Cost of Establishment and Production of Vinifera Grapes in the Finger Lakes Region of New York-2013

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In recent years there has been increased interest in the Finger Lakes, as well as in other parts of New York State and the eastern United States, in planting Vitis vinifera grapes for premium wine production. Acreage of red varieties such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc all increased in the most recent orchard and vineyard survey compiled by the New York Agricultural Statistics Service in 2011. Acreage of Riesling has increased by 56 percent from 2006, while acreage of Chardonnay stayed about the same. Overall, vinifera acreage increased by 30 percent (to 2,047 acres) in the Finger Lakes region in this five year period, led by Riesling, with a total acreage of 849 acres. Vinifera grape varieties accounted for 22 percent of grape acreage in the Finger Lakes in 2011. There has been an increase in consumer demand for quality wines, including interspecific French American hybrid and V. vinifera cultivars as well as from designated appellations. Wine consumption in the United States has increased during the past 10 years driven by good news regarding the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. New York is gaining stature as a producer of high quality wines that command premium prices. The Finger Lakes region has benefited from a surge of sales and interest nationally in Riesling varietal wines over the past three years. However, the prices received by Finger Lakes growers for vinifera grapes did decline for all major varieties in 2008 and 2009, probably due both to the recession in the US economy and to increased plantings of vinifera in New York in recent years. Prices for the major vinifera varieties either held steady or increased slightly after 2011.
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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
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