Winterfest: Live of the Vine, now in its eighth year of providing cabin fever-suffering East Enders with a respite from the winter doldrums, returns with live concerts and more with a kickoff party at The Suffolk Theater in Riverhead Feb. 6.
The latest round of the New York Regional Economic Development Council awards were announced Thursday with more than $1 million funding tourism efforts across the North Fork.
A total of $709.2 million in state funds and tax credits were awarded to the 10 regional councils across New York. Long Island is receiving $81.9 million to support 97 projects — four of which are on the North Fork.
Six months after touting their collaboration on the first-ever Taste North Fork weekend in November, organizers from three local tourism and agricultural promotion groups have announced they won’t team up for the event again this year.
Plans for last year’s festival were unveiled in August by the North Fork Promotional Council, Long Island Wine Council and East End Tourism Alliance. The event was made possible by a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY” grant that funded shuttle bus trips across the North Fork for three days over Veterans Day weekend. Various farms and wineries participated by hosting special events to attract visitors.
Shuttles made a loop between Riverhead and Greenport, stopping at around 50 hamlet centers, farms and wineries along the way.
But the event was poorly executed and did little to help businesses that weren’t wineries, said promotional council president Joan Bischoff.
According to the promotional council’s internal evaluation of the event, a copy of which Mr. Bischoff provided to the Suffolk Times, “For non-winery North Fork businesses, the primary successes of Veterans Day Weekend — the weekend supported by the bus provided by the grant — resulted from North Fork businesses’ self-organizing, not from the grant-funded components.”
But this news doesn’t signify the end for either the event or the Taste North Fork name.
Throughout the upcoming tourism season, various promotional council events will be branded “Taste North Fork,” although they won’t be affiliated with last year’s grant-funded festival. The first such event, 2014 Season Kick-Off Taste North Fork, is set for Saturday, May 17. Marking the unofficial start of the tourism season, it will feature a meet-and-greet for residents and the media with a host of local chefs, growers, winemakers and bed-and-breakfast owners.
“We cannot wait anymore,” Mr. Bischoff said. “We have to get the North Fork going now, not in November.”
Meanwhile, the Long Island Wine Council has received another “I Love NY” grant to again help fund a three-day event in November.
Wine council president Steven Bate didn’t respond to requests for details about the fall event, but has also said the Wine Council and East End Tourism Alliance will no longer work alongside the North Fork Promotional Council.
East End Tourism Alliance president Bryan DeLuca referred all questions about the upcoming event to the wine council.
Eugene Gluck, the promotional council’s executive director, said a lack of grant money won’t prevent his group from bringing local businesses together in the future.
“Taste North Fork is something the promotional council developed last November — it is not necessarily a part of the grant,” he said. “The grant wasn’t Taste North Fork, it was Taste New York. Taste North Fork is the spin we took from it. It is our branding.”
The latest round of the New York Regional Economic Development Council awards were announced Wednesday and more than $4 million is coming directly to the North Fork.
A total of $715.9 million in state funds and tax credits were awarded to the 10 regional councils across New York. Long Island is receiving $83 million for a total of 98 projects, the most of any region in the state.
Nine of those projects are on the North Fork.
Below is a list of each of the local projects, the name of the applicant, the state’s description of the project and the amount awarded.
Projects are listed in descending order based on the total number of dollars received.
Town of Riverhead Community Development Agency
Project: EPCAL Sewer Treatment Upgrade
Funding: $1.34 million
Description: Upgrade of Calverton sewage treatment plant from secondary to tertiary treatment, which will provide both economic development and environmental benefits to this regionally significant project site with immediate potential for job creation benefit.
EBDK Research at Calverton
Project: CARE NY (Calverton Addiction Research and Education Research Center)
Funding: $1 million
Description: CARE NY (Calverton Addiction Research Education), a substance addiction Research Center and a separate Recovery Center, will construct an addiction research and education center at the Calverton Enterprise Park to complement an adjacent proposed treatment center.
Project: Special Needs and Acute Rehabilitation Center
Description: This $44 million project is the expansion of dementia care and rehabilitation facility in Greenport.
Long Island Wine Council
Project: Access East End
Description: This program is a multimodal transportation and marketing initiative to generate visitor traffic from the NY metro area, east coast, national and international source markets during off-season and midweek periods. By opening the East End of Long Island to new customers from the NY metro area and other east coast population centers, we expect that this program will draw thousands of new visitors to the region.
Skydive Long Island
Project: Altitude Express Indoor Skydiving Facility
Description: Altitude Express Inc. will build an indoor skydiving attraction on Long Island which will operate year round. The company anticipates this attraction will draw another 50,000-100,000 visitors to the area annually.
East End Arts Humanities Council
Project: Long Island Winterfest
Description: East End Arts is requesting grant funds to support an expanded marketing strategy and to hire a festival coordinator to support the implementation of a five-year strategic plan toward a goal of growth and sustainability of LIWinterfest: Live on the Vine, an award winning agricultural tourism program designed to generate tourism traffic to the East End of Long Island during the slowest months.
East End Arts Humanities Council
Project: Winterfest Expansion Project
Description: East End Arts will expand marketing strategies and hire a festival coordinator to improve growth and sustainability of its LI Winterfest — an award winning agri-cultural tourism program. The six-week program of live music performances at wineries, theaters and area hotels, along with special promotions at restaurants, hotels, transportation companies and area businesses generates tourism traffic to East End of Long Island during the off-season months.
Project: Business Expansion
Description: The Cutchogue company will expand its potato chip manufacturing operation and tour facility including a museum on the History of Long Island Potato Farming.
Project: Advanced Manufacturing Skills Program
Description: Ultra Motion LLC of Cutchogue will train six workers in IPC (Institute for Printed Circuits) J-STD-001D Soldering Certification, computer-aided design, inventory control, and supply chain management.
With less than a month to go, details of the first-ever Taste North Fork festival are falling into place with more than 50 local wineries, restaurants, hotels and shops signing up to participate.
On Tuesday, Hampton Jitney released the official list of more than 20 stops (see below) the free shuttles will be making on Veteran’s Day weekend.
The three-day event will feature a full range of activities celebrating local wines and foods across the region. Wineries, as well as local breweries and distilleries, will be invited to offer special tasting menus paired with foods from local restaurants.
The buses will run in a loop between Riverhead and Greenport. There will also be feeder buses from the Cross Sound Ferry and Long Island Rail Road. Stops will be made at each location approximately every 45 minutes during business hours.
The pilot program is being made possible through a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY” grant, aiming to help promote agritourism on the East End. Since the East End Tourism Alliance, Long Island Wine Council and North Fork Promotion Council unveiled the plan in August the event has received an overwhelming response from local businesses and town officials, organizers said.
Southold, Greenport and Mattituck have all signed on to host their own “mini-festivals” in honor of Taste North Fork through the holiday weekend.
North Fork Promotion Council president Joan Bischoff said he hopes the shuttle program can continue next year for the entire summer season.
“We have to make sure it’s not a bridge to nowhere,” he said. “We would like some sort of annual event in the slow season to bring in tourists.”
The list of stops are as follows:
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard
Castello di Borghese
Coffee Pot Cellars
Duck Walk Vineyards
Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards
Sherwood House Vineyards
Waters Crest Winery
LI Spirits Craft Distillery
Orient Point (Cross Island Ferry connection)
Wine lovers will soon be able to pick up a bottle of local vino at their nearest farm stand.
Continuing his push to promote New York State vineyards Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation permitting the sale of wine at roadside farm markets.
“These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York’s wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.
Mr. Cuomo signed bills last Friday allowing farm stands to sell local wines and creating several new wine trails in upstate New York. They go into effect March 31, 2014.
On the North Fork, which already boasts an established wine trail, the farm markets law allows for sale of wine that is manufactured and produced by up to two licensed farm wineries, special wineries or micro-wineries located within 20 miles of the roadside farm stands, according to the law.
While in 2009 the mere mention of allowing wine sales at supermarkets had liquor store owners furious and scared for their livelihoods, the new law is not drawing the same amount of criticism.
Jim Silver, general manager of Empire State Cellars in Riverhead, said he doesn’t think allowing farm stands to sell local wine would have a negative impact on his business.
“The seasonality of farm stands is so limited that I don’t think it will have an impact,” he said, adding that farm stands are restricted to carrying only two brands of wine and that climate control might cause a storage issue for farmers. “Do I think it’s a good a idea? Yes. Do I think it’s a great idea? No.”
Steve Bate, the Wine Council executive director, believes the law will have a positive impact on the local economy.
“I think it provides a terrific new opportunity for wineries and farm stands to work together to promote the sale of local products,” he said. “This is just the latest example that Governor Cuomo really understands and appreciates the importance of agriculture and agritourism to our state’s economy.”
Mr. Cuomo has spearheaded several initiatives to bolster the wine industry.
In July 2012, the governor signed legislation designed to support New York’s breweries and wineries, as well as increase demand for locally grown farm products and expand industry-related economic development and tourism.
The Empire state is home to nearly 500 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cider mills that account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state and support tens of thousands of jobs statewide, the governor’s office said.
The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, has the second-most distilleries and three of the top-producing 20 brewers in the nation, Mr. Cuomo said.
The 2013-14 state budget introduced several new initiatives to help improve the marketing of New York State-produced products, including a total of $7 million for Market New York and Taste NY to support a multifaceted regional marketing plan that will promote regional tourism and New York-produced goods and products.
The fourth annual celebration of Long Island Wine Country, known as Harvest East End, raised close to $50,000 for its beneficiaries: East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust, as well as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation, according to a press release.
The event, organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, celebrated wine country’s 40th anniversary and brought more than 1,300 people to McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue Aug. 24.
It was the first time the event was held on the North Fork. Governor Andrew Cuomo attended the event and presented McCall Wines owner Russ McCall with a plaque for a “Winery of the Year” award, which he won at the 2013 New York Wine & Food Classic.
Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele also made an appearance.
Officials premiered a 30-second commercial promoting wine production in New York State. The spot is expected to run this fall throughout the region.
This year’s event surpassed last years fundraising total by close to $4,000, according to the release.
“There is a reason why so many of Long Island’s wines earn premium scores by our reviewers,” said Adam Strum, Editor & Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which helped sponsor the event. “The wines of this region are distinct and delicious, elegant and eminently food-friendly. Long Island definitely is a wine region to watch.”
More than 1,200 people attended Harvest East End at McCall Wines in Cutchogue Saturday night. Here are some more photos from the event, which raised money for Group for the East End, Peconic Land Trust, the Long Island Farm Bureau and East End Hospice.
The event presented by Wine Enthusiast with support from the Long Island Wine Council.