Winegrower and journalist Richard Figiel, who established Silver Thread Vineyard on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in 1982, offers a short history of New York wine in Circle of Vines: The Story of New York Wine (SUNY Press, 2014).
Figiel follows the state’s wine industry from its turbulent evolution in various regions as it emerged as a dynamic player in the world of fine wine. He begins by examining New York’s distinctive viticultural roots and the geologic forces that shaped the state’s terrain for winegrowing. Starting with early efforts to grow grapes for wine in the Hudson Valley, the story moves west to the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie, circles around the state from Long Island to the North Country, and, finally, to contemporary New York City.
Through industry booms and busts, he explores the New York wine industry’s continuing process of reinvention by resourceful immigrants, family dynasties, giant corporations, and back-to-the-land dreamers. Moving across centuries of winemaking, Figiel unfolds an extraordinary array of grape species, varieties, and wines. Two interesting appendixes feature a timeline and a list of surviving nineteenth-century winery structures.
Richard Figiel founded Silver Thread Vineyard on Seneca Lake in 1982, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region and was the proprietor until 2011. He has edited three wine magazines and written or contributed to several books on American wine. He lives in Trumansburg, New York.
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