Topics

CA Wine in NY (was "TW" reefer designation)

Jeff English
 

Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:

Small quantities of Calif. wine are still
shipped in bulk to some east coast wineries, notably in upstate New York
where (despite all the promotional hype for Finger Lakes wines) the summer
is too short to bring up the sugar in the grapes so their wines are
blended with California wines to make them palatable.
AFAIK, the only NY wineries that bring in CA wine are the
larger corporate operations such as Taylor. There is a
considerable wine industry in four regions* of NY which consists
primarily of small, family-operated wineries that produce estate-
bottled wines of varieties that lend themselves to the climatic
conditions. If you can look that far down your nose, Richard, you
might actually find some of these acceptable if not wildly fabulous.
Unfortunately for freight car content, probably none of this NY
wine ever moves by rail, unless in individual shipments in UPS
trailers on intermodal flat cars.

* In addition to the Finger Lakes (where Taylor got their start, and
Walter S. #$&^*^ still makes wine in his interpretation of that
family's tradition, under the Bully Hill label), the other regions of NY
that are known for producing good, award-winning wines are Long
Island, the Hudson Valley and Chautauqua (shore of Lake Erie).


---------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff English Troy, New York
Proto:64 Classic Era Railroad Modeling
englij@...

| R U T L A N D R A I L R O A D |
Route of the Whippet
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Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Jeff,

Perhaps New York wine no longer moves by rail today (or even much
California wine for that matter, except perhaps from mega-producers like
Gallo), but at one time Taylor and Great Western did a lot of business
by rail. The Bath & Hammondsport wasn't known as "The Champagne Trail"
for nothing. Long ago MODEL RAILROADER did a feature on the B&H for one
of their "railroads you can model" books. It makes interesting reading,
and has some data that would be useful in understanding how wineries in
general used railroads to make and ship their products in the past. And
after all, this group is largely about the past, isn't it?

We're getting pretty far afield here, but at one time Brookside Winery
(in Southern California's Cucamonga area) had an extensive rail system
between their vineyards and the winery. They owned a really charming
Baldwin 0-4-0T in the 10-ton range. The locomotive is long gone, as is
the railroad, but they used to proudly display a photo of it in their
tasting room.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff


Jeff English wrote:


Unfortunately for freight car content, probably none of this NY
wine ever moves by rail, unless in individual shipments in UPS
trailers on intermodal flat cars.

Dave & Libby Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

-----Original Message-----
Jeff writes in defense of NY state wine:

[snip]
that are known for producing good, award-winning wines
[snip]
FWIW, within the wine industry it is normal practice to hold the threshold
for issuing an award down at the level of getting the liquid into the
bottle. The Orange County fair for instance, used to have over 1000 wines
present and the wines that did not receive at least a bronze medal award
could be counted on one hand [shudder].

As for freight car content, I am reminded of something in a Farrington book
about wine grapes being shipped to NY vinters, ca. late 40's. Hungarian
Tokays. Why would one ship the grapes and not just the juice?


Dave Nelson

Richard Hendrickson
 

Jeff English wrote (defensively):

AFAIK, the only NY wineries that bring in CA wine are the
larger corporate operations such as Taylor. There is a
considerable wine industry in four regions* of NY which consists
primarily of small, family-operated wineries that produce estate-
bottled wines of varieties that lend themselves to the climatic
conditions. If you can look that far down your nose, Richard, you
might actually find some of these acceptable if not wildly fabulous.
Been there, done that. Some are, indeed, acceptable (barely). And, as I
certainly haven't had the opportunity to try all of them, it's entirely
possible that there are a few real gems I don't know about. In my
admittedly limited experience, however, I have been singularly unimpressed
with New York State wines. Though fine wines are produced in many regions
of the world (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Chile, as well as Europe and
parts of California and the Pacific Northwest), the fact that wine grapes
will grow in upstate New York, Southern Ontario, Virginia, etc. doesn't
mean that it's possible to make good wines with them. I might add that
some very bad wines are made in California, and not all of them are cheap
wines in boxes or jugs. But the fact remains that, owing to certain
combinations of soil and climate, some growing areas on the West Coast
produce wines that are vastly superior to those made anywhere else in North
America. That could certainly change. Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have
expected much from eastern Washington or the Willamette Valley, but they
are now producing some excellent wines of several varieties. However,
they've been making wine in New York for several generations with results
that don't live up to their sometimes rather pretentious hype. No
reflection on the Empire State, which has a great many other virtues to
recommend it, but wine is really not, in my opinion, one of them - though
I'm open to being proven wrong.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Dave,

The short answer about shipping whole grapes versus just the juice is
that most red wines require fermentation on the skins and seeds to
produce the correct acidity and color. Even from deep red grapes, the
free-run juice is practically clear, only moderately acidic, and very
sweet. You can't make a good claret (or whatever) without the skins and
seeds. Instead you get a very, very light "blush".

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Dave Nelson wrote:

As for freight car content, I am reminded of something in a Farrington book
about wine grapes being shipped to NY vinters, ca. late 40's. Hungarian
Tokays. Why would one ship the grapes and not just the juice?

thompson@...
 

Dave Nelson said:
FWIW, within the wine industry it is normal practice to hold the threshold
for issuing an award down at the level of getting the liquid into the
bottle. The Orange County fair for instance, used to have over 1000 wines
present and the wines that did not receive at least a bronze medal award
could be counted on one hand [shudder].
This is very true. My father-in-law used to work for Italian Swiss
Colonies' ad agency, and the Calif. State Fair gave awards based on volume
categories; the top volume included only Gallo and Italian Swiss, so they
divided all the awards, and could claim to be "award winning" with complete
truth. As a wine fancier himself, he found this highly amusing.
But at least those giant wine concerns shipped by rail.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history