Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: ‘Grape State of NY’ bears bitter fruit

twgrapes Time Warner Cable (TWC) may have had good intentions in creating a 60-minute program devoted to the ever-expanding New York State grape and wine industry, but that was the only good thing that came of it.

The show, which debuted Saturday and Sunday, is weak in so very many ways.

While interviewing only participants and cheerleaders of the industry on-camera, TWC did not address any of the myriad number of questions such a production cried out for -- the multiple micro-climates in the state that help create different results from the same grapes in terms of growth and taste; the restrictive regulations, some of which recently have been modified, under which the industry long has labored; it gave short shrift to the emergence of cold-hardy grapes developed in the state that have allowed vineyards to be planted even in our harshest winter areas; the continuing difficulty in getting many restaurants and wine bars to carry New York labels, especially in New York City; the impact on tourism choices and sales by the emergence of dozens of beverage trails ... .

The examples go on and on, including the fact that, unless I somehow missed it, it did not even mention the total number of wineries in the state.

Even the production values of the program are lacking. Sound quality is erratic; speakers -- particularly in the first few minutes -- are not identified; camerawork did not adequately portray the hugh expanses of many vineyards or entire areas (note to TWC: there are such things as drones or small planes that carry aerial cameras).

All in all, this is a disappointing piece of programming, especially by such a major company that has a large built-in audience.

(Story originally published 9/12/15)

"The Grape State of New York," a one-hour program that will be preceded by a week's worth of stories on the topic, will be shown on Time Warner Cable in October, it was announced today.

The special is scheduled to be shown at both 9 p.m. Saturday, October 24, and 6 p.m. Sunday, October 25.

"I've been working with them for a couple months, and they've been all over the state shooting footage and interviewing industry people," says Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. "We greatly appreciate their interest."

Trezise notes that the New York grape, grape juice and wine industry "generates more than $4.8 billion in economic benefits annually for New York State; 1,631 family vineyards; 400 wineries; 175,000,000 bottles of wine; $408 million in state and local taxes -- and these are just a few of the many statistics available."

As reported in April, the state's 400th winery to open was the Five Sons Winery, located at 1360 West Sweden Road, Brockport, Monroe County. It now is bottling its first wines, including Traminette, Vigoles, Ruby Sipper, Baco Noir, and Lemberger to be released soon.

Time Warner Cable frequently does stories on the state's wine and grape industry.  For examples, it showed one in February on hybrid grapes flourishing in cold weather, and another in April on mapping technology for grape growers. And, it regularly covers wine festivals across the state, and spot news of the wine and grape industry.

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