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Wineries join forces for Riesling launch

    FINGER LAKES—Thirty wineries, teaming up with Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and Finger Lakes Wine Country, are promoting the latest Riesling vintage with a multi-event 2010 Riesling Launch that takes place locally and in other corners of the state.
    Scott Osborn, owner of Fox Run Vineyards, said the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance has been promoting the area for about 10 years. While that time has included promoting Riesling, this is the first year the participating wineries are rolling out a vintage all at the same time. Events have been organized through August and September, but most of the main launch is this week.
   “The whole idea is to raise awareness about the Finger Lakes,” he said.
    Osborn explained restaurants and liquor stores in the state have agreed to feature and promote the 2010 Riesling vintages. While many of the participants are local, the launch and Finger Lakes Riesling is being featured at the 16th annual Harvest in the Square, held in New York City; the wine will be served exclusively during the VIP hour. The event is held yearly featuring chefs of the Union Square District. There will even be a tasting in a New Jersey retail shop.
    Osborn explained doing the Harvest in the Square event is important because “entrance into New York City is tough. Every winery in the world wants play in New York City.” He said upstate wineries want to get city wine enthusiasts into thinking about the Finger Lakes as a local, regional area.
    Amy Hoffman, owner of Rooster Hill Vineyards and vice-chair of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, said there will also be a Riesling Hour on Thursday, which will actually be multiple two to three hour events. She explained in addition to the venues at retail shops from Rochester to Ithaca and Buffalo, people are encouraged to hold gatherings at home with friends over a bottle of Riesling. The event is being promoted online via the wine alliance website and Facebook as a virtual tasting.
    “It’s a very social media based campaign,” explained Hoffman.
    Osborn said promoting Riesling is good because it’s a variety that most Finger Lakes wineries produce. He added it has different styles so can appeal to a broader base of consumers.
    “Every region seems to settle on a variety,” said Osborn. He pointed out Napa Valley is known for Cabernet Sauvignon and the Burgundy region of France for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
    Hoffman explained Riesling is a cool climate grape and that the Finger Lakes does a good job with aromatic white wines. She said the Riesling grape loves this area’s soil with shale and lime stone.
    More about the Riesling Launch and events can be found at The alliance is already planning for next year. Osborn said they have already started planning for next year. Hoffman added it will continue to grow in 2012.
    “We’ve got to continue to market our region,” said Hoffman.




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