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New York State wineries count closing in on the 400 level

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New York State conceivably could have 400 licensed wineries by the end of the year. There are 363 at the moment, with 55 of the state's 62 counties home to wineries or their branch operations.

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were more than 400 wineries by the end of this year," Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYSW&GF), said today. "And, it wasn't so long ago that we were wondering when we might reach 100."

For wineries, retailers, artisans and other businesses interested in obtaining richly layered information on the burgeoning industry, I recommend the online Vineyard Site Evaluation program. It is a joint effort of the NYSW&GF, Cornell University in Ithaca, and the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology in Auburn. It allows visitors to conduct precise, satellite-based searches of the state in terms of where it is best to grow grapes, where it is riskier or foolhardy.

"You can drill down into a region and ultimately a specific plot of land and get decades-long temperature readings, soil information, the slope of the land, proximity to water, and much more," Trezise says. "It is a great and incredibly convenient prelude to then actually visiting the site and consulting with Cornell Cooperative Extension experts."

Since 2009, the growth in the number of unique visitors and visits has increased steadily. However, last summer and fall they hit record levels with about 700 unique visitors and more than 900 visits, including people from more than 15 countries. Those numbers are expected to be exceeded this year.

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