Long Island wine region established by law

RIVERHEAD, New York, October 11, 2004 (ENS): Governor George Pataki traveled to the far eastern end of Long Island last week to announce that he has signed into law a formal designation of the Hamptons and North Fork Wine Trails as the Long Island Wine Region.
The new law will promote the growing Long Island wine and related agri-tourism industry by combining the separate wine trails into one region that includes more than 30 wineries in eastern Suffolk County.

"New York's wine industry is one of the finest and fastest-growing in the nation," Governor Pataki said. "Long Island wineries produce some of the best wine in the world and the natural beauty of the region serves as a wonderful backdrop that attracts tourists from across New York and around the globe. I'm proud to sign this legislation into law because it will help us better promote Long Island and the world-class wineries the region has to offer."

The governor was joined by state and local officials and representatives of the Long Island wine industry at the bill signing ceremony at Cornell University's Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead.

Assemblywoman Patricia Acampora, who represents the district, was pleased with the new designation. She said it will help preserve open space for the East End of Long Island.

"This has been in the works for quite some time to ensure that the Long Island Wine region is recognized by designating the North Fork Wine Trail and the Hampton Wine Trail as the Long Island Wine Region," she said. "The wineries are a vital part of our local economy and continue to provide open landscapes to help keep the East End green."

The new Long Island Wine Region includes 60 vineyards with more than 3,000 planted acres, which produces more than 500,000 cases of wine annually.

According to the Long Island Wine Council, the region's wine industry produces almost $65 million in gross annual sales, generates $3.5 million in annual sales tax revenues and employs approximately 4,000 people. Almost a half million people visit wineries on Long Island every year.

The number of visitors to New York wineries has increased 50 percent since 1997. New York wineries host around three million visitors annually at the state's four main wine producing regions: the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley, the Lake Erie region, and Long Island.

New York has nearly 200 wineries and ranks third overall in grape and wine production behind California and Washington.

Recognition for New York wines is just taking off. A 2002 Riesling from Heron Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes was voted Best of Show White Wine at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which included over 3,800 wines from around the world. New York wineries received a total of 155 medals, including eight double golds, and 19 golds, at the Florida State Fair International Wine Competition in February.

State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Rudgers said, "Recognition for New York wines is growing all the time, and Long Island wines are a big part of this growth. With such a large population so close to eastern Suffolk County - the state's leading agricultural county in terms of value - it is important for us to showcase the wonderful products grown on Long Island to its many visitors. The new Long Island Wine Region will help include the region's great wines with the many tourism opportunities on the East End."

More information on the Long Island Wine Region and the wine trails, including a map, is available on the Long Island Wine Council's website: www.liwines.com. The New York Wine and Grape Foundation is at: www.nywine.com


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