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     In today’s Finger Lakes Times, reporter Amanda Folts writes that an astounding 33 wineries have opened in New York in the last seven months alone!
     Her article provides some interesting statistics:

Winery Creation in New York State

• 4 opened before 1900

• 7 between 1900 and 1960

• 13 in the 1970s

• 40 in the 1980s

• 49 in the 1990s

• 160 so far this decade, with 33 in the last 7 months

As Folts quotes one winemaker in her article, “‘[The] increase in wineries is going to give this area a critical mass that it really needs,’ said Gene Pierce, owner of Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee and Knapp Winery in Romulus.”

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flxblogtalkHere is the permalink to my interview with Morgen McLaughlin today on Finger Lakes Wine Talk radio. I had a fun conversation during the half-hour interview with Morgen, who has the enviable job of promoting Finger Lakes Wine Country.
You can follow Morgen on Twitter at FLWineLady. Follow the Finger Lakes harvest on Twitter at  FLXcrush.
Read more at the Finger Lakes Travel Journal and learn more about the region at fingerlakeswinecountry.com

Thanks to the FLX wine Twitter community, you can watch videos of this year’s grape harvest and crushing, have questions answered by winemakers and learn about special events celebrating the start of the ’09 vintage.

     Here’s a cool video from Red Newt Cellars on the East Side of Seneca Lake (called the Banana Belt for its warmer microclimate). They’re crushing green cabernet franc grapes for verjus, an acidic juice used in salad dressings.
     These green grapes were culled to let the vines focus on ripening the rest of them for wine production. Normally these would be trimmed off and left to rot. This same crushing method will be used for the wine grapes.
     To follow FLX harvest updates on Twitter, follow @flxcrush. Winemakers will be answering your Q&As on Twitter weekly too. Here’s the current schedule:

roseofclare_labelFinished, finally, tweaking the novel’s manuscript late, late last night. Once the cover is completed and the proof approved, the novel will be available at local bookstores, gift shops and on Amazon.com. I’ll announce details of the launch, to be held at RiverRead Books in downtown Binghamton, when the date is set.
     I love how a novel becomes a tapestry of all the people and things you encounter. This novel, as an example, would not have been written if not for the kindness of my great aunt Mary Reilly O’Keefe who let us stay at her cottage on Keuka Lake every summer.
     Over the years I have spoken with many people involved in the Finger Lakes Wine industry. When it came time to write this novel though, Vinny and Kim Aliperti of Billsboro Winery (he’s also the winemaker for Atwater Estate Vineyards), were very generous with their time in answering detailed questions I had about the day-to-day operations.
     As for the scenes set in Ireland, I owe much gratitude (míle buíochas— a thousand thanks) to the very talented Irish author/blogger Eddie Stack whom I met through Amazon.com. Here’s a delightful twist of fate — Eddie also happens to be from Ennistymon, County Clare, the hometown of a main character in the novel, Fergal Griffin. He patiently translated expressions into colloquial Clare-speak and explained the details of terrain to match what I’d remembered from my last trip there. Up da banner, Eddie!
     Finishing touches added to the story were influenced by the great community of Finger Lakes Wine Region promoters, winemakers, tasting room guides and critics found on Twitter. Follow the #flx, #flwine and #flxcrush hashtags for quite a learning experience about one of the most beautiful regions on earth. (Not the least bit biased.) Wondering if your favorite FLX winery is on Twitter? Check this great list on Ithacork blog.
     This concept of a novel as a tapestry of your life reminds me of a saying on the sweatshirt I received for Christmas a couple of years ago:

Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.

     Consider yerself warned….

delaware     Yesterday the results of the 2009 New York Food & Wine Classic competition were announced. Two Finger Lakes wineries, out of competitors from the FLX, Lake Erie, Niagara Escarpment, Hudson Valley, Long Island and other regions across New York, won the coveted top two prizes. Cayuga Lake’s Sheldrake Point was named winery of the year and Seneca Lake’s Anthony Road Wine Company’s  2008 Semi-Dry Riesling won the Governor’s Cup for best wine of the year. I’ve visited both wineries and can vouch for their high-quality wines. This year I visited Sheldrake’s Simply Red Bistro with friends and had an outstanding lunch there, too.
     I was very pleased to see the work of talented winemaker Vinny Aliperti garnered several prizes (Best of Class: Billsboro Winery 2008 Riesling for Best Medium Sweet Riesling, Billsboro Winery 2008 Pinot Gris for Best Pinot Gris; Double Gold Medals: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc, Billsboro Winery 2008 Riesling, Billsboro Winery 2008 Pinot Gris; Gold Medals: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Riesling and Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Gewürztraminer). Vinny is the winemaker for both Atwater and Billsboro — an estate winery he runs with his wife, Kim.
     Vinny and Kim were kind enough to answer many questions I had for this novel about running a winery. Their kindness, patience and good suggestions were truly appreciated! Congrats, well deserved!

book jacket

$20
Available NOW at my e-store (Amazon.com),
Amazon.com;
Barnes & Noble;
Powell's Books
What readers are saying:
"This endearing foursome, that so many readers of the first book fell in love with, face new challenges with Irish wit and a generally upbeat outlook on life. They're a group of friends that anyone would want to hang out with."
"After finishing it, I kept thinking of the characters and wondered how they were doing. I had to remind myself they weren't real and had to let them go..."
"I couldn't put it down."
"Pure dead brilliant!"

The Prequel

book jacket

Buy it @ my E-store; Amazon.com; and Powell's Books.

Cost: $20

The story

Irish couple Fergal and Brídgeen Griffin get an intriguing wedding gift: the chance to manage a Finger Lakes winery. When they move to Keuka Lake from Queens, see the rundown winery and meet its surly winemaker, they realize it will be quite a challenge getting from grapevine to bottle.
Meanwhile their friends Maeve and Andy face a challenge of their own, separation as he pursues experimental therapy for his paraplegia.
As the two couples face the challenges ahead, will they be able to keep hope alive?

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A Sudden Gift of Fate: Sequel to the novel The Cyber Miracles

Podcast Interviews

* Listen to my interview with Bill Jaker on his WSKG radio show, "Off the Page" here.
* Listen to my 10/21/2009 interview with Morgen McLaughlin on her BlogTalk Radio show, "Finger Lakes Wine Talk" here.

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