Wines from New York State
The second-largest wine producing state in North America after California, New York State is increasingly gaining a reputation for producing interesting and high quality wines.
The origins of New York State wines can be traced right back to the early 19th Century, when grapes were cultivated along what became the Hudson River American Viticultural Area. Hudson Valley is, in fact, home to the United States` oldest winery – the Brotherhood Winery – which produced its first bottles in 1839.
Grape varieties in New York State can be broadly grouped into three categories. These are native American grapes (Vitis Labrusca), European grapes (Vitis Vinifera), and hybrids of French and American grapes.
The native American grapes are a favourite among wine producers in New York State, mainly because they are hardy enough to survive the harsh winters. The grapes are acidic yet sweet, resulting in some nicely complex wines.
While early wine makers in New York State believed that the State was too cold to support European grape varities, this happily proved not to be the case. The Vitis Vinifera grape has proved an enormous success in New York State, and is used to produce some of the world`s most sophisticated wines – including excellent Chardonnay, White Reisling, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
With early wine growers remaining sceptical about the potential for success of European grapes, many chose to compromise through the planting of hybrid native American/French grapes. The grapes blend the flavour characteristics of European grapes with the toughness of native American varieties, and have been an enormous success since the 19th Century, when they were first cultivated by French wine producers. Some great red wines produced with these hybrid grapes include Baco Noir and Chancellor, while Vidal and Seyval Blanc are very good whites.
New York State is now home to some 100 wineries spread across more than 30,000 acres in six AVAs (American Vitucultural Areas).
These wine-growing areas are found mainly in four regions – Finger Lakes, Hudson River Region, Long Island, and the district of Lake Erie.
Of these, Finger Lakes produces the most wine, and in fact produces the most wine of any region outside California. The Hudson River Region, meanwhile, boasts the largest number of premium wine producer; while Lake Erie District is the biggest wine growing area east of sunny California.
Better-known for its ice tea cocktails, Long Island is in fact the fastest-growing wine region on New York State.
Much of the most exciting recent developments in New York State wines have stemmed from activity in the Long Island regions. The Vitis Vinifera European grape is widely used there, and to great effect. The wines of Long Island have been a major success not only in the United States but worldwide, and the long growing season of this regions makes for some very special red wines.
New York State wine prices vary according to vintage, the producer, the region and any number of other variables, and can be found in pretty much every price bracket – from everyday table wines to some world class, `special occasion` bottles.
What better way to discover the wines of New York State for yourself than with a trip out to the `Big Apple` and the wine growing regions that surround it? There are some great flight deals to be found at www.usatravelmarket.com