The New York Concord Grape Innovation Award is a competition focused on a traditional crop with more than 200 years of history in New York and stimulating the innovation needed for the development of new products and markets for this important commodity.

Innovation awards, totaling over $100,000 in cash prizes and packages of expert support, will be given to companies or organizations that develop innovative concord grape-based products that substantially increase demand and utilization of New York-grown concord grapes.

The competition is organized by the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.

Concord is New York’s most widely grown grape...

New York is the second-largest Concord grape producer in the United States...

The grape juice industry generates...

Competition Details

Given by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

Concord Grapes are a traditional crop of New York, being responsible for an important share of the economic activities in several regions of the State, which harbors the largest and oldest home for Concord grape growing in the world, the Lake Erie region. Concord grapes make up to 80 percent of the total tonnage of all grapes produced in New York. In its 200+ year history, the Concord industry has survived its share of challenges. As the NY State government continues its effort to promote the growth of the grape industry, the Concord Grape Innovation Award aims to stimulate the innovative thinking needed for the development of new products and markets for this important commodity.

The innovation award will be given to companies or organizations that develop innovative Concord grape-based products that substantially increase demand and utilization of Concord grapes produced in New York State.

  • June 1:  Competition opens
  •  Aug. 1:  Deadline for submission of preliminary concepts
  • Aug. 19:  Semi-finalists announced for each category
  • Oct. 17:  Deadline for submission of full proposals
  • Nov. 15: Finalists announced
  • Dec. 9:  Finalists compete and winners selected in judging event at Cornell AgriTech campus in Geneva, New York.

The awards consist of Trophies, Cash Prizes, and Packages of Expert Support to be provided by Cornell University. The Package of Expert Support will include services, training and assistance provided by the Cornell Food Venture Center, the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University and the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park. The Cash Prizes will be used by the winners to help bring new products to market. The three winning products in each category will also be featured at Taste NY Welcome Centers and Markets. Other marketing opportunities might be available such as

Innovation Awards will be given in 2022, by category:

  • Best New Concord Grape Beverage
  • Best New Concord Grape Based Product

For each category, awards will be given to first, second and third places, according to the decision of a judging panel comprised of representatives of industry, government and academia.  The awards will be allocated as follows:

  • First Prize: $20,000 + Package of Expert Support valued at $8,000
  • Second Prize: $10,000 + Package of Expert Support valued at $5,000
  • Third Prize: $5,000 + Package of Expert Support valued at $3,500

Cornell’s Package of Expert Support Options

  • Specialized trainings in food safety and technology
  • Expert consultation – food processing, packaging, safety, marketing
  • Pilot plant usage
  • Product commercialization support
  • Laboratory services

Package of Expert Support prizes cannot be converted into currency and must be redeemed as services provided exclusively by the programs listed by June 30 of 2023.

The Innovation Award is open to established New York businesses - food processors, producers, entrepreneurs – who have been in business for at least 1 year as per January 1, 2022.  Individuals with new ideas may partner with an established business to participate in the competition.

Intellectual Property: if warranted, proper controls will be followed to protect patentable discoveries and trade secrets.

The award selection process consists of 3 phases:


Phase 1: Submission of a preliminary concept describing the proposed new product and the potential impact it will have on increasing the demand for Concord grapes/concentrate. 

The short proposal (1 page) must be submitted by Aug. 1 via the form on the competition webpage, hosted by the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture.


Best preliminary concepts per category will be selected and announced on August 19, 2022.


Phase 2: Submission of a full proposal (max of 10 pages, same submission information as phase 1) containing specific information related to the new product: product description, intended use, list of ingredients including % of Concord grape/concentrate, process description with process flow diagram, market potential and proposed implementation plan, price/cost evaluation, and SWOT Business Analysis (Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Submission of a prototype is encouraged but not required. Dateline for submission is October 17, 2022.


Phase 3: Up to six finalists per category will be announced on November 15, 2022. Finalists will be invited to present their proposals in person at the event on December 9, 2022. Each finalist will have 5 min to present and demonstrate his/her product followed by 5 min of questions by the judges. Jury will be comprised of representatives of NYSDAM, Cornell Food Venture Center, grape industry, NY Wine and Grape Foundation, Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture and so forth. Winners will be selected at the end of the competition and trophies and prizes awarded.

The proposals will be evaluated based on the following considerations:

  • Percentage of Concord grape in the product – minimum of 30%
  • Innovative approach
  • Potential for expanded utilization of Concord grapes
  • Economic impact to the Concord grape industry
  • Market readiness