The recession that has forced several New York-only wine stores to close, put a crimp in expansion plans by some wineries because of the lack of investment capital, and Gov. David Patterson's threatened cutbacks on state assistance have combined to put the nation's third-largest wine industry in jeopardy.
New York trails only California and Oregon in total wine production. However, many of the several hundred wineries are small operations and need assistance in getting to market and getting the word out to consumers.
Patterson's proposed 2009-2010 state austerity budget calls for the elimination of funding for the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the statewide trade association headquartered in Canandaigua. Its current budget is $3.8 million, but only $1 million of that comes from industry sources. The rest comes from the state.
NYSW&GF President Jim Trezise. above, ("NY's Trezise a man of integrity"), an indefatigable spokesman and activist on behlf of the state's wine industry, says, “If the governor’s proposal is adopted, the foundation’s programs and operations will cease in March, if not before.”
That would be a phenomenal blow to the industry. The NYSW&GF lobbies on behalf of the industry in Albany and Washington, DC, runs the prestigious annual New York Wine & Food Classic competition for wines produced in the state, provides advice and counseling for all areas of the industry, and prosyletizes for state wine producers worldwide.
[Go here for New York Times wine writer Howard G. Goldberg's summary of the situation.
[And, go here for the Seneca Lake Winery Association president's take on it.]
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