Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Thanks to my favorite wine blogger, Lenn at LennDevours blog, for the following news:
Lenn says "Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort's Blue Zoo restaurant will soon be pouring six, count em six, New York wines.
So, now you can take your kids to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse...and then enjoy some some delectable Finger Lakes and Long Island wines with dinner.
The wines chosen by Blue Zoo's team are:
Atwater Estate Cabernet Franc
Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling
Heron Hill Semi-Dry Riesling
Sheldrake Point Riesling
Raphael La Fontana
Wolffer Estate Selection Chardonnay..."

- Here's an excellent article on Hermann Wiemer

- Coalition fights to prevent development in the Finger Lakes

- Auburn artist promotes arts in The Finger Lakes

- Owasco Lake phosphorous levels improving

- National wine study highlights successes and challenges of U.S. wine industry

- White Springs Winery, the newest Seneca Lake Winery, has Belhurst connection

- Fish disease spreads to The Finger Lakes

Monday, January 15, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Mrs. Wino & I were treated to some barrel samples at Lakewood Vineyards this past weekend and I can only say Wow! The Stamps have a new Pinot Gris in the works that is delicious and a new Chardonnay & Riesling that are fabulous. They are all jam-packed with fruit and well balanced. And their soon to be released 2005 Cab Franc will definitely be well-received. If these wines are indicative of the wine to be released in the Finger Lakes in 2007, all I can say is 2007 is going to be a great year!

- We also had a good stop at Lamoreaux Landing and, once again, I have to say that Mark Wagner has to be considered one of the top winemakers in The Finger Lakes. His wines define elegance and balance. He crafts wines with a full, round, satiny mouth feel that are a real treat to the senses. His Chardonnay, Riesling, Cab Franc, & Merlot are well worth the trip up the east side of Seneca Lake.

- I'd like to welcome a new Finger Lakes wine blog to the Blogosphere. Check out the
Finger Lakes Wine Tribune blog with reviews of Finger Lakes wine.

- The 6th Annual Wine On Ice event is coming up on Jan.26 & 27 in Elmira

- Icy Roads, but No Ice Wine, yet

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- The 5th Annual Between The Lakes Winter Wine Party is this Saturday, Jan. 13

- Don't miss the Seneca Lake Wine Trail "Bargain Bash Week" starting this Saturday, Jan. 13-21, with great savings on wine and gifts from participating wineries

- London Reporter visits Seneca Falls "It's A Wonderful Life" festival

- No freeze yet for the ice wine makers

- No ice wine, but plenty of sap with this crazy weather

- Fox Run Vineyards gets new co-owner

- Culinary Tourism is growing

- Grape Genetics Center gets hit as Government Dollars frozen

- Finger Lakes winter tourism slow down heats up

- If you love waterfalls like I do, here is a great website

- This website has some beautiful Finger Lakes photos

- Don't forget to check out my website links on the right side of the page and, if you have any questions about the Finger Lakes area or its wines and wineries, use the contact form at the bottom of this page. Thanks for stopping by!!! -FLWW

Condolences to The Stamp Family

Monty Stamp, the patriarch of one of the Finger Lakes great winemaking families passed away this week. My wife and I send our deepest and heartfelt condolences to The Stamp Family.

Jim Trezise so eloquently eulogizes Monty Stamp in his latest Wine Press edition:

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Special “Monty” Edition

MONTY STAMP, a major reason for our industry’s success, passed away on New Year’s morning at age 71. Happily, his beautiful spirit lives on in the incredible Stamp family and all of us whose lives he touched.
The New York wine industry is a phenomenal success, a Phoenix rising from the ashes of economic crisis to become the fastest growing industry in New York ’s agricultural and tourism sectors. That 25-year overnight success didn’t happen by chance: Its roots go back to the New York State Wine Grape Growers, an organization created in 1963 to represent grower interests.
Monty was the group’s Secretary/Treasurer from day one. He was part of a core group of grape growers—Vince Bedient, Art Hunt, Doug Knapp, John Martini, Gene Pierce and Neil Simmons among them—who had an audacious vision: If we work together, we can do anything. They also refused to give up, even in the darkest of times. They are the bedrock of our success.
In the early 1980’s, they secured a wine grape marketing order and hired me to create research and promotion programs. One snag: the marketing order was immediately taken to court, overturned, and dissolved. In short: no money. There was enough to keep the office open for a little while, but soon the bank account was drained. So Monty wrote a check from his family account so we could keep working and try to help others. Monty was a team player, a quiet leader, everyone’s older brother who always took care of others before himself. He was also a compendium of terrible jokes, but we gladly endured them to be warmed by his winning smile and the twinkle in his eyes reflecting the radiance of his soul.
Monty was always there—in Albany or Washington —to advance the interests of the grape industry. He would even testify if asked, despite his strong dislike of public speaking. Along with Vince Bedient and John Martini, he became a fixture at Winegrape Growers of America, the national organization where he met many soul mates from Lodi , CA like Jerry Fry, Bob Hartzell, John Kautz, Brad and Randy Lange, John Ledbetter and Robert Young—all with the same vision of unity and dedication to the industry.
Physically strong and ruggedly handsome—John Wayne in the vineyard—Monty had a straight back and strong gait. Before Parkinson’s. That debilitating disease would cause many to feel embarrassed, to withdraw and give up. Not Monty Stamp. He just kept on being Monty Stamp: dedicated family man, proud grape grower, Secretary/Treasurer of NYSWGG, chief of the Watkins Glen Fire Department, and so much more. When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Lakewood Vineyards to view firsthand the winter damage from 2004, Monty could have asked sons Chris or Dave to escort her through the vineyard. Instead he did it himself, shuffling, shaking, stammering and joking all the way. At one point he said, “Be careful you don’t step in that ditch, Senator, or you’ll twist your ankle and start walking like me.” Parkinson’s didn’t beat Monty; Monty beat Parkinson’s.
When I think of Monty Stamp, one word rises above all others: “respect”. There are many others—honesty, integrity, commitment, dedication, passion, perseverance, toughness, compassion, selflessness, and an incredible work ethic—but those qualities are why I respect him as much as anyone I’ve ever known. When I recently received the most precious honor of my professional life, the Wine Integrity Award from the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission, I said that whatever integrity I may have is not my creation but rather a gift from many people who have been shining examples. Monty Stamp is at the top of that list. The award is a beautiful bronze sculpture of an open hand holding a cluster of grapes. I dedicate the Wine Integrity Award to Monty Stamp.
I am not alone in my feelings. Monty received practically every award the New York Wine & Grape Foundation gives—Unity, Industry, Grower, Winery—along with many others from other groups. Wednesday night’s calling hours caused a traffic jam in Watkins Glen like those during the Grand Prix in the summer, and long lines outside the funeral home for hours. The next day’s funeral procession was led by a fire truck, and workers at the highway department stopped and held their hats over their hearts as we passed by. And then after the internment, just as Monty would want, we went to the Stamp home for wine and food and hugs.
At the suggestion of John Martini, the Monty Stamp Memorial Education Fund is being set up by the organization Monty served for a lifetime, the New York State Wine Grape Growers. The funds will be used to support people pursuing education in grape growing. Anyone wishing to contribute may write a check to New York State Wine Grape Growers (with a note that it’s for the Monty Stamp Memorial Education Fund) and send it to Louis Gridley, NYSWGG Treasurer, P.O. Box 364 , Keuka Park , NY 14478 .
Here’s to you, Monty!

Jim Trezise 585-394-3620 585-394-3649,, email, web

Monday, January 01, 2007

God Bless Our Soldiers

- This being a blog about The Finger Lakes, I try not to stray too far from that topic, but I just read an article that touched me so deeply that I had to share it. Whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, this article in todays New York Times spells out the greatness of our soldiers through one soldiers story.

An Appreciation
From Father to Son, Last Words to Live By
By DANA CANEDY Published: January 1, 2007 in The New York Times

He drew pictures of himself with angel wings. He left a set of his dog tags on a nightstand in my Manhattan apartment. He bought a tiny blue sweat suit for our baby to wear home from the hospital.
Then he began to write what would become a 200-page journal for our son, in case he did not make it back from the desert in Iraq.
For months before my fiancé, First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, kissed my swollen stomach and said goodbye, he had been preparing for the beginning of the life we had created and for the end of his own.
He boarded a plane in December 2005 with two missions, really — to lead his young soldiers in combat and to prepare our boy for a life without him.
Dear son, Charles wrote on the last page of the journal, “I hope this book is somewhat helpful to you. Please forgive me for the poor handwriting and grammar. I tried to finish this book before I was deployed to Iraq. It has to be something special to you. I’ve been writing it in the states, Kuwait and Iraq.
The journal will have to speak for Charles now. He was killed Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle in Baghdad. Charles, 48, had been assigned to the Army’s First Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Tex. He was a month from completing his tour of duty.
For our son’s first Christmas, Charles had hoped to take him on a carriage ride through Central Park. Instead, Jordan, now 9 months old, and I snuggled under a blanket in a horse-drawn buggy. The driver seemed puzzled about why I was riding alone with a baby and crying on Christmas Day. I told him.
“No charge,” he said at the end of the ride, an act of kindness in a city that can magnify loneliness.
On paper, Charles revealed himself in a way he rarely did in person. He thought hard about what to say to a son who would have no memory of him. Even if Jordan will never hear the cadence of his father’s voice, he will know the wisdom of his words.
Never be ashamed to cry. No man is too good to get on his knee and humble himself to God. Follow your heart and look for the strength of a woman.
Charles tried to anticipate questions in the years to come. Favorite team? I am a diehard Cleveland Browns fan. Favorite meal? Chicken, fried or baked, candied yams, collard greens and cornbread. Childhood chores? Shoveling snow and cutting grass. First kiss? Eighth grade.
In neat block letters, he wrote about faith and failure, heartache and hope. He offered tips on how to behave on a date and where to hide money on vacation. Rainy days have their pleasures, he noted: Every now and then you get lucky and catch a rainbow.
Charles mailed the book to me in July, after one of his soldiers was killed and he had recovered the body from a tank. The journal was incomplete, but the horror of the young man’s death shook Charles so deeply that he wanted to send it even though he had more to say. He finished it when he came home on a two-week leave in August to meet Jordan, then 5 months old. He was so intoxicated by love for his son that he barely slept, instead keeping vigil over the baby.
I can fill in some of the blanks left for Jordan about his father. When we met in my hometown of Radcliff, Ky., near Fort Knox, I did not consider Charles my type at first. He was bashful, a homebody and got his news from television rather than newspapers (heresy, since I’m a New York Times editor).
But he won me over. One day a couple of years ago, I pulled out a list of the traits I wanted in a husband and realized that Charles had almost all of them. He rose early to begin each day with prayers and a list of goals that he ticked off as he accomplished them. He was meticulous, even insisting on doing my ironing because he deemed my wrinkle-removing skills deficient. His rock-hard warrior’s body made him appear tough, but he had a tender heart.
He doted on Christina, now 16, his daughter from a marriage that ended in divorce. He made her blush when he showed her a tattoo with her name on his arm. Toward women, he displayed an old-fashioned chivalry, something he expected of our son. Remember who taught you to speak, to walk and to be a gentleman, he wrote to Jordan in his journal. These are your first teachers, my little prince. Protect them, embrace them and always treat them like a queen.
Though as a black man he sometimes felt the sting of discrimination, Charles betrayed no bitterness. It’s not fair to judge someone by the color of their skin, where they’re raised or their religious beliefs, he wrote. Appreciate people for who they are and learn from their differences.
He had his faults, of course. Charles could be moody, easily wounded and infuriatingly quiet, especially during an argument. And at times, I felt, he put the military ahead of family.
He had enlisted in 1987, drawn by the discipline and challenges. Charles had other options — he was a gifted artist who had trained at the Art Institute of Chicago — but felt fulfilled as a soldier, something I respected but never really understood. He had a chest full of medals and a fierce devotion to his men.
He taught the youngest, barely out of high school, to balance their checkbooks, counseled them about girlfriends and sometimes bailed them out of jail. When he was home in August, I had a baby shower for him. One guest recently reminded me that he had spent much of the evening worrying about his troops back in Iraq.
Charles knew the perils of war. During the months before he went away and the days he returned on leave, we talked often about what might happen. In his journal, he wrote about the loss of fellow soldiers. Still, I could not bear to answer when Charles turned to me one day and asked, “You don’t think I’m coming back, do you?” We never said aloud that the fear that he might not return was why we decided to have a child before we planned a wedding, rather than risk never having the chance.
But Charles missed Jordan’s birth because he refused to take a leave from Iraq until all of his soldiers had gone home first, a decision that hurt me at first. And he volunteered for the mission on which he died, a military official told his sister, Gail T. King. Although he was not required to join the resupply convoy in Baghdad, he believed that his soldiers needed someone experienced with them. “He would say, ‘My boys are out there, I’ve got to go check on my boys,’ ” said First Sgt. Arenteanis A. Jenkins, Charles’s roommate in Iraq.
In my grief, that decision haunts me. Charles’s father faults himself for not begging his son to avoid taking unnecessary risks. But he acknowledges that it would not have made a difference. “He was a born leader,” said his father, Charlie J. King. “And he believed what he was doing was right.”
Back in April, after a roadside bombing remarkably similar to that which would claim him, Charles wrote about death and duty.
The 18th was a long, solemn night, he wrote in Jordan’s journal. We had a memorial for two soldiers who were killed by an improvised explosive device. None of my soldiers went to the memorial. Their excuse was that they didn’t want to go because it was depressing. I told them it was selfish of them not to pay their respects to two men who were selfless in giving their lives for their country.
Things may not always be easy or pleasant for you, that’s life, but always pay your respects for the way people lived and what they stood for. It’s the honorable thing to do.
When Jordan is old enough to ask how his father died, I will tell him of Charles’s courage and assure him of Charles’s love. And I will try to comfort him with his father’s words.
God blessed me above all I could imagine, Charles wrote in the journal. I have no regrets, serving your country is great.
He had tucked a message to me in the front of Jordan’s journal. This is the letter every soldier should write, he said. For us, life will move on through Jordan. He will be an extension of us and hopefully everything that we stand for. ... I would like to see him grow up to be a man, but only God knows what the future holds.