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The Press Deck - 7/17/2019 | Field Notes ~FLXcursion International Riesling Expo

Field Notes ~

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Once in a rare while the stars align, everything comes together, and great people doing great things get the attention they deserve. That’s what seems to be happening for New York in terms of worldwide recognition, critical acclaim, and becoming the next darling of the wine world… Or perhaps becoming the darling once again. 

FLXcursion Grand TastingInternational eyes fall on New York and the Finger Lakes specifically this coming weekend as the first ever FLXcursion International Riesling Expo commences on July 21st. Created as a “global celebration of Riesling, its companion wines, and its terroir,” world-renowned Riesling producers from all over the globe are making their way to Geneva, NY… and New York wine will feature prominently, of course.

Working with the FLXcursion event organizers to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the conference was an easy decision. Our primary marketing initiatives at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, NY Drinks NY and the Export Program, will be sponsoring groups of trade and media visitors to New York City and the Finger Lakes during this time. From the USA, Canada, China, and the United Kingdom we’ll be welcoming 25 wine writers, Master Sommeliers, importers, and on-trade buyers to experience New York wine. Our distinguished international guest list will include Josh Corea, owner of Archive Wine Bar in Toronto, Steve Sousa, Beverage Director at Momofuku Toronto, Felix Zhang,  Head Sommelier, Hakkasan, Hakkasan, as a Michelin-starred restaurant that is part of an international chain, perennially shows up in any ranking of Chinese restaurants with the best wine lists; and Alexandre Freguin, Head Sommelier at Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms in London.

Commencing in New York City tomorrow at Red Hook Winery the Foundation will be featuring our Long Island and Hudson Valley Export participants at a dinner and walk-around tasting. In the Finger Lakes, our guests will take advantage of all that FLXcursion will offer, as well as a special tasting event at Fox Run on July 22nd

Regarding NY Drinks NY, one relatively new aspect of the program has been inviting a few select trade participants from outside the New York City Metro area. This addition to the program has been introduced largely based on feedback from many of our member wineries, and we concur with the importance that is growing our state’s quality wine reputation outside of the immediate New York City and state areas. 

On this tour, we’ll be joined by three trade attendees from Chicago, Houston, and Orlando. From Chicago, we’ll welcome Barbara Hermann. Barbara is the Wine Director for Binny’s Beverage Depot, which includes nearly 40 stores throughout Illinois, with seven of them in Chicago. Barbara oversees wine buying for all the Chicago Locations, so needless to say we’re thrilled to have Barbara visiting the region from the extremely important market that is Chicago. From Houston, we’ll welcome Rachel Van Til, a sommelier at Papas Brothers Steak House who was also recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine as one of 2016’s top sommeliers of the year, for her then work at the Detroit area restaurant, Mabel Grey. Rachel is from Michigan and is well familiar with cool climate, freshwater lake viticulture, and she remains an influencer in the increasingly important wine destination state that is Texas. And finally, we’ll welcome Sam Bortugno, who is the Wine Director for the Four Seasons in Orlando: the highest grossing Four Seasons in the world. Sam purchases for seven locations throughout the hotel and assures us that wine drinkers at the resort are ready and stoked to be drinking New York wines in the ultra hot climate that is central Florida.

Winemakers, academics, and journalists from all over the world coming together to celebrate the incredible versatility that is the Riesling grape; sommeliers, writers and wine buyers from four different states uniting to dive deep into the Finger Lakes diversity... what an opportunity we have before us. Everyone can take part in the impressive, not to be missed, Grand Tasting event being held this Sunday (and if you are a Foundation Consumer Member you can get tickets at a discount).

This may sound like hyperbole, but there is simply no denying that there is a unique energy in the air that we’ve not felt before collectively at the Foundation. We can see it and feel it throughout the region. Congratulations and our deepest gratitude to all involved for their hard work and volunteer efforts. 

We’ll see you out there for a glass of New York wine!


The New York Wine & Grape Foundation Staff