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The Press Deck - 10/30/2019 | Field Notes: Cornell AgriTech Advisory Council Annual Meeting

Field Notes...

From Sam Filler, Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Last Thursday, the Advisory Council for Cornell AgriTech convened in Geneva for its annual meeting. The 25-member council includes a diverse group of stakeholders representing New York’s agriculture industry. I joined the council last fall along with fellow wine industry leaders: Nova Cadamatre. (Trestle 31)Sarah Eighmey (Anthony Road Wine Company), and Suzanne Hunt (Hunt Country Vineyards). The Advisory Council provides feedback on Cornell AgriTech’s strategic plan, advises on how greater collaboration can be fostered within Cornell’s resources dedicated to advancing agriculture, and how to strengthen the bonds between Cornell AgriTech and New York’s agriculture industry.  I feel privileged to participate on the Advisory Council because Cornell AgriTech is an asset that distinguishes New York from other states. 

Cornell AgriTech’s success starts with its leadership. Jan Nyrop, Director (also NYWGF Board Member), and Larry Smart, Associate Director, capably drive Cornell AgriTech forward, and they expertly facilitated an effective Advisory Council meeting by blending a mix of presentations and breakout discussion groups.  Denis Willet, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, presented on his research related to using data and technology to create chemical signals to modify the behaviors of nematodes. I never had met anyone as excited about the fact that nematodes have personalities, which can be understood and measured through chemical stimuli.  Denis’ enthusiasm for his research demonstrates why Cornell AgriTech is leading the future of agricultural innovation. 

Seven months ago Cornell AgriTech welcomed Former State Senator Cathy Young as the new Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture. She leads an exciting new initiative funded with support from the State of New York to ensure our State’s leading role in the development of the next food and beverage products.  I expect that the grape and wine industry will benefit from this initiative because Senator Young formerly represented the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt and she has long been a core advocate for our industry. In terms of food innovation, she presented on a company being incubated at the Tech Farm that makes hamburgers from mushrooms and received top accolades at the Fancy Food Show. The Center of Excellence is also playing a leading role in organizing the Grow-NY food and agriculture competition that is being held in Rochester, November 12-13. 

I admit that my enthusiasm for Cornell AgriTech may be excessive for someone who is not even an alumnus of Cornell University and not trained as a scientist.  However, I get excited because of my background as an urban planner with an eye towards economic development and public policy.  Cornell AgriTech drives innovation and business development in the agriculture industry, and it is a tremendous asset for the State’s economic growth. The USDA ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit is co-located on the Cornell AgriTech campus, and it houses a repository of 1500 different grape varieties. And, their footprint will be expanding with the announcement of $68.9 million federal funding to build a new lab. 

I encourage Press Deck readers to plan a visit to tour the campus as it will fill you with a sense of pride in what we are accomplishing in New York State!

Sam Filler, Executive Director

New York Wine & Grape Foundation

Industry News...

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation Announces New York Wines at The Museum of Modern Art, Terrace Café

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) announced that six wines made in New York State are now available by the glass at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at The Carroll and Milton Petrie Terrace Café, a Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) restaurant. The NYWGF was directly involved in facilitating this first listing of New York-grown wines with the prestigious New York institution. Read more.

Will Climate Change Impact Winemaking on Long Island?

wine bottles Alice Wise is not in the tenuous business of wine, though, even if grapevines have steered her entire working life. For the past 33 years, ever since graduating from Cornell with a M.S. in viticulture, she’s played a crucial but more behind-the-scenes role on the North Fork. As a researcher, she investigate the perils that grapevines and their fruit face from viruses, fungi and insects, as well as screens new varieties. That work takes place here, in a 1.5-acre research vineyard. Read more.

Veraison to Harvest Update #8

Harvest is far from over (at least in the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie regions) – but this is our last round of fruit sampling (week 8). Out of our initial 84 blocks, only 19 remain – 6 Cabernet Franc, 5 Riesling, 2 Traminette, and one each of Vidal blanc, Catawba, and the three Minnesota cultivars, Marquette, Frontenac gris, and La Crescent. I suspect that most of these will have been harvested by next week. Read more.

Member Corner...

Join us for the 2019 EnoCert 202

Monday, November 11, 2019 How are tasting room sales different than bottle shop sales? And how can tasting room staff connect with guests to create the most enjoyable and educational experience? Understanding guests’ interests, motivations, and needs is essential to increasing sales and creating customer loyalty. In EnoCert 202, New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s Education & Member Services Manager, Julie Purpura Hosbach, teams up with the Cornell Enology Extension Lab to teach tasting room personnel how to engage guests in a fun and profitable tasting room experience.  Through lectures and collaborative exercises, Julie will show how accepted wine jargon can both help and hurt wine sales, the sometimes surprising factors that influence number of bottles bought, and how to engage guests to create a fun and profitable tasting room experience. Lessons will draw on classic consumer psychology and research specific to New York and regional tasting rooms. EnoCert 202 will be taught on Monday, 11 November in the newly renovated Pilot Plant wing of the Food Research Laboratory at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY, and can be counted as credit for the Cornell Tasting Room Educator certificate. We look forward to seeing you there!  Register here.

Year-End Business Check Up for Wineries and Vineyards

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT Join us with out Business Associate Member Mengler, Metzger, & Barr, led by Tony Sandonato. This course will provide guidance on year-end strategies that winery and vineyard owners should focus on in terms of tax planning opportunities and preparation for a smooth tax filing season, best practices for maintain accurate financial records, and ways to maximize a strong financial position heading into the slower winter months. Register here.

2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

January 7-10, 2020 Entries for The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition are now open for 2020. The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the definitive competition for American wines. To win a medal here — to stand out in a crowd of 7,000-plus submissions — is an enormous accomplishment for a winery, and can play a crucial role in establishing its reputation. Wineries can now register here. Entry deadline is November 15. More information on the competition can be found here.

Save the Date: U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit East

May 5-6, 2020 North Fork of Long Island, NY
Who:  A gathering of regional winery and vineyard associations, engaged grower and vintner leaders, and others committed to the sustainability of their local vineyards, wineries and regions.
What:  Learn some of the driving forces behind the increasing interest in sustainable winegrowing. Be inspired with new ideas on how to bring sustainability education and outreach to your region’s vineyards and wineries. 
Why:  Together we can enhance the sustainability of all U.S. vineyards and wineries and credibly communicate the nationwide commitment to a global audience.
Visit   for more details or contact  with questions.

New York Wine Classic Pairing Dinners

Don't miss our New York Wine Classic "Best of Class" Winners paired with a delicious five course dinner at Orto on Long Island, NY on January 8, 2020 at 6:00 pm.

Join us for an expertly crafted five course meal paired with wine, including the best white wine, a 2017 Dry Riesling, Estate Grown from our esteemed “Winery of the Year” Wagner Vineyards of the Finger Lakes region will be poured and paired for you to enjoy along with other Best of Category winners from Long Island.

Cost: $100 per person. Members Save $15.00 per ticket. Email Julie Hosbach, Education & Member Services Manager, for the coupon code to enter when you order tickets online.

Buy Your Ticket Online!