Eat Drink Local Profile #25: Empire State Wineries (Coming to a Farmers Market Near You)

That's some Long Island rose, which went down very easy.

The Beverage Providers:

New York wineries.

Who They Are:

So far in our Eat Drink Local week profiles you’ve read mostly about our restaurant partners — but just as every good meal demands something for washing it down, we are also proud to announce our  winery partners, who hail from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, and whose bottles are being poured at partner restaurants and at Greenmarket winestands throughout the city during the week, which begins Sunday. Those wineries — the full list is below–include a North Fork winery with serious modern art hanging in its tasting room, another that grew out of the oldest sacramental wine operations in the country, and the winery that was the lone grape fermenter selling at the Union Square Greenmarket for nearly two decades.

Why We Love Them:

Obviously we’re boosters of local vino. And that’s even before you consider the nuanced white blends coming out of  ocean-tempered Long Island, the range of righteous Finger Lakes riesling, and the inventive, let’s-see-what-our-soils-and-microclimates-do-best winemaking that’s happening in cellars from Lake Placid to the Niagara Escarpment. (And if there’s any particular day to do your state-centric sipping, don’t forget that Oct. 1 is rose and riesling day.)

The 250 wineries and 1,400 vineyards across New York State raise over 40,000 tons of grapes each year, on 37,000 grape-bearing acres, yielding about 29 million bottles of wine. Wine is among the fastest growing agricultural products made in the state, and the industry employs 39,000 people and generates $3.75 billion in revenue for the economy, when you consider the business that wine country visitors bring to nearby restaurants, hotels and Main Streets. In parts of the state where agricultural land is getting paved over, grapevines are just the sort of added-value crop that can save the farm. (Exhibit A of such benefits include all the wine country tourism opps that abound within a day’s trip of Manhattan.) All of which adds to the aesthetic experience of New Yorkers drinking New York wine.

Where to Find Them:

It hasn’t always been easy to find New York wine in New York. It is a relatively young industry in the state, although Long Island is now home to some of the oldest red wine vines in the country, and Brotherhood Winery stakes a claim on being the nation’s oldest. As Amy Zavatto notes in her locavore pour piece, “Gotham ranks among the leading wine consumption markets on earth and the world’s wine regions spend many millions promoting themselves here.”

But now, in addition to the shelves of your local wineshop and the lists of better restaurants from Manhattan to Montauk and beyond, you can find New York winemakers selling their juice, next to bakers and beekeepers at your local farmers market. Originally encouraged by the very forward-thinking state agency, New York Ag and Markets, wineries pour sips at farmers markets from Rochester to Westhampton. Most recently, New York state wine broke onto the Big Apple scene at Greenmarkets in Manhattan and Brooklyn (and soon Queens!), propelled by a collaboration between GrowNYC and the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the promotional body of the state’s wine industry. As Amy Zavatto writes, “the program gives shoppers the ultimate farm-to-table wine-and-food pairing while at-stand tastings convert shoppers one at a time.”

And if you don’t catch them at Greenmarkets during Eat Drink Local, visit their tasting rooms , order from their websites and look for them on your favorite wine list. (You’ll score mad points in the Challenge.) Palo Santo in Park Slope, for instance, pours a rotating selection of New York wines alongside his South American stand-bys. Wolffer, Millbrook and Heron Hill are on the list for Eat Drink Local, including Millbrook’s reserve Tocai, which is only available at the winery. Palo Santo’s chef Jacques Gautier picked it up when he visited. Ditto for some of the dozen different Wolffer wines that Palo Santo offers, including rare bottles like the Claletto, an Amarone style Cabernet from 2005.

And you can also find New York wine at all our choice EDL events, including the Art of Farming auction and dinner at Sotheby’s this Thursday, the Edible Institute on Sept. 27,  the Festival of the 11 Ingredients at Chelsea Market, and finally, Taste of Greenmarket on Oct. 6.

And now, onto the list!

(We encourage you to learn more about these Eat Drink Local winery partners.)

Brian Halweil

Brian is the editor at large of Edible East End, Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and oysters. He is also obsessed with ducks, donuts and dumplings.

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