Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine has just announced the event as part of a new series of initiatives. Any New York-based wine or cheese company is eligible to be part of this first-of-its-kind competition.
The competition will take place inside the Pride of New York room in the Horticulture Building at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse sometime during the 2013 Fair, scheduled for August 22 through September 2.
Aubertine said the particulars of the event still are being developed and invited public input. Suggestions and comments may be e-mailed to his department. He also said he would like to hear from the public what they liked or disliked about this year's fair.
"When you’re planning one of the largest parties of the year for nearly a million people, it’s never too early to get things moving," he said. "The Pride of New York Wine and Cheese Competition is only the beginning. Our staff has a lot of ideas that we think will work for next year, but we also want to hear from our fellow New Yorkers about what they want to see."
The state- and industry-supported New York Wine & Grape Foundation has long held the annual New York State Wine & Food Classic, which is the top wine competition for New York producers, but offers no food awards.
Says NYWGF President Jim Trezise, "We appreciate the (agriculture) department’s support of the grape and wine industry as well as all of agriculture, including the Wine Village and wine competition associated with the Great New York State Fair. The Foundation has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and a competition involving the wines and cheeses from across New York will add a new element to next year’s Fair."
The wine industry is one of the fastest growing industries in New York’s agricultural and tourism sectors, which the state estimates as generating more than $3.7 billion annually in economic activity.
Cheese also is a significant industry in the state. New York ranks fourth nationally in cheese production. The state leads the nation in the production of cream cheese and cottage cheese. In 2011, New York produced 732 million pounds of cheese, 205 million pounds of cream cheese and 191 million pounds of cottage cheese.
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