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Finger Lakes wineries growing reputation

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Finger Lakes wineries growing reputation
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It's no surprise Upstate New York is known for its wineries statewide, but now they have received a new level of recognition. One of the top wine guide magazines did a full analysis of about 50 Finger Lakes wineries. As YNN's Katie Husband explains, this is a huge step for the region, but there's still work that needs to be done.

NEW YORK STATE -- Finger Lakes wineries aren't just growing vines. They're growing in reputation. And this time, not just across the nation but internationally.

"A long time ago, you wouldn't see a New York wine in the Wine Spectator, it was very rare, but now the Finger Lakes has grown as a region and grown in quality," said Chris Stamp, Lakewood Vineyards, president and winemaker.

For the first time the well-known magazine, Wine Spectator has featured a complete tasting and analysis of wines from about 50 Finger Lakes wineries. More than three-quarters of the wines tasted received a score in the mid to high 80's.

"It's not an easy system. It's out of 100 and these are people who know their wines in so many areas, these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to tasting and knowing wines, so this is not an easy thing," said Brad Phillips, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, director of marketing.

Vineyard managers say the international attention reflects the way winemakers have adapted to the unique climate in this area.

"Winemakers, back to the vineyard management teams, that have really embraced what the Finger Lakes is about as far as a growing region and we're making wines that now define us instead of making wines that try to emulate others," said Phillips.

And now that the Finger Lakes region name is out there worldwide, the author suggests there's still work that needs to be done.

"James Molesworth has summed it up several times and said, 'I think there's better quality coming.' So he kind of pushed us to say, 'yeah, I know you guys are making really nice wines, but I think, I think there's another level you can get to," said John Wagner, Wagner Vineyards, owner and general manager.

Trying to reach that next level happens out in the vineyards, where managers say they're already changing techniques with their crop that will hopefully one day put them on top.

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