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Wineries report some summer increases

TRI-COUNTY AREA—Despite the rain and the economy, some wineries in the area report a summer with an increase in business.
Lisa Hallgren, co-owner of Ravines Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, said sales this summer were up 10 percent compared to last summer.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” she said, adding the traffic varied each day. However, Hallgren said that as a smaller winery they do not get hordes of people and are used to steady traffic.
Hallgren said the winery only makes dry wines, so it attracts people who like that kind.
Bruce Kendall, with Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars, said business is up this summer 12 percent. He added that traffic is up a little as well. Kendall explained that the year started flat with an overall slow start. He attributed their increase to the recognition Hickory Hollow has gotten with awards and repeat business.
Business at Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport has not seen the increase like some other wineries. Sean King, sales and marketing representative, said this summer’s business is down by two percent. He said that while July was up, August was down. However, he added that when people do buy, they buy more. King said where people used to buy a bottle or two, now usually buy a case.
“People don’t come for just wine, but the environment,” said King.
Kurtis Vondracek, co-owner of Cascata Winery in Watkins Glen, said that while sales in August were down a little, summer sales were up 10 to 15 percent over last summer. He attributes this to the fact Cascata is a smaller winery. Vondracek said the state of the economy did not affect them like it did bigger wineries.
“The year started out slow with a decrease in sales through May,” said Ted Markson of Atwater Estate Vineyards in Hector. Since June though, he said sales are up 14 percent over last summer. Markson added that the winery has seen about 40 more people a day over last summer.
“It more than turned around,” he said.
His explanation for the better summer is the more money being spent on advertising. Markson said the winery thought business would be down this summer so it spent more money on promotions. He added awards and publicity has also helped keep business up.
Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen has also seen the same sort of increase. Liz Stamp said during the summer sales have been up 15 percent. She said traffic has been up even more in June and July, 25 to 30 percent. However, she said August was flat compared to last summer.
“We’re definitely seeing people be price conscientious,” said Stamp.
She attributed the increase for Lakewood to the whole tourism community. Stamp said wineries recommend other wineries to go to. She added the improvements to places like Watkins Glen due to Main Street improvements are also key.

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