By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY In a bid to expand the sale of New York wines in New York City and other metropolitan areas, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and restaurateurs will tour three Finger Lakes wineries Tuesday.
Wineries from the Hudson Valley will also be on the tour to gain exposure for their products. New York has more than 450 wineries and breweries.
"New York's vibrant beer, wine, cider and spirits industry supports thousands of jobs across the state and is a major driver of tourism in many communities," Cuomo said in a statement after a "Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit" last fall.
Cuomo will participate in a motor coach tour Tuesday afternoon of three Finger Lakes wineries as part of the "Governor's Cup Wine Tour." The Governor's Cup is awarded annually to the top wine at the New York Wine & Food Classic, a statewide competition that began Monday with nearly 900 entries.
Finger Lakes wineries said the event will hopefully boost distribution and sales in New York City, the largest and perhaps most untapped market for upstate wines. Cuomo last year loosened regulations on wineries and put together a $5 million marketing fund.
Finger Lakes wines have garnered national recognition, but still need to make inroads in their home state, wineries said.
"There's still progress to be make," said Scott Osborne, owner of Fox Run Vineyards in Penn Yan, Yates County. "Restaurants are still reluctant to carry Finger Lakes wines. This, hopefully with the governor coming, will bring more recognition so that the restaurateurs and retailers are going to get a better look at what is going on here."
Tom Macinski, owner of Standing Stone Winery on Seneca Lake, said he will be part of the tour to promote his winery and the region.
"It's been up to this point and time, a real challenge to see acceptance in New York City for a number of reasons," Macinski said. "Maybe lack of distribution, maybe lack of awareness. New York City and major metropolitan areas in the East continue to be a challenge."