Governor Cuomo has made it his mission to help the wine industry in New York State. He has changed the law to encourage growth, and he is directing public money into advertising and marketing campaigns. State House Reporter Zack Fink has more on what the state has done to expand the reach of New York wine.
In October 2012, Governor Cuomo hosted what he called New York State's first Beer, Wine and Spirits Summit in Albany. He brought together wine makers, craft beer brewers and distillers from all across the state and had them explain to his team what impediments currently exist to growing their businesses.
He hosted a second summit in 2014, and a third earlier this month. The governor spoke to us exclusively about what he is hoping to do.
"I remember when I first had a wine and beer summit, people laughed," Cuomo says. "'Why would you have a wine and beer industry summit? It's not that big of an industry.' Well, it has blossomed."
This past August, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that is aimed at streamlining government regulation and enabling craft producers to expand and grow. It also encourages more entrepreneurship with wine, beer, alcohol and hard cider.
The legislation was drafted from input from the industry, which originated from the beer and wine summits.
"We've done a lot of work to cut red tape," says Sam Filler of Empire State Development. "Do some regulatory reform. Clarify licenses. Extend privileges, mostly for people that agree to use New York State ingredients in their products."
The state has also invested millions of dollars in advertising and marketing campaigns encouraging people to visit New York's wine country.
"It's a perfect blend with tourism," Cuomo says. "Because it's bringing people to wine trails. It's bringing people all through the State of New York. So, I am going to keep investing in the industry. It's creating jobs."
It has been working. According to the Governor's office, there has been a 67 percent increase in wine producing licenses issued by the state since 2011. New York is now the third largest wine producing state in the nation.
New York State has also looked for opportunities to promote locally produced products to fellow New Yorkers through the "Taste NY" program.
"The governor's Taste New York program is an opportunity for consumers to actually try a value-added product," says Richard Ball, NYS Agriculture Commissioner. "Try a craft beverage. And then look to find more of that product elsewhere. We've got 12 stores around the state now."
An outpost is also expected soon at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.
Thirsty for more? Watch NY1 this weekend for "The Grape State of New York," NY1's hour-long look at wine across the state. It airs this Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.