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New York Wine Center Opens

Local food and wine star in new Finger Lakes facility

Thomas Matthews
Posted: June 21, 2006

New York's image may be of a fast-paced city, but agriculture is the state's leading economic sector and wine is the fastest-growing part of it. Now the state's farmers and vintners can show off their indigenous products--from apples and cheese to wines made from Riesling and Merlot--at the New York Wine & Culinary Center, which opened in Canandaigua on June 17.

"The center is designed to educate and excite people around the world about New York's agriculture, food and wine," said executive director Alexa Gifford at the opening ceremonies, which drew a crowd of 700, including vintners, chefs, farmers and politicians. Also participating in the opening festivities was Robert Sands, COO of Constellation Brands, the world's largest wine company, based in upstate New York. Constellation contributed about $1 million to the center, which broke ground last August, and helped raise an additional $4.5 million from sponsors such as the Rochester Institute of Technology, Wegmans Food Markets and the New York state government.

Executive director Alexa Gifford and Constellation COO Robert Sands led the center's opening.
Though it's located in the heart of the Finger Lakes, the center is designed to showcase the entire state's bounty. Visitors can sample wines at themed tastings, ranging in price from $5 to $7 for five 1-ounce pours, or match wines with small dishes at a restaurant that highlights New York ingredients. Those with more time and interest can take single-session classes, at $35 to $60 per session, that focus on wine, foodstuffs such as apples and cheese or cooking with New York chefs.

The $7.5 million, 20,000-square-foot center is an attractive facility that blends wood and glass in an airy Adirondack design. It includes a demonstration theater (funded by Wine Spectator), a hands-on kitchen, an exhibit hall featuring displays about New York's agriculture and history, and an extensive garden showcasing local plants. It is open daily, and admission is free.

New York Wine & Culinary Center
800 S. Main St., Canandaigua
Telephone (585) 394-7070
Web site www.nywcc.com

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