New York Wine & GrapeThe Wine Press



Field Notes ~2/27/19 ~Unity Banquet Award Winners~Rules For Legal, Wine-Focused Social Media Posts Are Changing~Rochester Urban Winery Sees Grapes from Near and (Very) Far~Empire Merchants Launches New Craft Distribution Arm~Some Tasting Reports Around the Finger Lakes

Field Notes~

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Today, we are excited to announce this year's recipients of the Unity Awards. The awards were presented today at the B.E.V. NY Unity Banquet held at the RIT Conference Center in Rochester. The Unity Banquet was created nearly 30 years ago as a way to recognize, encourage, and celebrate cooperation among grape growers, wineries, grape juice producers, and others to advance the entire industry.
Congratulations to all of our winners!
Phyllis Feder Unity Award:
This award honors the owner of Clinton Vineyards in the Hudson Valley, who served as Chair of the Foundation Board for three years. The award recognizes individuals who have volunteered their time, shown exceptional leadership, and achieved recognized results in building industry co-operation and unity. The 2019 recipient of the "Phyllis Feder Unity Award" is Alice Wise, Sr. Resource Educator, Viticulturist
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Alice has been a tremendous support to Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, Long Island Horticulture Research Extension Center, and the New York wine industry at large. Recent efforts have included Pest Management Recommendations, coordination of grower meetings, support for the local vineyard technical group, newsletters, grower visits, website support, and moderation of a vineyard manager only list serv.
Jim Finkle Industry Award 
This award is named after a gentle giant who for many years and in many ways contributed to the grape and wine industry on state, national and international levels. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in aspects of the industry such as marketing, promotion, legislative, and organizational. The recipient of this year's Industry Award is Liz Stamp, Lakewood Vineyards. Liz has spent an amazing amount of time of the past couple decades dedicated to promoting the wine industry as a whole. Liz is always available to answer any and all questions from colleagues for the greater good of the industry. A partner (and Manager) at Lakewood, her main responsibilities involve retail and wholesale sales and marketing activities.
Grower Award
This award recognizes an individual for dedication and contributions to the New York grape industry. The recipient of this year's Grower Award is John and Josephine Ingle, Heron Hill Winery. John and Jo have been sustainably growing grapes on the Western Shores of Canandaigua ands Keuka Lakes in the Finger Lakes AVA since 1972. John and Jo are original pioneers of the Finger Lakes Wine business and have made many contributions to the industry. Their contributions are reflected in all aspects. From growing a combined 50 acres of Vinifera on Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes, with their iconic winery on Keuka Lake and branch locations on Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes. John and Jo have been lifelong advocates of the Finger Lakes region, its grape growers, and wine producers from its beginning and continuing for the future. 
Winery Award
Sponsored by Alex Arrigo, Farm Family Insurance Company
This award recognizes major contributions in advancing the image and reputation of the New York wine industry. The recipient of this year's Winery Award is Bedell Cellars. Bedell Cellars is a pioneering, family-owned winery on the North Fork of Long Island Wine Country. Bedell is setting the bar for wineries in the Long Island region. Their well thought out approach and their all-woman cellar and vineyard crew has kicked the doors open in an industry steeped in tradition. Their wines are exemplary, and their production practices are environmentally responsible. They do a terrific job of promoting quality wine in the Long Island region.
The Restaurant of the Year Award
This award recognizes excellence in promoting New York wines in a fine dining experience. The Restaurant of the Year Award is being presented to The Tailor and the Cook. This little restaurant in Utica is not only talking the talk but walking the walk. The are truly a Farm to Table restaurant. Not only are all their ingredients from local New York farms, but so is all of their wines, beers, and spirits. Very few restaurants in New York are willing to make the commitment to 100% local but they have gone all the way. 
Retailer of the Year Award
This award recognizes wine stores which do an exceptional job in educating consumers about the quality and variety of New York wines. The Retailer of the Year Award is presented to Mark O’Callaghan, of Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse. Mark is deserving of this award because of his commitment to consumer education on New York wines, his collaboration with wineries and distilleries to promote awareness of New York products, and his overall support of the craft beverage industry in the state.  Mark carries hundreds of New York State wines in his store, the largest SKUs outside of the Finger Lakes, and also hosts an annual tasting and educational event where he features 100+ New York wines, with more than 30 wineries and distilleries in attendance. This event draws many consumers and 25% of the proceeds go to charity. 
The Research Award
This award recognizes major contributions in the area of grape growing, processing, and wine research, and may be presented to scientists, industry members or others. This year's recipient of the Research Award is Cornell AgriTech. Cornell AgriTech is a leader in science-based, solutions-oriented food and agricultural research. Its many grape discoveries help to make great wine. It has a bright future and continues to share its discoveries to help local businesses succeed.
Ron Reals Distributor Award
This award is named after the person for whom the award was first created, based on his passion for and commitment to the New York wine industry. The award recognizes achievement in distributing and promoting New York wines. The recipient of this year's Distributor Award is Mike Lofgren of Empire Merchants North. Mike is a true industry leader. His customers trust him and his suppliers know that he will work hard to promote their products. Mike is especially interested (and successful) in promoting New York wines on wine lists, an area that has been a particular challenge. He thinks beyond his book and does what it takes to give his customers the best experience possible.
Consumer Award
This award recognizes "enthusiastic" support of the New York wines industry and for exemplifying the use of wine as part of a happy, healthy lifestyle. The recipient of this year's Consumer Award is Don Cazentre of Don is an educated consumer of New York wines. Through his work at, he invites his readers to vote for their favorite winery, and he promotes those findings. He stays up to date on what is happening at the wineries, and reports on events, new wines, and new wineries. He is genuinely curious and passionate about the wine industry and also helps promote the region.
Sustainability Award
This new award recognizes an organization/business that has demonstrated noteworthy sustainable practices and commitment to conserve natural resources, protect our environment, and contribute to the overall success of the New York State economy. The recipient of this year's Sustainability Award is Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing. LISW, established in 2012, remains the only third-party certification for sustainable wine production on the East Coast. The program has grown to now include over 20 vineyards and wineries and over 1000 acres of land under sustainable certification. The organization is made up of like-minded growers and has helped reduce vineyard chemical inputs and improved wine quality region-wide. LISW has also been very active in expanding its outreach with regards to marketing and education, helping consumers as well as wine industry professionals understand the concept of sustainable wine growing. LISW continues to raise awareness for and reinforce those committed to sustainable wine production and is presently the most important organization for wine producers on Long Island.
Again, we would like to thank all of our award winners for their tireless advocacy and support of the New York wine and grape community. You have our tremendous gratitude for all you do every day to raise the awareness of the world class products being made right here in New York. Thanks also goes to our sponsors this year, for their recognition and support of the important work being done by our community. 
Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation