September 21, 2010

Contact: Kevin Iungerman, Cornell Cooperative Extension Northeast NY Commercial Fruit Program, 518-885-8995

• Media interested in harvesting time interviews on-site and/or interested in participating in the NNY wines taste test evaluation may contact NNYADP Publicist Kara Lynn Dunn for more details: 315-465-7578, karalynn@gisco.net
• Learn more about the competitive evaluation of wine made from the 2009 Willsboro Wine Grape Trial in the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Press Room at www.nnyagdev.org

Willsboro Wine Grape Trial Harvest & Wine Making Set to Begin
-- Local Winemakers Invited to Process the Fruits of NNY Vines

Willsboro, NY – One hundred percent (100%) of the 25 varieties of grapes harvested at the Willsboro Wine Grape Trial at the Cornell University E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, will be processed locally this year and soon.

“The start of the harvest is guided by the quality of the berries (grapes). Undoubtedly, our early seasonal start and abundant very warm summer weather (especially in July) have brought us to an early harvest that is likely to be completed before October this year,” says Kevin Iungerman with the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Northeast NY Commercial Fruit Program.

The Willsboro Wine Grape Trial has 12 red and 13 white varieties of grapes.

Iungerman has invited regional grape grower/wine makers to participate in the harvest and to take grapes home for processing as commercial wine.

“In 2008, all of the Fruit Program’s wines were made by the Cornell Wine Lab in Geneva, New York, using a uniform manner producing very dry ‘skeletal’ type wines meant to highlight comparative grape characteristics rather than finished commercial products,” Iungerman says.

A shift toward the commercial production of North Country-grown wine came in 2009 with one set of wines made by the Cornell Wine Lab and one made by Willsboro Wine Grape Trial technician Richard Lamoy, who also owns Hid-In-Pines vineyard in Morrisonville, NY, with a soon-to-be-open newly-licensed winery.

“Now in 2010, we are looking to have all of the wines made locally with commercial product in mind,” Iungerman says. “We are looking to build familiarity with these Northern New York-friendly grapes by engaging local cooperators in a broader wine-making trial.”

Participating winemakers will submit their Willsboro trial wine products for a blind taste test in 2011 with other participants, regional grape growing peers and Cornell staff.

“Our blind review is a tasting and critical review with commentary and a discussion of how processes influenced good results and how alternative procedures might have added greater benefit,” Iungerman says.

Participants growing varieties similar to the cold-hardy grapes planted in the Willsboro trial may submit wines made with those 100-percent locally-grown grapes for evaluation.

“Although we are not using copious amounts of grapes, this evaluation of production, processing and product should nevertheless be enough to generate a fair idea of the various Northern New York-grown grapes and their wine potential,” Iungerman says.

For more information on the Willsboro Wine Grape Trial Project, contact Iungerman at kai3@cornell.edu, 518-885-8995.

For more information on the production of fruits in Northern New York, visit the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. The farmer-driven research and outreach program has funded regional cold-hardy grape trials.

The Northeastern NY Commercial Fruit Program coordinates commercial tree fruit and grape research, education and programming with the support of growers, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, and Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in Albany, Clinton, Essex, Saratoga and Washington counties. #