WXXI AM News

finger lakes

How is climate change impacting the wine industry? There's a growing view among casual observers that climate change is good for the Finger Lakes, bad for California. In reality, climate change is a problem for all wine growing regions. Yes, some wine regions might become too warm to produce high-quality wine grapes. But climate change is not simply about shifting temperature upward, and the complex changes could threaten livelihoods here in our region.

Our guests discuss the reality on the ground, and how the industry is trying to mitigate the effects.

The Cuomo administration has not yet made a decision on whether to allow a proposed expansion of a liquid propane gas facility near Seneca Lake. The out-of-state energy company involved has tried to amend their proposal in order to get it approved. Crestwood Energy argues that the project will create a handful of new jobs while alleviating local energy supply crunches.

Opponents have been vocal, arguing that the project would be a serious problem for tourism and the wine industry. In fact, Paul Hobbs, an award-winning international winemaker, has said he would put his own planned Finger Lakes wine project on hold if the gas project goes forward. We're invited people from Crestwood Energy, along with the AFL-CIO, which is supporting the project, to come on our show. Here are the guests that did confirm to be on the show. Confirmed as guests:

  • Joseph Campbell, representing the group Gas Free Seneca
  • Michael Warren Thomas, radio host and regional advocate

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has priorities for the Finger Lakes region. We discuss the organization's regional conservation agenda.  Our guests:

  • Andrew Zepp, executive director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust
  • Lisa Cleckner, director of the Finger Lakes Institute
  • Marti Macinski, board member for the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and owner of Standing Stone Vineyards

Why does the Finger Lakes region have the three largest landfills in New York State, accepting roughly 12,000 tons per day of other people's trash? You might have heard that there is a proposal for a 20-year, $3 billion-dollar deal to bring garbage from New York City by rail to the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls. Now there's a local opposition movement building. One of our guests is a Hobart professor who now teaches a class called Geography of Garbage. It's time for a lesson in trash, money, and the impact on our environment.

Our guests:

  • Darrin Magee, professor of environmental studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Doug Knipple, President of Finger Lakes Zero Waste
  • Vinny Aliperti, co-owner of Billsboro Winery

The fate of the famous white deer is now, quite literally, up for bid.

Next month, the Seneca County IDA is collecting bids for how to develop 7,000 acres of land between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. That land is fenced off, with quite an unusual history: it spent years as a controversial munitions storehouse for the military.

Living on that land are 200 white deer (not albino), and a group is trying to protect their future, while bidding to create a new ecotourism center. Their concern is that a developer will win the bid, take the fences down, and the white deer will become trophies for hunters. Our panelists explain their alternative plan:

Nearly ten percent of the Finger Lakes wine industry is now turning to solar power, and that number could grow substantially in the next year. Many winery owners oppose fracking and gas storage in the region; now they're interested in showing that they can power their operations with new technologies.

Our panel explains how it's happening, what it costs, and what's next for solar. Our guests:

Pope Francis To Use Altar Wine Produced Here

Sep 23, 2015

The visit of Pope Francis to New York City brings attention once again to Finger Lakes wine, with help from a small, old, Hemlock Lake winery.

"The leading Kosher brand in America and the leading Catholic brand in America - both in the Finger Lakes - I think that's really a unique story unto itself."

Winemaker Will Ouweleen is referring to a Constellation product and his O-Neh-Da Authentic Sacramental Wine, which will be on the altar when the Pope says mass.

We preview the upcoming Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes, which is less than three weeks away. We'll talk about what makes the Finger Lakes region thrive for certain grape varieties, and we'll explore the various themes on the menu for this year's event. Our guests:

  • Bob Madill, chair of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and co-chair of the symposium
  • Leslie Kroeger, symposium organizer
  • Steve DeFrancesco, winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars

Is support for LPG storage near Seneca Lake growing? Crestwood Energy says yes. The Elmira Star-Gazette first reported on some new names supporting gas storage last week; on Monday, their sister newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle, ran the same story. We dig into the claims, starting with this: Why is a trucking company portraying itself as a Finger Lakes vintner? Why is the company's secretary quoted as a "grape inspector," which is not a title that even exists in the wine industry? Why did the company list Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as a supporter, only to have the Senator's office insist they remove that claim? We have a variety of guests to discuss the topic.

The Finger Lakes region is trying to increase tourism in the dead of winter. There are a number of new events coming up, and we'll preview them. And I'll reveal my two favorite streets in the region, and encourage listeners to share their favorite quiet spots, the hidden gems, the small streets that can absorb an afternoon. In studio:

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