Earlier this month, I joined Gov. George Pataki and local dignitaries to break ground for construction of the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua. The governor, a staunch supporter of Central New York and the beautiful Finger Lakes region, is promoting this venture and has been a strong advocate on our behalf.
The 15,000-square-foot attraction will feature a changing selection of quality New York wines, a wine and tapas bar, wine and food pairings, a theater-style demonstration kitchen, a training kitchen for hands-on cooking classes, industrial kitchens for credited culinary classes and corporate training facilities.
Agriculture is New York’s No. 1 industry, and we are the second-largest producer of apples and third-largest producer of dairy products in the nation. New York’s wine industry has experienced explosive growth over the last 20 years, and the wine and culinary center will be a showcase for all of the wonderful products of our great state. Earlier this year, a New York state wine won top honors at an international competition.
The state Legislature in July passed, and the governor signed into law, a measure allowing for the direct shipment of wine throughout New York and the country. This legislation pushes New York wineries and grape growers even further into the national spotlight, allowing them to expand their clientele while increasing business and creating jobs. The Wine and Culinary Center will provide yet another boost for our state’s wineries and agriculture industry.
The center will also serve as a catalyst for increased tourism. Central New York and the Finger Lakes region offer a diverse variety of tourist attractions Ė from our beautiful landscapes to our historic waterways, from the wine trails to our attractive, small towns. The center will be a magnet, drawing even more visitors and helping them discover the wonders of our region.
Over the past three years, in particular working on this project, I have gained a renewed appreciation for our blessings in the Finger Lakes and Central New York. Our vineyards, grape growers, and farmers are second to none. Working with groups like Constellation Brands, Wegman’s Food Markets, and R.I.T. on this public and private collaboration truly shows the opportunities that we can achieve when we put our minds to it.
I applaud the governor and everyone involved in this project for their forethought and guidance, and I eagerly anticipate the center’s completion by next summer.