Maynards Wine Blog

Outside of New York City

When you say New York most people think of New York City. However, there is a New York State that is full of lakes, farmlands, rivers and mountains. Dutch colonists attempted to grow grapes on Manhattan Island as early as 1647. However, viticulture did not really begin to flourish until the nineteenth century. By the 1870s, the Finger Lakes had become the heart of the New York wine industry. Prohibition caused growers to switch from wine grapes to juice and table grapes. From the end of prohibition, until the mid-1970s, the industry was controlled by a few big companies specializing in native American grapes, crosses, and hybrids. Mostly low quality sweet wines were made until 1976 when the Farm Winery Act allowed small wineries to be able to afford the fees involved in operating in the state.

The Hudson River Valley has the oldest vineyards in the state. With easy access down the river to New York City, it produces mostly vinifera varieties (old world) with some hybrids.

The Finger Lakes region has over sixty wineries spanning an area of beautiful long lakes. Many varieties of grapes are produced here, including vinifera and new world grapes like Concord.

Lake Erie region is a vast area of more than 20,000 acres spanning three states. Most of the Concord grapes grown here will become grape juice, but there are a few wineries here as well.

Long Island – yes that Long Island, with the rows of mansions in the Hamptons – used to be an area of mostly potato farms. The wine boom began in the late 1970s, and by the 1990s there were twenty four wineries. Bordeaux varietals seem to flourish here in the Atlantic maritime climate. Some surprisingly good wines are being produced here, like the Palmer Vineyards white blend.

I hope you get the opportunity to sample some of these wines from New York State.

This months’ wine quote;

“A meal without wine is called breakfast.” – Unknown

This month’s White Wine of the Month comes from Loire Valley of France. The 2013 Domaine de la Fruitiere is an unusual Chardonnay, featuring crisp acidity, great minerality, and almost no oak flavor. In short, it’s my kind of white wine.

Our Red Wine of the Month is the 2011, Domaine Faury Syrah, from the Rhone Valley. This wine is sourced mostly from Saint Joseph and has the dark fruit, smoky, and peppery flavors this area is famous for.

Wine club members come in early to pick up your bottles, before they’re gone.


Steve Berger

Sommelier, Maynards Market and Kitchen