This episode of “Wine 101” is sponsored by E&J Gallo Winery. At Gallo, we exist to serve enjoyment in moments that matter. The hallmark of our firm has at all times been an unwavering dedication to creating high quality wines and spirits. Whether or not it’s getting Barefoot and having a good time, making day by day sparkle with La Marca Prosecco, or persevering with our legacy with Louis Martini in Napa. We wish to welcome new associates to wine and share in all of life’s moments. Cheers! And all the very best.

On this episode of “Wine 101,” VinePair tastings director Keith Beavers delves into the historical past of winemaking in New York — significantly, the way in which by which New York grew to become a locus of wine manufacturing in the US, regardless of its chilly and sometimes unforgiving local weather.

Beavers discusses the 9 AVAs of New York, and the way they owe their improvement to a collection of acquaintances made within the 19th century. Following Prohibition, when America was attempting to regain its footing within the alcohol trade, one American winery proprietor’s journey overseas was the catalyst for a gathering of European minds that made New York’s wine nation what it’s at the moment. The novel concept of rising vitis vinifera vines in upstate New York, versus the French-American hybrids that have been ubiquitous on the time, kickstarted this success.

The remaining is historical past, fairly actually. Beavers claims that New York owes a lot of its tourism at the moment to the thriving hotbed of wineries in upstate New York, producing every thing from Riesling to Chardonnay. Moreover, the introduction of vitis vinifera vines to the Northeast established America as a web site of high quality wine manufacturing.

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My title is Keith Beavers, and have we forgotten about Drake claiming to have invented YOLO? Are we nonetheless on that? Have we figured that out but?

What’s happening, wine lovers? Welcome to episode 4 of VinePair’s Wine 101 podcast.

That is Season 2, by the way in which. My title is Keith Beavers. I’m the tastings director of VinePair, and I feel you’re doing nice. OK, I’m going residence. I’m going to New York. We’ve acquired loads to speak about. It’s a really thrilling place. I don’t even know the place to start out. New York wine. Let’s get into it. It’s superior. You’re prepared.

On July 3, within the yr 1962, Tom Cruise was born in upstate New York in a city known as Syracuse. After which in 1975, I used to be born in Syracuse. So I’m simply going to indicate this enjoyable little correlation between myself and Tom Cruise. No, not likely.

What I’m attempting to say is I used to be born in New York, and I like New York. Clearly. What’s very thrilling for me as a local New Yorker is how a lot enjoyable New York is having proper now as a wine-producing area, how thrilling issues are proper now for this place.

And I acquired to say, in prepping for this episode, I didn’t even know the place to start out. There’s a lot I wish to inform you about New York — the way it acquired to the place it’s at the moment and all these items. As a result of the factor is, what I simply stated is how thrilling issues are occurring in New York. Properly, New York has been a spot of vine rising for a really very long time. We’re speaking pre-18th century, throughout the colonies. When folks got here right here from Europe, they tried instantly to plant vines and create the wine they’d at residence. And it failed miserably all up and down the Japanese Seaboard. However there was a serious push for it to occur in New York. New York is, at the moment, the third-largest wine producing area within the nation. It additionally produces so many grapes. A 3rd of the grapes produced in New York are destined for wine. The remaining are destined for mainly jams, jellies, and grape juice. And that’s sort of the historical past of New York grapes, if you’ll.

Again in Season 1, we talked about where Zinfandel came from, and we talked about this little cottage trade that began up within the Northeast, and about desk grapes, and greenhouse grapes and all that. And in that episode, we had a principal character, if you’ll, within the story of Zinfandel. And his title was William Robert Prince. He was the one who led all this grape-growing cottage trade to thrive. Him and his household have been a giant participant on this, particularly in Lengthy Island and Queens. And this man planted grape vines all up and down the Hudson River, which is able to finally turn into an AVA that we’ll discuss in a second. Additionally, the oldest vineyard in America is definitely in New York, within the Hudson Valley, established in 1839: Brotherhood Vineyard. 

And after the Civil Warfare, on the shores of Lake Erie within the northwestern a part of the state, there was an enormous grape-growing scheme happening there that might finally turn into an AVA. We’ll discuss it. 

And much more vital, by the tip of the 19th century, the Finger Lakes region, which I’m positive you’ve heard of, had 24,000 acres of land below vine. That’s vital round that point. So there was vine work in New York for a very long time. 

However the realization of the fantastic thing about this land and what it will probably produce was actually, actually realized not till the 1950s, and the story to get to that time is so cool. 

So after the 19th century, after Prohibition, when the nation was coming again, attempting to recreate their wine-drinking tradition, one thing occurred in New York that was very particular, that started the journey to the place we’re proper now in New York. It’s one of the thrilling wine areas we now have as a result of we’re watching it type in entrance of our eyes. Are you excited? I’m excited. 

At present, New York has 9 AVAs — American Viticultural Areas — 5 of that are giant, overarching AVAs, 4 of that are suburbs inside a bigger AVA. So proper now, proper there, you’re already saying, OK, we’re seeing terroir as a result of when some AVAs begin exhibiting up, there are particular areas which can be particular. They usually’re simply that — all these 9 areas the place wine is being grown are particular areas. However there’s one factor we now have to grasp about New York. Regardless that the soil compositions are totally different from area to area, and even the subregions — and people are very distinctive locations, and we’ll get into that — the factor about New York, the large problem is the climate. It is a mountainous, rocky place, and it’s very nicely drained and there’s excessive elevation. So that you get actually good solar hours, otherwise you’re up close to the ocean and also you get actually good breezes coming from the ocean. However climate is one thing that messes up this place loads: deep freezes, and hurricanes, and birds (however that’s not likely main). However that is the large deal in New York. New York’s potential to make high quality wines in this sort of climate, in this sort of local weather, is why this place is so particular. There’s a purpose why it thrives that method now, and it actually all begins with the Finger Lakes.

Should you don’t know what the Finger Lakes are, the northwestern a part of New York state that borders the southern border of Ontario, that complete space at one time, hundreds of thousands of years in the past was lined by glaciers. And when these glaciers receded, they have been so huge that they left scarring within the earth. It’s nearly as if the glacier was a claw. And because the glacier receded, it scraped itself. It was nearly prefer it didn’t wish to go away. And it scraped these 11 claw marks into the earth. And people claw marks grew to become lakes. That’s the Finger Lakes. They regarded like fingers. It’s a factor. 

The 2 principal lakes are Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, and they’re every its personal AVA throughout the Finger Lakes, as I used to be speaking about earlier than. However we’ll get to that, as a result of all of it started on one other one in every of these hyperlinks known as Cayuga Lake, which in native Iroquois tongue means canoe, as a result of the lake is formed like a canoe, or a finger. On the south finish of Cayuga Lake was a bustling city known as Hammondsport. 4 miles north of that was a quiet little city known as Urbana. And in that city in 1865, the Urbana Wine Firm was established. Now, that is at a time when wine was being made in New York from French hybrids. Once we discuss phylloxera, we’ll discuss loads about that. I want I had extra time now, however I don’t, as a result of that is about to get loopy. This vineyard has a really fascinating historical past in its title, in that it modified on a regular basis. 

It was The Urbana Wine Firm. Then it was New Urbana Wine Firm. Then it went again to The Urbana Wine Firm. Then Prohibition got here round. They declare to do sacramental wine to maintain it going, and so they known as it Gold Seal Merchandise Firm (no “wine” in that title.) After which after Prohibition, they went again to City Wine Firm Integrated — just a bit bit modernized. However at the moment, it’s nonetheless generally known as the Gold Seal Wine Company

It’s a little bit complicated, however what’s necessary is its existence, as a result of what occurred right here is after Prohibition, in 1934, a yr after the Volstead Act had been repealed, the present president of Gold Seal City Vineyard went to France. As a result of presently in New York, it was very fashionable to make glowing wine from no matter grapes you can discover. And he needed to go over to the Champagne area of France to check how Champagne was made. Hopefully, he may both discover anyone to assist them out, or be taught stuff and convey that information again to New York and attempt to assist this firm thrive. So Edwin Stuart Underhill Jr., the president of Gold Seal, meets a person named Charles Fournier, and Charles was the product supervisor for Veuve Clicquot.  

There’s this enjoyable story about how Charles and Edwin meet. They begin speaking about what’s happening in New York. Edwin’s, like, “Look, you realize, I may at all times use some assist. We’re doing glowing wine in New York.” Charles Fournier is like, “You already know what, man? I need one thing new. I wish to put my title on one thing. Possibly if I’m going to New York and assist these guys out, I can put my title on one thing, then come again to France and simply sort of enhance my resume.” So he agrees to go to New York for a yr or two, assist them with their glowing wine state of affairs, after which come again to France. 

On the time in upstate New York, loads of the vines which can be being grown have been these hybrids, as a result of these are the one grapes that might survive up on this climate. However the factor was, they didn’t have the very best quality such as you would get from European vines. So when Charles Fournier acquired to New York to this vineyard, he set about attempting to make high quality wine out of French-American hybrids. And it was a really daunting process. However Charles was decided. And he by no means went again to France. And in 1952, Charles Fournier grew to become the president of Urbana Wine Firm, or Gold Seal. 

Czar Alexander I of the Russian Empire got here to energy within the early 19th century. He was a really forward-thinking dude, and he introduced lots of people from Germany and components of Europe to Russia to assist Russia develop a Western-style tradition. 5 generations after that transfer, a person is born from a kind of households — a German household — by the title of Konstantin Frank. He was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and as he grew up, he gained an curiosity in agriculture and finally acquired his doctorate in agricultural science on the Odessa Polytechnic. In 1917, after Russia had a revolution, now Dr. Konstantin Frank (that is loopy) was appointed the pinnacle of the now nationalized Trubetzkoy Property — which is an previous royal Czar, as a result of they’d a revolution and there’s no extra Czars. So there’s this enormous property with 2,000 acres of land below vine alongside this river. And he was appointed to keep up and handle all 2,000 acres of this now-nationalized winery. So we now have this man who’s a doctorate of agricultural science, sustaining a winery of grapes — vitis vinifera vines, by the way in which, that is Europe — in an especially chilly area of the world.

And he had this appointment nicely into his 40s. After which in 1943, the Germans invaded Ukraine, and Dr. Frank and his household fled to Vienna, then to Bavaria. At this level, he’s destitute. He has a spouse, two daughters, and a son. He doesn’t know what to do. So he decides in 1951 to to migrate to the US and results in Brooklyn, New York. Right here, we now have a 52-year-old man with a household, who has a doctorate in agricultural science, who maintained a 2,000-acre winery in a chilly area in Russia, in Brooklyn with no cash. However you see, Dr. Konstantin Frank had a objective. He wanted to get to Geneva, N.Y., which is a city on the northern tip of one of many bigger Finger Lakes known as Seneca Lake. 

That’s the place Cornell College is, and that’s the place the New York Agricultural Experiment Station lived. He wanted to get to that place. So the story goes that he will get a job at an automat in New York Metropolis as a janitor and saves up sufficient cash for bus fare to carry him and his household from Brooklyn to Geneva, N.Y., within the Finger Lakes area, the place he lastly will get to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Heart. And this 50-something-year-old man with a doctorate in agricultural science who speaks six languages, applies for a job. However sadly, English isn’t a kind of languages. So the one job he will get is hoeing blueberries. I’m unsure the way you hoe blueberries. I don’t know, blueberries needed to be hoed. 

That is the place issues come collectively, and it’s stunning. Dr. Konstantin Frank, whereas employed by this place, hoeing blueberries, wouldn’t cease speaking about the opportunity of rising vitis vinifera vines within the chilly area of New York State, particularly within the Finger Lakes. He talked about it on a regular basis, to the purpose the place he would really annoy folks. After which Charles Fournier, a former manufacturing supervisor of Veuve Clicquot, now the president of Gold Seal Vineyard, will get wind of this man who simply retains on speaking about vitis vinifera vines. He finally meets Dr. Konstantin Frank, and so they have a dialog as a result of one of many languages he does know is French. So he and Charles have a full dialog of what Charles desires to perform. Charles listens to what Konstantin desires to perform, and the 2 of them have an understanding. And so Charles hires Konstantin Frank to work on the Gold Seal vineyard, and collectively they work on his principle of rising profitable vitis vinifera vines in upstate New York. Not hybrids. 

Collectively, they work at this vineyard to make this occur, and what they begin doing is grafting vitis vinifera vines onto hybrid rootstock. And in 1957 they unveiled their work within the type of two bottles of wine: a bottle of Chardonnay, and a bottle of Riesling. They bought it commercially, and it was a hit. And that, wine lovers, is the place I consider the start of New York State actually began to pop off.

Finally, Dr. Konstantin Frank would go away Gold Seal to start out his personal vineyard north of Cayuga Lake, and he began Vinifera Wine Cellars. His objective was not solely to develop vitis vinifera wine and make profitable wine from white wine grapes; he was prepared to start out experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. What this did was set up New York as a spot to develop fantastic wine: wine constituted of vitis vinifera varieties, wine that Europeans coming right here have at all times needed to do, wine that Thomas Jefferson was attempting to perform in Virginia. Dr. Konstantin Frank completed that in *New York. His household carried on the custom, and Dr. Konstantin Frank wine continues to be there. It’s simply now known as “Dr. Konstantin Frank Vineyard.” 

He would go on to affect so many individuals in New York, and they’d turn into pioneers in their very own proper. They have been college students of his expertise — nicely, he didn’t name them college students, he appreciated to name them “cooperators” — and that basically helped to type the Finger Lakes. Now, I do know I’m speaking about one area, however that’s the place the spark, I consider, was lit. From that time into the 1970s, loads of work was completed. However that is the factor. In 1976, we had the Judgment of Paris, the place California wines received over French wines in a blind tasting, being a watershed second for us as a winemaking nation. That very same yr, New York handed what’s known as the Farm Vineyard Act. This was a regulation that allowed grape growers to make wine on their property and have the ability to promote that wine to customers. This was enormous for New York. In 1973, Alex and Louisa Hargrave had purchased an previous, deserted potato discipline on Lengthy Island and began a winery there. So when the 1976 regulation went into motion, they sort of have been the pioneers of that area, which grew to become widespread due to its proximity to New York Metropolis. 

And within the 1980s, all these established locations that I’ve been speaking about to start with of this episode in New York grew to become AVAs. Since you keep in mind from the appellations episode, that is that feverish time between 1983 and 1991 the place 100 AVAs have been awarded to the US due to the feverish push of the recognition of Napa Valley turning into an AVA, so loads of AVAs are being awarded, and New York was a part of it. 

The Finger Lakes grew to become an AVA in 1982, then Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake grew to become their very own AVAs in 1988. Hudson River additionally grew to become an AVA in 1982. Lake Erie grew to become an AVA in 1983, after which Lengthy Island grew to become an AVA in 1985 and break up into two as a result of Lengthy Island is a fork. You’ve the North Fork of Lengthy Island, and you’ve got the South Fork of Lengthy Island. The North Fork of Lengthy Island known as the North Fork AVA, and the South Fork of Lengthy Island is the house of the Hamptons, in order that’s known as the Hamptons AVA. After which in 2005 — yeah, that’s latest — a brand new AVA popped up known as the Niagara Escarpment, all the way in which as much as the southern border of Ontario. And guys, let me inform you, the wine popping out of there’s nice. 

And to cap this story off to the place we’re at the moment, in 2011, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York State, signed the Positive Vineyard Act. This alleviates the stress of getting tasting rooms. He allowed 5 tasting rooms per vineyard. He made it simpler for wineries to ship wines to customers. He allowed folks to lease different folks’s gear to make wine, which apparently wasn’t authorized earlier than that. This act began the entire tourism half. 

Tourism was already a part of New York. It simply wasn’t as sturdy. However this modified every thing. And now we now have this superb, thriving wine area in my residence state, New York. Lengthy Island is understood for being the closest winery in the US to Bordeaux due to the Atlantic Ocean. I feel that’s superior and enjoyable. They’ve excessive maritime influences. They’ve to fret about hurricanes and frosts, however their rising seasons are lengthy, and so they can produce wines like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay, and so they have these good gradual, regular ripening intervals. There’s loads of natural work happening proper now in Lengthy Island. It’s loads of enjoyable. 

On the North Fork is the place you’ve a lot of the wineries; on the South Fork there’s solely three wineries within the Hamptons, however they’re enjoyable to go to. And naturally, you’ve the Finger Lakes, which is sort of a giant deal within the nationwide scene proper now. It’s like our massive deal in New York due to the Riesling that’s popping out of there. The Riesling is so good popping out of the Finger Lakes of New York. That is the place Dr. Konstantin Frank began. That is the place Cornell College is. That is the place the spark of the New York wine factor began actually occurring. Many of the vines are close to these lakes, and the lakes have one thing known as a “lake effect.” Within the winter because it will get colder, the lake continues to be heat from the summer time and it moderates the temperature across the lake. Then the identical factor occurs when the season adjustments. When it begins to get hotter out, the lake is chilly and it moderates the temperature that method. 

These are simply a number of the issues that Dr. Konstantin Frank helped everyone with again within the day. And at the moment this defines that area. The Chardonnays, the Rieslings, the Cab Francs, the Merlot. The wines popping out of this space within the Finger Lakes have turn into simply stunning, elegant, medium- to full-bodied, simply zippy acidity, superior wines. The cool factor about Finger Lakes is that they produce sufficient wine that you just’re going to see these wines in the marketplace. You’re additionally going to see Lengthy Island wines in the marketplace. They will produce sufficient — not all of them — however a few of them can produce sufficient to be on the nationwide market and distribution. Dr. Konstantin Frank, you’ll find across the nation. 

Now that new AVA, the Niagara Escarpment, all the way in which to the north, that place is unbelievable. It’s model new, however they’re producing superb Pinot Noir, superb Chardonnay, and superb Cab Franc. It’s a reasonably new area, so that you’re not going to see a giant manufacturing. You’re not going to see loads of these wines in the marketplace. However in case you go to New York, and also you wish to go to wine nation, the Niagara Escarpment is certainly a spot to go to. It’s not solely stunning naturally, however the wines popping out of there are superior. The Hudson Valley is without doubt one of the most stunning locations within the nation. This AVA is generally identified for making wines from French hybrids, and we’ll discuss that this season. They do make Chardonnay and a few Sauvignon Blanc, however the manufacturing is so low, you’re not likely going to see it outdoors of New York. The identical goes for the Lake Erie AVA. There’s solely about 17 wineries there. The wine is nice, however the majority of the grapes grown there are for desk grapes. 

In order that’s New York. That’s the New York story. There’s extra to inform, however that’s overview to offer you a way of what’s happening right here in New York. After all, I like New York. I imply, I used to be tenting and mountaineering within the Allegheny Mountains earlier than I used to be even born. I like this place, but it surely’s American wine story. American wine is evolving in entrance of our eyes. It’s fairly superb — locations like Virginia, New York, Texas, Michigan. These are thrilling locations, and there are nice winemakers doing nice issues in these locations: listening to the land, not the greenback, doing what the land desires, placing vines within the land that may survive, and make nice stuff. And New York is one in every of them. So I hope you take pleasure in my story about Dr. Konstantin Frank and Charles Fournier, and the way it all started right here in New York. Thanks very a lot. 

@VinePairKeith is my Insta. Charge and evaluate this podcast wherever you get your podcasts from. It actually helps get the phrase on the market. And now, for some completely superior credit. 

“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours actually, Keith Beavers, on the VinePair headquarters in New York Metropolis.  I wish to give a giant ol’ shout out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. And I imply, massive shout out to Danielle Grinberg, the artwork director of VinePair, for creating probably the most superior emblem for this podcast. Additionally Darby Cicci for the theme tune. Take heed to this. And I wish to thank the complete VinePair workers for serving to me be taught one thing new day by day. See you subsequent week. 

This episode of “Wine 101” is sponsored by E&J Gallo Winery. At Gallo, we exist to serve enjoyment in moments that matter. The hallmark of our firm has at all times been an unwavering dedication to creating high quality wines and spirits. Whether or not it’s getting Barefoot and having a good time, making day by day sparkle with La Marca Prosecco, or persevering with our legacy with Louis Martini in Napa. We wish to welcome new associates to wine and share in all of life’s moments. Cheers! And all the very best.

Ed. notice: This episode has been edited for size and readability.





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