The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved a new American Viticultural Area for New York's Finger Lakes wine region. As of Sept. 2, 2003, Seneca Lake will join neighboring Cayuga Lake as the only lakes in the region with individual AVAs. Wineries in all other areas must use the broader Finger Lakes AVA designation on their wines.
"There are a number of us who believe the various lakes have very different characteristics," said Scott Osborn, owner of Fox Run Vineyards, on the northwestern side of Seneca Lake. "Particularly when it comes to growing Riesling [the region's top grape variety]."
The new AVA will cover 204,600 acres surrounding Seneca Lake, and will encompass land in Schuyler, Yates, Ontario and Seneca counties. Seneca Lake is the deepest of the 11 Finger Lakes; their heat-storing capacity acts as a buffer against the region's harsh winters and cool growing season.
There are currently more than 3,700 acres of vineyards planted in the Seneca Lake AVA, and nearly 40 wineries -- including Standing Stone, Red Newt Cellars, Lamoreaux Landing and Chateau Lafayette Reneau -- are located along the lake's shores.
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