It’s wine competition season, a time of year when judges offer their opinions at dozens of events around the world. New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s Jim Trezise was at an event in Sonoma to see how Finger Lakes wines have been faring.
Trezise has been judging for about 20 years and says, in that time, he’s seen a transformation in New York wines.
"The quantity and quality have just gone through the roof. Particularly Finger Lakes Riesling is a national presence now," said Trezise.
That notoriety is reflected in the number of gold medals awarded to New York wines of late. The total was well over 500 last year, and several Finger Lakes wines have already taken home best in category awards this year.
Wine competitions do have their critics, with some citing inconsistent results from one event to the next. But Trezise says, overall, these awards have been great publicity for a wine region that is still quite small.
"New York makes about three percent…one, two, three…three percent of wine in the United States," said Trezise. "California’s 90 percent."
Still, Trezise adds that while medals may help lead some consumers to the Finger Lakes, they are not the best way to draw customers to the labels.
"The best way to discover the wines you like best, is to taste ‘em."