Thirty years ago this month, the Farm Winery Act was signed into law, loosening restrictions on New York’s winemakers to enable them to sell their wines directly to the public. At the time, New York had fewer than 20 commercial wineries.
Today, there are over 200 wineries – and that number continues to grow. New York State has done much to encourage development of the wine industry, allowing it to become the fastest-growing, tourism-related industry in the state, generating over $3 billion a year.
Our community is experiencing an exciting time of growth in economic and cultural senses, thanks in part to those state reforms. The Finger Lakes region is becoming a nationally recognized destination for wine and tourism.
This month’s opening of the New York State Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua is a physical manifestation of the wine industry’s growing success. The facility serves as a gateway to New York’s budding wine industry as well as the doorway to the Finger Lakes region. The center is impressive in size as well as function, with nearly 20,000 square feet of space dedicated to education about and advancement of wine and culinary arts. It features classroom space for individuals looking to become world-class chefs or simply honing their skills. The center also features a tasting room and information stations for learning about our state’s thriving wine and culinary industries.
As a gathering place of ideas and experimentation, I am confident the New York State Wine & Culinary Center will help advance our growing wine industry, especially here in our community.
The rate of growth is encouraging considering most New York wineries are less than 20 years old. Today, wine trails can be found along the Niagara River, throughout Long Island and here in the Finger Lakes region. As home to the New York State Wine & Culinary Center, our community stands to become the capital of New York wine country, providing a cultural and economic center in the young, but strong wine business.