva, Hector, and Canandaigua. I have much to share and I will do my best to be succinct and engaging.
Governor Cuomo held his State of the State address yesterday in Albany. I “showed up” remotely via webcast from my Canandaigua office. The Governor announced an unprecedented commitment to add an additional $5 million to the “Aid to Localities” budget, which is the primary funding source for the Department of Agriculture. And, state support for the Wine and Grape Foundation remains an important agricultural priority for the Governor. I applaud Governor Cuomo’s support of our agriculture sector as it is a vital component of our state’s economy especially in Upstate, of which the grape and wine industry represent a significant portion.
Further on happenings in Albany, the new legislative session with leadership changes for the Assembly and Senate Agriculture committees, and the Commission on Rural Resources. During last Friday’s annual meeting of the Empire State Council of Agriculture Organizations, we met with Assembly Member Donna Lupardo(Assembly Agriculture Chair), Senator Jen Metzger (Senate Agriculture Chair), and Senator Rachel May (Rural Resources Chair). They are committed to supporting the agriculture budget priorities of previous years and looking for ways to increase funding. Foundation Board Members are planning to visit Albany, February 4th & 5th, to meet with many of the Legislature’s new members and committee chairs to help educate them about the work of the Foundation and the value of the State’s fiscal support for the grape and wine industry. If you are interested in participating in the visit, please email me and I can share more details about the planned visit to Albany.
While in Rochester, I connected with Glenn Clark, President of Crafting A Brand and a Foundation Business Associate Member. Glenn introduced me to a restaurant in Mendon called the Black Horse Tavern, which is being managed by Chef Andrew Chambers and Sommelier Vanessa Blackmer; both formerly from the NY Kitchen. They delighted us with a New York wine pairing with sweet potato gnocchi, duck, and steak. And, Vanessa adores the wines from Bridgehampton’s Channing Daughters Winery, so she poured us their Over & Over and Mosaico. She intends to expand their wine list to include more New York wines to compliment Chef Andrew’s excellent cuisine. I highly recommend the restaurant as the combo of the food and wine sparked a lively conversation between Glenn and I on topics ranging from football to avoiding deer herds while driving to effective branding for craft beverages (check out Glenn’s weekly newsletter Three Things Every Thursday for more on this) .
In between contemplating public policy and enjoying delicious meals, I also managed to spend time in our Canandaigua office this week to get some actual work done. We constantly seek out opportunities to provide marketing platforms for our industry. The organizers of VinExpo New York reached out to us with special table pricing to participate in the show only on March 5th. They are offering New York wineries a special price of $600 for a 4ft table with full porter service. Eight wineries have already indicated interest in participating and we need 20 committed to secure this offer. Please see below for more information.
Thank you for reading this week and be sure to take the time to “show up” for someone in your life this week whether it is shooting hoops with your kid at the YMCA or remembering to call your parents or meeting a friend at the Black Horse Tavern, just be sure to take a moment to step away from your grape vines and do something where you join with others.
Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation