Gov. Cuomo says wine trails will receive $215M

The wine and craft beverage industry is a big deal in the Finger Lakes.

There are currently 13 wine trails across the State that support New York’s vital agricultural, craft beverage and tourism industries. To enhance the current wine trail system, the State Department of Transportation has invested $214.8 million in significant upgrades to the region’s roadways, bridges and culverts, improving access to wineries throughout the State.

To further support the wine trail system and tourism across New York, Governor Cuomo signed legislation on August 21 designating the Upper Hudson Wine Trail across the Capital Region.

“In virtually every corner of the state, New York’s world-class wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries are key drivers of tourism, job creation and economic development,” Governor Cuomo said. “Investing in local infrastructure enhances access to these businesses, ensuring their momentum and growth continues strong. I encourage New Yorkers from near and far to get out and experience the state’s beverage trails this fall to sample products from these innovative local businesses.”

There are 182 wineries participating in New York’s wine trails, which are part of a robust system of more than 20 craft beverage and cuisine trails located in nearly every region of the State. Together, these trails drive tourism and strengthen the booming craft beverage and food industry. The Empire State’s wine industry alone generates more than $4.8 billion in economic benefits annually, including $408 million in State and local taxes. New York produces nearly 200 million bottles of wine each year, making it the third largest wine producing state in the country. An estimated 5.3 million people participate in wine-related tourism opportunities each year across New York.

To support the continued success of wineries and wine trails in New York, the State Department of Transportation has invested $214.8 million to support 103 projects – including highway resurfacing, bridge rehabilitations and replacements, and culvert repairs and replacements – that will ensure continued access to wineries along New York’s wine trails. To see a list of state projects undertaken to enhance New York State’s wine trails, click here.

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said, “I was born and raised in the heart of New York’s wine country and am proud of the critical role that our Department plays in promoting the growth of our craft beverage industry. The Department of Transportation has invested tens of millions of dollars to support our wine trails across the state, in the process enhancing tourism and strengthening economic development.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Since Governor Cuomo took office, we have seen a tremendous spike in craft beverage manufacturing in New York State, and a greater demand for local agricultural products as a result. Our exceptional beverage trail system is key to highlighting these businesses and their unique, high-quality products. Once visitors get a taste, they keep coming back for more.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “New York State’s wine and craft beverage industries have experienced tremendous growth during Governor Cuomo’s administration. The beverage trails run throughout the state and I encourage everyone to plan a trip this fall to experience the foliage and enjoy our world-class food and beverages.”

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “New York State is quickly becoming one of the most popular wine destinations in the country. Our exceptional beverage trails make it easy for New Yorkers and tourists alike to experience all of the top-notch wines the Empire state has to offer. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, investments like these have significantly bolstered the tourism industry and the state’s economy overall.”

New York Wine and Grape Foundation Executive Director Samuel Filler said, “As the third largest wine producing state in the country, New York’s wineries attract millions of visitors every year. The fall harvest is the perfect time to explore the State’s wine trails to discover the diversity of New York’s wine offerings and learn how these award-winning varieties are made. The New York Wine and Grape Foundation thanks the State for its support of New York’s wine industry—through both its financial and technical assistance to boost our local businesses—and is proud to contribute more than $250,000 in matching marketing funds to the wine trails annually.”

Seneca Lake Wine Trail Executive Director Paul Thomas said, “Wine trails have for over 30 years proven to be a remarkably effective way to draw more visitors to our region, and tasting rooms. The elected and appointed officials of NYS have consistently provided both strong support of our industry through a variety of programs managed by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and ILoveNY, and by persistently evolving the State Liquor Authority’s regulations to help reduce resource draining policies. Under Governor Cuomo’s visionary administration, support for the state’s entire craft beverage industry, including wine, have enabled amazing growth across all sectors, dramatically increasing the amount of product sold throughout the state, as well as the number of good paying jobs created by these industries.”

Dave Peterson, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail President and Co-owner of Swedish Hill and Goose Watch Wineries, said, “The Cayuga Wine Trail, through its collective marketing efforts, has helped bring us many new customers over the years.  When we started our winery 31 years ago, we produced only 1,200 cases of wine. Today, our production exceeds 50,000 cases annually. Visitors to the winery also enhance our sales in liquor stores and restaurants, as customers seek out our wines closer to their homes.  Without the State funding that the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail has received through the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and other channels, the marketing effort by the Trail would have been greatly diminished. The investment from the State has been returned many times over as the growth of the wineries has also fueled many other related industries including tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.”

Senator Joseph Robach said, “Some of the world’s very best wine and craft beverages call New York and the Finger Lakes region home. I have been proud to work alongside the Governor to ensure that New York State is investing in our roads, bridges and infrastructure to make it easier and safer for people to visit all the great amenities that New York has to offer.”

Senator Patty Ritchie Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, “From the Finger Lakes to the North Country, the Hudson Valley to Long Island, New York’s wine trails are helping to introduce growing numbers of enthusiasts to world-class wines produced by hardworking farmers and wine makers. Fall is the perfect time to experience the unique variety and taste of New York wine and I am pleased to join with the governor in urging New Yorkers to go out and discover their next favorite.”

Senator Rich Funke said, “New York’s wineries are some of the finest in the country. The investments made by the Department of Transportation to improve roadways and make New York’s craft beverage market more accessible will encourage tourism and bolster our small businesses across the state. Infrastructure enhancements are vital to supporting small businesses like the wine and craft beverage industries. Fall is a great time to enjoy New York’s wine, cider and craft beer.”

Assemblymember Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee said, “The wine and craft beverage trails across New York are attractions that blend agriculture, one of our biggest industries, with tourism, one of our most promising assets, to promote the best of upstate including our unique shops, restaurants, farms, and hospitality. I heartily encourage and support the development and improvement of the wine and craft beverage and food trails.”

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “The vineyards in the Upper Hudson Wine Trail are great places to visit in the Fall. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of the wine industry in our region, and across the state.”

Under the Governor’s leadership, there has been a 228 percent increase in the number of licensed craft beverage producers in New York, including a 72 percent increase in the number of farm wineries. The State has implemented significant policy changes to streamline and simplify regulations for beverage manufacturers, modernized the Alcohol and Beverage Control Laws, introduced new licenses, and leveraged opportunities to promote this growing sector of the economy. There are now nearly 1,000 licensed breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries across New York, compared to just 342 six years ago.

The Governor’s Taste NY initiative has also been key to growing the Empire State’s craft beverage industry through strategic promotional efforts at large public events and retail locations. New York products sold under Taste NY branding are available in more than 60 locations throughout the State, including a store in Grand Central Terminal dedicated exclusively to New York wines and craft beverages.

Launched by the Governor in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries, Taste NY has seen steady growth. Last year, more than $13 million in New York products were sold at Taste NY stores, concessions, and events. For more information about Taste NY, please visit www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

For more information about New York wineries, visit https://www.newyorkwines.org/.

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