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The Press Deck - 6/12/2019 | Field Notes ~A Complete Guide to the Finger Lakes Wine Country~Climate Change is Reshaping Wine as We Know It~Wineries Struggle with ADA Website Compliance in Wake of NY Lawsuits~A Duo From an Up-and-Coming Hudson Valley Producer

Field Notes ~

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My vision for the New York grape and wine industry has been sharpened and reignited with fresh inspiration. 
Last week, I attended the first ever U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit in Sonoma where I gained a deeper understanding of sustainability. I believe that sustainability is the most important cause that can unify and define our industry. The New York wine and grape community can be the example of how agriculture is part of the solution for protecting our future.
I now understand sustainability as a consciousness centered around our impact on the world and how we contribute to its regeneration. Sustainability is not just a catch word for minimizing impact on the natural environment; it also encompasses social equity, economic development, and how we value our employees and communities. Impact, in my definition of sustainability, represents an affirmation of our power for positive influence and contribution. Orientating our business ethos around sustainability presents an exciting opportunity for us to serve as a model for other industries.
Our commitment to sustainability will highlight agriculture’s role in strengthening the resiliency of our landscape. One of the conference panelists proclaimed that, “We have yet to make our best bottle of wine.” I agree because I believe that this commitment will elevate the quality of our products and bring our unique New York style into focus. Through the lens of sustainability, we will have richer conversations about New York terroirs and our soils will more fully exert their character in our grapes and in our glasses.
This focus will be important economically for our industry as consumer preferences are increasingly pivoting towards sustainable wines. I recently learned from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario that they plan to shift their wine sourcing and marketing messaging to spotlight their commitment to sustainability. They know from their consumer surveys that Millennials and Gen Z purchasing decisions will be based on their social consciousness and desire to know where their wines come from.
Sam Filler, Rich Olsen-Harbich, and Whitney Beaman
at MacMurray Ranch.
Rich Olsen-Harbich and Whitney Beaman from Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) joined me at the conference and they also served as conference panelists. Our participation was made possible from a USDA Specialty Crop grant received by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Association (CSWA). The grant also provides funding to NYWGF and LISW to create programming over the next three years. We are excited to announce that New York will likely be the host for the 2020 U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit.
The Foundation is eager to support the evolution of this conversation, and to help define the message of "sustainability" that makes the most sense for growers and wineries here in New York State. We will be holding regional meetings to help educate our community, focus the message of sustainability, and meet the needs of our members. We hope you agree that it is imperative for the New York grape industry to bring sustainability to the forefront. We look forward to hearing your feedback.
Stay tuned for updates, and we welcome your comments on how to best engage the New York industry to advance a sustainability mission.
Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation