Expanding the New York Wine Trail System

New York wineries are key to the state’s tourism economy. With new wineries opening every year, New York State has expanded two wine trails – the Niagara Wine Trail and the Shawangunk East Wine Trail.   The State also created two new wine trails – the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail and the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail. The Niagara Wine Trail will benefit Monroe and Orleans County wineries along Lake Ontario.

There is no downside to the state for expanding the wine trail system – the wineries pay for the signs marking the trail. There is an upside:  the state would increase the current $377 million tourism dollars the wine tourism brings.

Legislative approval is required for new wineries to join a wine trail if they are greater than 5 miles from an established wine trail. It is a lengthy and costly process to cut through the bureaucratic red tape in Albany.  Expanding existing wine trails and creating new ones eliminates some of the barriers to entry for new start-up wineries.

Participation in wine trails allows smaller wineries to benefit from cross promotion that helps them capture tourism trade as visitors are guided to the tasting rooms of these smaller wineries.  The majority of sales for small wineries are in their tasting rooms so this has a major impact on the bottom line.  Visitors to the tasting rooms may join a wine club if they like the wine, another substantial revenue source for small wineries.

Farm wineries are now allowed to sell their wine along roadside farmer’s markets.  Each roadside farm market can sell products from up to two wineries located within 20 miles of the roadside farm stand.  There is one drawback in this recent legislation – tastings are not permitted at the roadside farm stands, requiring customers to take a leap of faith when purchasing at these retail locations.

We’d like to hear from anyone who has visited any of the wineries on the new wine trails and extensions.  Tell us about your experience, your opinion of the wines and any fun or unique event you attended.