New York Wine & GrapeNews



New York Wine & Grape Foundation Annual Report

Valerie Ross

Category: Industry

A Letter From Sam Filler, Executive Director
Click here for our full 2018-2019 Annual Report

The implementation of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s new strategic plan during the past fiscal year activated renewed energy and organizational growth. The strategic plan focused the organization’s priorities and direction on elevating the image of New York Wines globally. This was accomplished by hiring a NY Wines Brand Ambassador, investing in consumer tourism research, and securing additional federal funding to expand winery access to the Canadian market. All this organizational momentum improved the Foundation’s industry engagement and increased the number of dues paying members by almost 30%.

The Foundation recognized that improving market access in New York City required a dedicated staff member to cultivate trade relationships. The NY Wines Brand Ambassador position was created to support the New York Drinks New York campaign and to facilitate year-round market engagement with influential New York City trade. Paul Brady, a certified sommelier, was hired in July 2017, and he brings a decade of experience selling New York wine in New York City’s most notable restaurants and retail shops like Gramercy Tavern, Terroir Wine Bar, and Vinyl Wine Shop. Paul’s existing market relationships allowed him to immediately elevate the quality of our engagement with important wine buyers through familiarization tours and in-market tastings. The focus of his efforts culminated in March with the Foundation’s annual Grand Tasting in New York City, which featured the top 45 New York Wineries and attracted over 300 buyers from New York City.

Wine Trails across the State receive funding annually from the Foundation to support their marketing efforts to drive wine tourism. New York is the leading US wine region for wine tourism; however, several wine trails have observed declining wine trail membership by wineries and falling tourist visitation. In response, the Foundation secured a Market NY grant to research “best-in-class” examples of wine tourism, execute consumer research to develop wine tourism visitor profiles, and develop a toolkit of marketing strategies. The wine tourism toolkit launched in March 2019, and it provides wine trails and wineries practical marketing advice on how to increase visitation to tasting rooms and elevate the visitor’s experience. It is important for New York to remain in the vanguard, so the toolkit’s refreshed approach to marketing practices will ensure New York’s continued growth and competitiveness.

While wine tourism provides most wineries with a reliable source of revenue, the development of international markets represents an opportunity for wineries to diversify their business model. New York borders the influential Canada wine market, which is home to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the world’s largest wine buyer, and its wine sales totaled $1.6 billion in 2018. The Foundation secured a $371,000 Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to partner with the LCBO over the next three years to expand their offerings of USA Wines, in particular New York Wines. The Foundation anticipates that this partnership will serve as a model for opening other Canadian provincial wine markets.

The continued budget support from New York State serves as the primary driver for the industry’s exciting growth. The State’s commitment to the grape and wine industry facilitates the ability of the Foundation to offer impactful programs. A vibrant grape and wine industry contributes to a strong New York State economy, and the Foundation intends to maximize the State support to further encourage our industry’s development and economic impact.

Sam Filler

Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation
Click here for our full 2018-2019 Annual Report