Phyllis Feder, owner of Clinton Vineyards in the Hudson Valley who also long served as president of the Dutchess Wine Trail and was chair of the board of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYW&GF) for three years, was honored with the “Unity Award” at Thursday’s annual NYW&GF Unity Banquet in Rochester.
The 25th annual event was held at the Rochester Institute of Technology Conference Center, site of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s three-day “B.E.V. NY” symposium. The Foundation is a statewide, not-for-profit trade association representing grape growers, grape juice manufacturers, wineries and others in the Lake Erie, Niagara Escarpment, Finger Lakes, Hudson River, Long Island and other regions. Part of its mandate is to stimulate coordination and cooperation among all segments of the industry in all regions.
Feder and her late husband, the artist Ben Feder, founded Clinton Vineyards in 1974 in Clinton Corners, Dutchess County. Their first wine was produced in 1978. The winery is widely known for its cassis, which it says is the only domestically-created black currant wine to win gold medals at an international judging, as well as its specialty fruit wines and seyval blanc
Jim Trezise, Foundation president, said of Feder, “She is a person of vision, passion, and commitment to the entire industry whose leadership was crucial to ensuring the Foundation’s continued success.” Her award was one of a number that is labeled the Foundation’s “Court of Honor.” The others:
The Industry Award, presented to an individual who has made a major contribution in advancing the interests of the New York grape and wine industry — Dennis Rosen, outgoing chairman of the State Liquor Authority. Says the Foundation, “Since he was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo four years ago, Mr. Rosen has transformed that agency from an adversary to a partner with the wine industry, greatly reduced the time required to obtain a winery license, worked with industry representatives to shape new regulations and legislation, provided new marketing opportunities, and created a business climate that stimulates growth. Since 211, the number of wineries has increased by over 60 percent, from 52 to 84; and the number of farm wineries by over 50 percent, from 195 to 303.”
The Grower Award, which recognizes vineyardists who have made exceptional contributions to the state’s grape and wine industry — Michael Migliore of Whitecliff Vineyard in the Hudson Valley. The citation says, “Michael, his wife Yancey, and their son Tristan, have made Whitecliff a model of sustainability and commitment to the regional industry, and Michael has long served as the volunteer chairman of the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association.”
The Winery Award, which recognizes wineries which have advanced the widespread recognition and quality reputation of New York wines — Fox Run Vineyards, located on the west side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes. The citation says, “Co-owned by Scott and Ruth Osborn and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, Fox Run has long been known for the consistently high quality of its wines. Fox Run is also an excellent model of collaboration in terms of production (Peter Bell working with other winemakers) and industry advancement. Scott Osborn is currently serving as volunteer president of not one but two separate organizations created to protect and advance industry interests.”
The Research Award, for major contributions in research and education to benefit the state’s grape and wine industry — Brad Rickard of Cornell University. The citation says, “While most Cornell research focuses on viticulture an enology, Brad’s focus is on economics and the business side of the business. He is the author of several notable peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Wine Economics and other publications.”
The Restaurant Award, for excellence in promoting New York wines as part of a fine dining experience — Tom Schaudel, chef/owner of the Long Island restaurants Jewel, A Mano, A Lure, Cool Fish and Petulant Wino which feature Long Island wines and local foods. The citation notes, “He also is a regular attraction at New York Farm Day in Washington, DC, wowing consumers with his fresh fish creations, and the author of a hilarious book about being in the restaurant business called ‘Playing with Fire: Whining & Dining on the Gold Coast’.”
The Retailer Award, recognizes wine stores and/or people who do an exceptional job in educating consumers about the quality and variety of New York wines — Ryan’s Wines & Spirits of Canandaigua, which carries more than 900 New York wines, all of which were on sale during the holiday season.
A Distributor Award, recognizing extraordinary support of New York wines — Dina Opici, owner of Opici Family Distributors which has the largest selection of New York wines of any distributor.
The Consumer Award, recognizing individuals who enthusiastically support New York wines and enjoy wine in moderation as part of a healthy and happy lifestyle — Judi Betts of Long Island, The citation notes, “In addition to being an avid appreciator of wine, she is a passionate promoter of Long Island and New York wines. She has worked for Pindar Vineyards and other East End wineries over the years.”