The Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes Introduces Industry Professionals to the Region’s Top Wines

Plus Wine Institute elects a new board chairman and other news and notes in the world of wine, beer and spirits.


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Thomas Pastuzak, wine director of the NoMad

On June 13 and 14, The Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes in New York hosted 125 wine growers, writers, sommeliers and winemakers at a series of events highlighting the cool-climate whites, reds and sparkling wines of the popular region. Over the two days in Geneva, New York, attendees sat in seminars headed by industry professionals like Thomas Pastuzak, wine director of the NoMad in New York City, and Robert Newton of Brooklyn’s Seersucker, Nightingale 9 and Smith Canteen.

Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy association representing nearly 1,000 California wineries, announced the election of Carolyn Wente as its 2014–2015 Board Chairman. Wente is the chief executive officer of Wente Family Estates in Livermore and the fifth Wente family member to serve as a Wine Institute chairman. The election was held at Wine Institute’s 80th Annual Meeting of Members in Half Moon Bay.

In an online petition that garnered 43,000 signatures in 24 hours, food blogger Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com pressured Anheuser-Busch InBev and Miller Coors into posting the ingredients in their beers, after finding components like propylene glycol and high-fructose corn syrup in their brews. In response to the social media petition and #MysteryBeer Twitter campaign, each company posted the ingredients for many of their leading brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light and others.

At Ornellaia’s annual Vendemmia d’Artista charity auction dinner and gala, $116,533 was raised for the Art Gallery of Ontario. The six-year-old project was started by the estate to revive the Renaissance tradition of artistic commission; this year, the winery selected Canadian artist Rodney Graham to interpret the L’Infinito (Infinity) theme of the winery’s Ornellaia 2011 vintage. Graham produced 111 large-format bottles (100 3-litre Double Magnums, 10 6-litre Imperials, and 1 one-of-a-kind 9-litre Salmanazar) for Ornellaia, 8 bottles of which were auctioned off by Sotheby’s to benefit the AGO.

On June 9, Bordeaux’s northern Médoc region and parts of Cognac were struck by two nights of hail, rain and lightning, damaging an estimated 2,470 acres of vineyards. Some growers are reporting a loss of 95–100 percent of their crops, with some pushing for regional officials to declare a state of emergency to potentially protect against their losses. The majority of growers affected by the weather are small, family-run vineyards.

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