Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) and the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) are teaming up to create a teaching and demonstration vineyard at the Anthony Road Wine Company in Yates County.
The two institutions will share a 2.5 acre vineyard where CCE’s Finger Lakes Grape Program will conduct applied research and prepare demonstrations for Finger Lakes regional and national grape growers. The 35 FLCC students enrolled in the program will be assisting with research opportunities and providing the manual labor for the vineyard to optimize growing potential.
The Fingers Lakes are known for growing many kinds of grapes. Each type has its own qualities and the Finger Lakes region has the optimum conditions for bringing out the best of each – minerals, good drainage, and a moderate climate. The students will care for several well known types, including Catawba, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cayuga White. They’ll also be tending to newer varieties like the Corot Noir, Grüner Veltliner and Marquette and even seedless table grapes.
“This vineyard will give FLCC students the opportunity to learn how to handle a wide range of varieties and vine training systems they will see in commercial vineyards,” said Paul Brock, FLCC instructor of viticulture. “The partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension will also allow them first-hand access to current topics in Finger Lakes viticulture while expanding their networking opportunities.”
The project was funded through a $200,000 grant from the Genesee Valley Regional Marketing Authority designed to improve regional value-added agricultural products and production. Hans Walter-Peterson, a viticulture specialist and team leader with the Finger Lakes Grape Program, brought the idea to Brock when he learned such a partnership could be formed through grant money.
“These funds will allow us to develop a vineyard where we can test and demonstrate new and improved vineyard practices that will help Finger Lakes grape growers to improve the quality of their fruit while also increasing the sustainability and profitability of their farms,” Walter-Peterson said. “Sharing this vineyard with FLCC will enable us to provide cutting-edge information and education not only for our current growers, but for the next generation of vineyard managers and winemakers as well.”
For more information about FLCC’s Viticulture and Wine Technology program, visit www.flcc.edu/academics/viticulture/. To learn more about the CCE Finger Lakes Grape Program, visit http://flg.cce.cornell.edu/.
Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.