New York wine region

New York
New York produces more wine than any other state in the USA except California.  Yet few outsiders realise it makes wine at all, let alone more than well-known regions like Oregon or Washington.
The main reason is that more than 90% of it is not made from vitis vinifera grapes, but from native species such as vitis labrusca or from hybrids between the two.  Labrusca wine has a distinctive taste traditionally (and mystifyingly) described as ‘foxy’ which tends to put off drinkers used to vinifera wines.  The other reason is that New York’s vast and thirsty population consume it all, and a great deal of imported wine besides.
The largest grape-growing region is the Lake Eyrie AVA (American Viticultural Area) which extends along the south shore of the lake into Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Few of its grapes are made into wine, however, being destined for jams and jellies.  Most of the bottles that do get produced are made from French-American hybrid grapes that cope well with the cool climate but don’t make great wine. 
The Finger Lakes AVA, around the shores of deep glacial lakes in the west-central area, is also largely planted with hybrids but has much more of a focus on wine.  Increasingly vinifera vines are being planted to make Chablis-style unoaked Chardonnay and dry, age-worthy Riesling.
The Long Island AVA is newer and smaller, but is planted entirely with vinifera vines.  The maritime influence here means that the growing season is much longer than inland.  This allows the ripening of Bordeaux varieties although the cool climate means that white wines dominate here too, along with some fine sparkling wine.

Get in touch