Cornell AgriTech and the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture have announced the 12 finalists for the New York Concord Grape Innovation Award, a first-of-its-kind business competition aimed at stimulating innovation and development of new products and markets for one of New York’s largest and most historic grape industries.
Funded by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and organized and hosted by Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, the competition will award more than $100,000 in cash prizes and packages of support from Cornell experts.
The finalists are split into two categories: best new Concord grape beverage and best new Concord grape-based product.
The six Best New Concord Grape-Based Product finalists:
- The Center for Discovery, Harris, N.Y.
- Stilbene, Inc., Geneva, N.Y.
- Annie’s Ginger Elixir, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Fittnell Farms, Newfield, N.Y.
- Chia Smash, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- ODR Foods, Geneva, N.Y.
The six Best New Concord Grape Beverage finalists:
- Pleasant Valley Wine Company, Hammondsport, N.Y.
- Wild Arc Farm, Pine Bush, N.Y.
- Westfield Maid Cooperative, Portland, N.Y.
- Blackduck Cidery, Ovid, N.Y.
- Naturao/Ramborne LLC, Warners, N.Y.
- Knapp Farm, Lowman, N.Y.
The 12 finalists will compete at a live judging summit on Dec. 9 at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, where prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category:
- 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
The proposals will be judged on market readiness, innovative approach, economic impact on the Concord grape industry, potential for expanded utilization of Concord grapes and percentage of Concord grape in the product. In addition to the prize packages, winning products will also be featured at Taste NY welcome centers and markets across the state.
The idea for the competition grew from the 2018 New York State Concord Grape Summit, held at the Grape Discovery Center in Chautauqua County, to bolster the industry, which has suffered from low prices and consumer demand, labor shortage and increasing production costs in recent years.
Concord grapes make up around 80% of the total tonnage of all grapes grown in the state, with the greatest concentration of production being in the Lake Erie region. Statewide, around 121,000 tons of Concord grapes are grown annually on some 30,000 acres of vineyards.
For more information, visit cals.cornell.edu/concord-grape-award.
Jacob Pucci is the marketing and communications coordinator for the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.
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