Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Viticulture and Enology

Aravelle, a new grape variety developed by Dr. Bruce Reisch of Cornell AgriTech, is set to make its way into wine glasses across New York, after decades of meticulous research.

In this installment of the 'Extension Out Loud' podcast by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), Dr. Reisch, CCE Viticulture Specialist Hans Walter-Peterson, and Louis and Donna Gridley of Gridley Farms delve into the journey of Aravelle—from a single seed to a market-ready variety that's uniquely suited to cultivation in the Finger Lakes.

“There was a lot of very careful, methodical collection of information, of observations and vineyards, starting with a single seedling vine,” says Reisch. The historical data is crucial for growers to decide whether to take a risk with a new variety. “At what point do they have confidence in growing a new variety? If I were to say I have a seedling. And I had two years of fruiting data on one vine in one location. I'm guessing that's not enough information.”

Luckily, growers don't make this decision in isolation. While Cornell scientists like Reisch spend years observing trials in the lab and vineyards, viticulture specialists like Hans Walter-Peterson step in to communicate that research to growers and act as a liaison between researchers and the industry.

"Part of what I do in extension is acting as a bridge between the growers and the faculty and researchers here at Cornell. So, when there's a new variety that's being released, in this particular example, we start talking to growers about it," says Walter-Peterson. “Then they can make an informed decision about is this something that [they] also want to try.”

Paul: Welcome to Extension Out Loud, a podcast from Cornell Cooperative Extension. I'm your host, Paul Treadwell.

Aravelle is a new grape variety developed by Dr. Bruce Reisch of Cornell Agri Tech. This Resiling Cayuga White cross has some unique features that address specific challenges faced by growers here in NY State.

For this episode of Extension Out Loud I sat down with Dr. Reisch, Hans Walter Peterson – viticulture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Louis and Donna Gridley of Gridley Vineyards to talk about the potential of Aravelle and the process of developing and bringing a new varietal to market.

Paul: If, if you all could introduce yourself and why don't we start with you, Bruce, and we'll go to Hans. And

Bruce: I'm Bruce Reich. I'm a professor of Grapevine breeding and genetics at Cornell for almost 43 years, working on development of primarily wine grapes with some work on table grapes as well.

Hans: I'm Hans Walter Peterson.

I'm the viticulture extension specialist here in the Finger Lakes region for Cornell. Uh, I've been here for about 16 years and spent time out in the. Western part of the state in the Concord Belt of Lake Erie for about six years before that. So worked for about almost 10 years now with, with previously New York 81 and now Aravelle.

Louis: I'm Louis Gridley, a grape grower for about 45 years. Retired a couple years ago, but we've experience with the 80 ones and it's worked out well.

Paul: Thank you.

Donna: And I'm Donna Gridley. The other half of Gridley Vineyards are located on Bluff Point, New York.

Paul: And . What lake is that on?

Donna: Keuka Lake.

Well, thanks to everybody for joining us today for our conversation and the thing that's brought us together today is there is a, a new grape variety called Aravelle. And I'm wondering, Bruce, could you tell us what makes Aravelle special?

Bruce: Well, in a nutshell, Aravelle L grows really well in the Finger Lakes area. It's quite productive.

We knew for a long time that the wine quality was excellent, very similar to its Riesling parent, but what we learned later in the testing process through feedback from growers and folks in the industry was that it's much more rot resistant than Riesling. So where with Riesling, you might have to harvest a little bit early.

As rot is picking up and, starting to destroy some of your fruit with Aravelle, you can let it ripen more fully. You don't have to rush to harvest.

Paul: Hmm. So I'm just curious, you mentioned rot. What causes rot?

Bruce: Well, rot could be caused by a variety of things. There's a fungus. Botrytis if it's Botrytis alone, it's okay, it can make some really good wines with only botrytis, but quite often other organisms get in there, you can get sour rot, which basically turns the grapes to vinegar on the vine, very undesirable. Birds, bees can peck holes in the fruit and or feed where there's cracking in the fruit, and it could be a really undesirable situation.

Paul: Aravelle was 42 years in the making. Is this typical for bringing a new variety to market? Does it usually take 42 years? And if not, why was there such an extended timeframe for this one?

Bruce: 42 would be sort of an upper limit. I, I think there are a couple of examples of varieties that have taken longer to go. From the time a cross was made to the time of release.

And first of all, I, I think it's important we'll get the perspective from the Gridleys too about at what point do they have confidence in growing a new variety. If I were to say I have a seedling. And I had two years of fruiting data on one vine in one location. I'm guessing that's not enough information for you, but then I have six vines in one location.

That's still probably not enough for you. Even if I had three years of six vines, that's not very much. But if I have 10 years of data in five locations, And maybe each location has 50 vines, then I think we have much more information to go on, especially if we have information from different climates, different locations, different soil types, and every growing season's a little different.

So that's one thing that lengthens the entire process. The other thing with Aravelle was we got 15 or more years down the road and we were losing interest in the variety. It, it was a little bit more winter hardy than Riesling, but it, it wasn't dramatically more hardy. We weren't seeing big advantages over Riesling.

We knew there was very good wine that could be produced from it. But was the growers and people in the industry. I also remember Rick Dunst telling me one year that, you know, this is so much more rot resistant than Riesling. It could be thought of as an alternative to Riesling, where you don't have to deal with the issues of fruit rot.

Paul: Hmm. So I wanna talk to the Gridleys for a quick moment here. Since you did mention there were these plots that were trialed out. What were you growing previously to adopting Arevelle?

Louis: Well we were growing Riesling also, but as Bruce said, botrytis would move in or anything else. Once it got started, there was no stopping and, and it wasn't so bad, but you couldn't let 'em hang too long.

I mean, he'd just run out of time. You'd have to pick 'em cuz things were getting too bad. And I looked at this variety and it's Riesling Keuka white cross. There's a looser bunch, so did away with a botrytis. The thing I found is the canes would hang. They would break real easy when they were young with the wind.

I put it on a mid wire cordon with catch wires, which hung the fruit out in one area so the sun could get to it and you could spray 'em, and you could let 'em hang for a lot longer. Botrytis was not a problem.

Donna: So what I, what I wanna explain, he touched on it, was that, as Bruce mentioned, those 50 Vine trials, well we had one of those 50 Vine trials, and because we were old, native grape growers used to putting things on a umbrella system.

You know, could you teach an old dog new tricks? Well, we did with Rieslings. In a hurry. And so after the Rieslings, you know, and we did, like he said, the 80 ones were, you know, when we did the umbrella and the canes would go, the wind they were on a location was pretty windy and the winds would whip the canes and they'd break.

Really, they were quite tender. But once we decided that instead of the Cayuga white system, they needed to be a Riesling, sort of trellis system, that it was much better. For the fruit and everything.

Paul: So that's interesting. It does bring up a question though. So Bruce, you're here in the lab and you're making these crosses.

You're growing 'em out. How does that information seep out to a grower who may want to say, well, we'd like to trial this. What's the process that happens?

Donna: The middle man.

Paul: The middle man. So in this case, we can talk about middle man and we can be fairly. Well disposed towards the middle man. So Hans, do you want to jump in as the middle guy?

Hans: So, so in this particular case, the Ridleys had the vines before I came to the Finger Lakes.

Donna: Not very long.

Hans: Not very long. But part of what I do in extension, I'm a bridge between the growers and the. Faculty and researchers here at Cornell. And so when there is a new variety that's being released in this particular example, you know, start talking to growers about it.

We've had this variety in our small research vineyard up for about 10 years so that we can give some information to the growers about our experience with it, along with the breeding programs experience. And then they can make an informed decision about is this something that we also want to try?

In extension, we have those relationships with the industry. So we're like, oh, I think the Gridleys might be somebody who would be interested in a variety like this.

Donna: And that usually came through, the spring spray meeting and you know, Greg Lelo would come and speak about bugs or diseases or , whatever.

And then quite often Bruce would get invited and he would come and talk about new varieties. So it was, just this big circle.

Paul: How do you identify desirable traits in a grape variety for New York State? How much trial and error do you have to go through Bruce before you say, aha, this is, gonna be it?

Bruce: Well, forty the years ago, there was a lot of trial and error. Mm-hmm. There was a lot of very careful, methodical collection of information, of observations and vineyards, starting with a single seedling vine. Then with six vines propagated from that single seedling vine. And then with trials with other universities and gathering information from grower cooperators, gathering whatever input feeds back to me from Cooperative extension from Hans and others , in Extension.

But forty years ago, you know, that's a long time ago. And yes, we still do a lot of vineyard observation because the buck stops there. Mm-hmm. It's gotta do well in the vineyard. But nowadays we also have a lot of genetic technology, a lot more science that we can apply to the entire process. So every seedling coming through the program in the last 10 years is now screened for presence of certain genes for disease resistance.

Mm-hmm. Presence for genes that affect the flower type. Grape flowers have to have both pollen production as well as fruit production. So they have to be what we call perfect flowers of. Male and female parts together, wild Vines are either male vines or female vines. So we can test that. Test for the presence of those genes, the right genes for the flower type.

We can also test for in red wines whether the pigments are acylated or not. Whether the variety is a muscat or not. There's a range of genes for powdery and downy mildew resistance. Mm-hmm. And we are routinely testing for disease resistance before a vine is even planted. To the nursery or to the vineyard.

We're eliminating 50 to 80% at this point, so we're planting out a pretty elite group. What we don't have is the ability to pre-select for cold tolerance. We're still trying to understand the trait. It's probably controlled by a large number of genes. Genes that affect acclimation in the fall, mid-winter hardiness.

When it get, can get the very coldest in the winter and the rate of declamation and especially we'd like to have varieties that have late bud break. So we're, we're trying to understand the genetics of those different stages and what genes might affect them. So we still don't have DNA tests to help us pre-select the types that would have deep, mid-winter hardiness and late bud break.

Hmm. So that's still part of the field trial.

Paul: So back in the old days, the days of yore, when winemakers didn't have any technology, would a grower look at their vines and say, well, this is really good for. Cold hardiness, and this is really good for flavor. And would they then in the field just try to make those crosses?

Bruce: I don't, I don't think growers were typically making crosses.

Paul: Okay.

Bruce: In the 18 hundreds there, there were some certain growers like ES Rogers or. TV Munson that were growers and researchers at the same time trying to understand grapes, understand the the American species, and they were making their own hybrids.

Going further back in history, we don't know how Cabernet Sauvignon arose, but somebody found a seedling in Bordeaux and now we know that it's a progeny of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. But I don't think that was from a, a cross that somebody made on purpose. It might have been a chance hybridization because Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc were both grown in the Bourdeaux region.

Somebody found Cabernet Sauvignon. .

There are certain kinds of varieties that growers are responsible for. Even in recent days there was a red wine grape released by the University of Minnesota. They called Frontenac and pretty quickly after release some growers, I believe it was with growers.

They noticed a gray frontenac gris mutation a sport, and that was named Frontenac gris. And then there was a Frontenac Blanc. A real white fruited sport, and this would be obvious in the vineyard, you would notice, a change in the fruit color, and you'd propagate just from the part of the vine that had that change in fruit color.

Paul: That does bring up sort of a, a question that's gonna be on the side over this conversation, but for you guys as growers, when Hans comes and says, Hey, Bruce has this new variety, and it's spectacular. Mm-hmm. How do you decide. To make the jump to start planning that and growing it out, it, what is the process you go through when you're starting to evaluate these things?

Louis: for me, I was trying to get away from the old Labrusca and diversify more and, and get into some wine grapes. The reason things are hard to grow and a bad year when Mother of Nature decides to rain and a lot, especially in the fall, oh, it no matter you have difference what kind of products you buy to spray on them.

Once something gets started, it's, you're pretty much bound to pick it or lose it. But if you go with, oh, the 80 ones with a looser bunch, they just are a lot more forgiving. You can get your material in there to help hold back the botrytis or Downey mildew or whatever it is, and it's, more air circulation out there.

You could pull a few leaves. It's a lot easy to control, makes a nice wine, wine maker's a lot happier.

Donna: And that's the grower side of it. And the finance side of it is that, you know, Labruscas, you, we were, I mean, for 30, 40 years, I mean we were only getting about $250 a ton for a ton of Concords and Rieslings to a good winery you might.

Get $1,500 if you were lucky. And of course, Hans was very good all the time about making a table for grape values every year. So when the prices came out in August, gears could start turning and think, Ooh, you gotta do this much work anyways. Maybe you could make. And the 80 ones came in, in the middle of that spectrum.

And so for the labor and the cost of production, you might have a little more in your pocket at the end of the day.

Paul:  can I jump in with my naive wine question here? I, I enjoy wine on occasion, but I am in no way, shape, or form a connoisseur. So in the instance of Aravelle, Is it sweet or dry? Or can it be both sweet or dry?

Is it possible to, for a grape to be a spectrum of things, depending on how you treat it and grow?

Bruce: It's entirely up to the wine maker. All of the above.

Hans: Yeah.

Paul: Okay. So, so it's a spectrum. So you start with what comes out of the research lab, and when it comes onto your land, you can decide, we're gonna grow it this way because we want a sweeter wine.

Donna: Oh no,  this, the sun has a lot to do with that. Okay? Mm-hmm. Yep. And how long you let it hang?

Louis: The winemakers, visit the vineyard in the fall and keep track of just how sweet it is, if there's any problems, whatever, and they advise us from there.

Bruce: Okay. The winemaker can also stop the fermentation early. If they choose, they can leave some residual sugar, some natural sugar still in the wine.

They can manipulate the style. They can use a yeast that might enhance the, the fragrance of the wine or another yeast strain might make a wine seem a little bit more neutral, muted, delicate. So, so lots of manipulations can be done by the winemaker

Paul: . So Bruce, really what you're doing is , you're building a platform for winemakers to then sort of express themselves and develop nuance too.

Is that correct? Is that one way of thinking of it, or?

Bruce: I,

I think at the time a new variety is named and released. It doesn't mean we know everything about it. There's still a lot of experimentation that can be done to further optimize how it's grown in the vineyard and how it's fermented into wine.

There's so many variables.

Hans: It's one of the things that has made Riesling such a wonderful variety for this region where we can have very cool growing seasons where we don't get nearly kind of the sugar and the ripening we might ideally want, and others where we get plenty of that, if not more than maybe we want in some cases.

But Riesling can make very wonderful, delicious styles of wine all across that spectrum and with Riesling as one of its parents. I suspect Aravelle is kind of along those same lines. If we have to pick it a little bit earlier or if it just doesn't quite get as much ripeness, it can still make a very nice wine that maybe has a little more acidity, so you might add a little more sugar to it.

Just to balance that out. If it can hang longer, like Louis was saying earlier, just because it, it can, it might mean there's a little bit less acid in the fruit when it comes in, and so you don't need to add sugar because it tastes balanced already. That's a different style of wine potentially, and so there's all sorts of things.

In between that you can do with that. Kind of similar to, to Riesling. I, I believe that that's probably the case for this variety.

Paul: Well, I appreciate the short education cause you know, so a couple times through the conversation we've mentioned 80 ones. 80 ones have become Aravelle.

Donna: Yes. And and that's us because we, it's like, can I say it?17. I don't even know what the, it's Geneva red, but they'll always.

Hans: Right.

Donna: You know, they're always gonna be

Hans: g there's seven, there's always, there's always short hands for different things. So,

Paul: but I just,

just for anybody who, yes, you've gotta clarify this.. The 80 ones are, the, the new grape that we're talking about that Bruce is, is going out in glory on.

Bruce: Well, this, uh, so dessert. Yep. This to me, it's 8 81 0.031 5.17.

Donna: Yeah. And that's how we would say it to, somebody would ask us, well, what grape is that? And we would go 81, da da da da. 17

Paul: in, in 45 years. There's probably a lot that happened that generated those dot one iterations right

Bruce: at the time. The cross is made in 1981.

Mm-hmm. It was cross number three 15, or at least the 15th cross in the 300 series, the 15th cross that was made that year, and it was seedling number 17 that was selected for propagation. , it's unusual to select 15 or even 20. , we had up to, I think 21. 21 seedlings from that cross that were selected for propagation and further testing.

But this was the one that went on the furthest that always did so well in both the vineyard and in the wine testing.

Paul: You've got these 20 possible variants and you picked this one to grow out. So where is that happening, and for how many years does it happen before you decide? This is potentially a good variety that we have here.

Bruce: All of this takes place here in our research vineyards at the, at Cornell Agritech. Mm-hmm. At the time, it was New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. We had something over a hundred seedlings in this cross that were planted out, and 21 were propagated. That's unusual. Or at least 21 were tested for wine.

But we assign numbers to about 21 of them. It takes three or four years after you make the cross before you can see fruit. So maybe by year four or five. We still have single vines, but we might have enough fruit to make a real small fermentation enough to to taste test some of these wines. So this is happening years 4, 5, 6.

Maybe by year 7, 8, 9, we're making a decision which ones to propagate and plant to six vines each. That takes another few years to get those six vine plantings, fruiting again, and to test and, and observe more carefully.

Paul: So, Bruce, you mentioned seedlings, grapes have flowers, and then they produce seeds. So you here in in research are looking to produce seeds and then you have to grow those seeds out once for three years and then maybe you'll grow six more.

At the end of that process you have the 81 or Aravelle. So you have one plant that is. The one, how do you make more of that one?

Bruce: So we, we initially grow a single seedling of, you know, from each seed uhhuh. It's only, it's in less than 10 years later, we decide whether to propagate and put out for further trials, and that's when we take cuttings, root them directly in soil and make entirely new plants.

But they're genetically identical to that or single original seedling. And this is what happens when the vine goes to a nursery. A nursery will propagate, whether it's Concord or Saval or n y 81 aravelle a nursery will take cuttings, either graft onto a rootstock and where the tops are still genetically identical to the original seedling, or they'll root the cuttings directly.

So it's, it's a process where you're just creating clones of that original seedling.

Paul: So just to wrap my small mind around this concept here, is every Riesling traceable back to one original Riesling, to one single seedling?

Bruce: Yes. And then there might have been some mutations or clones that have developed, but if you were to test the genetic signatures, the DNA sequence of, of Riesling around the world, They would be, you know, probably 99.9% identical.

There might be some chance mutations that have occurred over time here and there, but yeah.

Donna: And then just to confuse the issue, of course, should somebody stick it on a different root stock affects the way it all grows. So there are several root stocks that they stick those lings on, propagate 'em on, and then we get all sorts of exciting things.

Paul:  So the Reisling might be genetically identical?

Bruce: Yes. But it's influenced in its growth and, and its response to the environment by the root stock. Yep.

Donna: So depending on your soil, people look for certain root stocks because they know from all the experimenting that certain root stocks grow better than other soils than others. So it's all a big circle here, you know,

Bruce: still so,

Paul: Bruce, when you're, when you're thinking about developing these crosses, do you think about the root stock for this particular variety Does really well in soil that is, X, Y, or Z, but the actual plant, it's a what, what, what would we call the, the part we're gonna graft onto the, the rootstock.

What do we The scion. The scion. Thank you. There we go. So the scion is, is a really strong performer. It can hold up in the winter. So can you graft that particular trait for growing in that type of soil with a scion that is a good producer to create a new thing. Did that question make any sense?

I'm just curious cuz I'm, I'm trying to wrap my head around this.

Bruce: So I think you're not, when you're grafting, you're not really creating something new, but you're alter altering the way the variety might grow. The way, the way it's adapted to a particular site. Most the, the most important reason why a SC is grafted onto a Woodstock is for resistance to phra a soil insect uhhuh that is found now around the world, but originated in North America.

So our native species are resistant to phylloxera, but when phylloxera made its way to Europe, In the 19th century, it decimated vineyards throughout Europe, so that necessitated the European viticulture to have to graft onto rootstocks that were derived from North American species. So this is the major reason, but other factors come into play for, for why you might or might not graft such as adaptation to certain soil types or adaptation to high pH soils or adaptation resistance to nematode species.


Donna: just when you thought you had it all figured out.

Bruce: Yeah.

Paul: But it is fascinating to, especially if you think about, so there is. The Riesling mother plant. Mm-hmm. And somebody took a, a clone from that mm-hmm. And sailed across the ocean and brought it here and stuck it in the ground. Mm-hmm. And suddenly now it's propagated across the, well in our, in the finger wakes region.

Mm-hmm. It's propagated across there. But it's all traceable back to that original thing. Mm-hmm. And it's this journey and it's, yep.

Bruce: Yeah, it's so, like we have, the original Niagara Vine was in Lockport, New York, and it, it existed there for many, many years and eventually it died, but they replanted some, some vines right in the same spot by the Oddfellows home.

Who knows exactly where the original re Riesling Vine was grown. But didn't Riesling just celebrate? It's like 600 hundred hundredth anniversary. I think it, I think

Hans: Germany, the first documented Germany, where it is first found in writing was in the 14 hundreds or something like that in Germany.

That's so it probably existed before then, but that's the first documentation we've had. We have of it that, yeah.

Paul: It's just, I mean, it's just mm-hmm. The world is endlessly fascinating. I mean, and, and it's just, it's just, it's, but like

Hans: Bruce was saying, , the Frontenac, and it's the same story with Pinot Noir that Frontenac, literally a grower was walking through and said that fruit isn't the same color as everything else.

I'm gonna take this wisely. Took it and took it out and found out that that color change wasn't just, there was something wrong with that shoot. The genetics had changed in that. And so now you take that one shoot, grow it out, like Bruce is talking about, it produces a whole bunch of vines now with that gray colored fruit instead of the red colored fruit.

And so it just takes, it just takes that one observation to see it. And so Pinot Noir and Pinot Gre and Pinot Blanc came about the same way. Somebody saw that color change and preserved it.

Paul: That's, that's amazing. So, I, I'm, go ahead. I'm

Donna: sorry. And the only other thing I wanted to add was that, you know, you, you talk about the Riesling side of the 81 and we need to talk about the Cayuga.

Mm-hmm. The white side of the 81, because this gentleman on the other side of the table also developed that grape.

Paul: So it, it does bring up the question though, Bruce, how many varieties have you. What do we say fathered? Is that the proper term?

Bruce: I've been pretty fertile, if you like that way. Released . First of all, it's a collaboration, right? I have lots of cooperators along the way, and because it takes so long to develop new grape varieties, quite often one breather makes the cross, another one comes along and finishes up the work and decides to name and release it.

So I was involved with the release of Remally Seedless in 1981. That was the first one I had very little to do with it, except to put my name on the release announcement and publication. But my predecessor, Bob Poole, had decided to name and release this table grape. The subsequent releases like Melody, Traminette, Horizon, Chardonel, there were 15 all together, including Aravelle

Aravelle was from a cross I made our same with Arandel. Aromella was from a cross that just began to fruit when, when I arrived. Mm-hmm. So the cross was made probably by Bob Poole, 1976 and that, so that turned into Aela. Chardonelle was made to probably by John Einset and we, we decided to name it was GW nine. You knew it as GW nine s, right?

GW nine. We were hearing great things about it from Justin Morris, a researcher in Arkansas, and Stan Howell, a researcher in Michigan. They said, this has great possibilities for us. Please name it so we can commercialize it. And, and we did that. So,

Donna: and, and just to go another step farther, so here we are. We sort of retiring from our day jobs to farming and we had an opportunity to buy 31 acres of grapes and it had, uh, how many acres of catawbas?

20 some. Yeah. Cata 21 of Catawbas in six acres of Concords. And the first thing that happened was Cannadaigua wine cut our contract. By a hundred tons of catawbas and you're thinking, wow, God, how are we gonna pay for this anyways? So being young and crazy that we were, we just started tearing out Catawbas to put another variety in that might sell, and thank God for Cornell.

And so Cayuga White was the first one because we wanted to put something white in and we had some. More space and the next one we put in was Noray came from Cornell and the next one we put in was Aramella and so on and so forth. But it was a lot of work because you know that vineyard I can remember getting.

A sprayer stuck in a divot because you know of wet spots and things. So we, worked the soil and tiled every third row before we planted and, you know,

Louis: tried to get the lime on there to re bring the ph up so you could grow something. And

Donna: then, and then, you know, you start tearing out grapes like that.

You've got no production Yeah. In those years. Plus you're gonna wait three or four years. For that new variety to get up and going. But it all worked out. It was wonderful.

Paul: That does raise a question for me. So when you plant one of the clones, you take the plant and you plant there, you have to wait three or four years for it to produce.

What's the effect of producing life of, of a grapevine? Like do they last for 10 years? A hundred years?

Louis: They'll go a long time. I think.

Donna: Of course, the old natives, I mean, he's, there's on that farm, those, the Concords that were on that block were put in in like 1925

Hans: or something. 29. Yeah.

Louis: Something like, seriously.

Oh yeah. Someone tell me his grandfather had planted it. Mm-hmm.

Hans: They're, they're a century vineyards. Yeah. In New York. Yep. Yeah. Really? Yep. Yep. I had no idea. Yeah. Might not be the exact same trunks that are there, but it's the root, the root system is, They're surviving, productive. There's,

Louis: you keep replacing if you will lose a vine so sooner you can get it back in there, you layer in another v by a root and planet to keep your production up.

Yeah. And it's an ongoing process,

Hans: but, but there's, yeah, there's, there's a lot of very old vineyards in there.

Paul: See, I would've said  30 years maybe on the outside,

Hans:  in a modern vineyard for something that's not Labrusca, not like a Concord or Niagara Catawba. Those vineyards tend to be about 25 to 30 years, and then there's enough deterioration over time, replant, or it's been replanted ultimately over over the years.

Paul: Or you've got guys out there developing new varieties, right? That look even better. I wanna say that in my lifetime, grapes in New York became a thing, but prior to, let's say half a century ago, it wasn't a thing here in Finger Lakes. How long has great production existed here in the Finger Lakes?

Hans: 200 years. Seriously. First grapes were planted down to Hammond Sport in 18 26, 27, something like that. New York grapes has been a thing for a long time. Actually, the modern New York grape and wine industry is young. Okay. Relatively young. So from the 1820s through the 1970s or so, it was mostly a. Concord Catawba types and some hybrid, older hybrid grapes going to very large processors.

Mm-hmm. Big wineries. So Canada, Deua Wine Company, great Western Gold Seal, some of those, these big production. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Uh, all of those kind of fell by the wayside except for Canada. Deua Wine Company, which is, was Constellation. Now, Ian j Gallo, that's the one that's left standing. All the rest of them, the, the, there's 450 some wineries now in New York.

Mm-hmm. The vast, vast majority of them are small, family owned places have been around for 25 years or less. Mm-hmm. The vast majority of them. So from 1976 when the Farm Winery Act was passed until about 2000. There's this very slow increase mm-hmm. In people. So people like some of the families that have been growing around here, like the stamps down at Lakewood and the Hunts at Hunt country were grape growers for many years and finally started their own winery just so they could make some more money.

They started doing so well in around late nineties, 2000. All of a sudden you see the numbers just go take off like a rocket, and until the past, probably five years or so, it started to level off. Okay. But. Yeah. It's, so the, the, the New York industry we know now Yes. Has, has kind of come on

Bruce: lately in 1980, the year I, I started the Cornell, I, I remember the count of wineries 35 in New York state.

Yep. A bunch of them in the Hudson Valley. Mm-hmm. Almost nothing on Long Island. I think just Hargraves at that point. And they were the source of the pollen, by the way, for Ave. I went to Long Island to get Riesling pollen, the 35, but, and now the count is about 500, 4

Hans: 50, 500, somewhere around there. Statewide. Depends on how you count em. Statewide. Yep. Yeah, it's amazing. Yeah.

Paul:Thank you for listening to this episode. Extension Out Loud was produced and edited by Paul Treadwell. For more information about this episode, including show notes and the transcript, visit And be sure to subscribe to Extension Out Loud on your favorite podcast directory.


Subscribe to "Extension Out Loud"

Related Episodes

workshop participants in an apple orchard



What trends are we seeing in Extension work nationally and how are state Extension systems rising to meet needs highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Dr. Caroline Crocoll Henney, executive director of the national Cooperative Extension System, joins the Extension Out Loud podcast to discuss these questions and the history of the Cooperative Extension System in the latest episode of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Leading through Extension” podcast series.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
Kimberly Kopko



In the early days of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, Extension educators traveled around the state in demonstration trains to engage directly with families, especially farm wives, in their homes. Today, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associate Director Kimberly Kopko is reimagining ways to meet families where they are with more portable parenting models that bring learning opportunities to spaces where families already get together, including schools, community and health centers, and, when necessary, online.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension