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Vinyards in Archie Bunker Land

  • Subject: [cg] Vinyards in Archie Bunker Land
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2004 18:21:52 EST


In case the link I sent doesn't work, this piece in the otherwise garden unfriendly NY Post is a hoot.  Maybe because the article is about alcohol.  I got it! We can save our gardens if we grow grapes for wine.....what an idea!

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Clinton Community Garden



April 1, 2004 -- Forget Burgundy and Napa Valley; try some Maspeth Merlot or College Point Cabernet - Queens is a getting a vineyard. It's no April Fool's joke, says James Trent, founder of the Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park, which is planting about an acre of wine grapes on the 47-acre farm.

Trent aims for the Big Apple's only winery to be bottling Chardonnays, Cabernets and Merlots as early as 2007.

Given the success of wineries on Long Island, there's absolutely no reason Queens can't produce its own high-quality vino.

But how will it play to New York's notorious wine snobs? "I think the novelty of a Queens wine will carry us through until we work out the kinks," Trent said.

Wine experts look forward to sampling this Outer-Bordeaux. "It will add a level of distinction and style to the 718 area code," said Joshua Wesson, CEO of Best Cellars. "It will be interesting to see if Queens wine can capture the taste of the old world, or if it will taste like something from a world no one has ever been to."

In fact, the climate of Queens may be superior to that of eastern Long Island, in that it is slightly warmer and the growing season lasts several weeks longer.

"The consultants working with us say we should be able to produce a high-quality product and not just a jug wine," Trent said.

The farm will plant 1,000 vines to start off, and once the vineyard is up and running, the winery will be opened. Trent is planting four different grapes - Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

At worst, the Queens winery will be a place for city residents to learn how grapes are grown and wine is made. "We're going to start small, but aim high," Trent said. "All we need now is a name for the label."

There's a precedent.

Experts point to the long tradition of small urban vineyards in France and England. Wine from one Paris vineyard, though nondescript in taste, is so rare and unusual that it sells for much more than it should, Wesson said.

The same exact grapes planted in different regions will produce very distinct wines as a result of the differing climate and soil - what the French call "terroir."

"I'm sure Queens has a very distinct terroir," Wesson said. "The question remains - is it one that you want to put in your mouth?"

Bob Ransom, the co-owner of Vintage New York, which sells only wine from around the state, said if upstate and Long Island wines are any indication, Queens should not have a problem. "Believe it or not you can grow grapes and make wine in far less hospitable places than Queens," he said.

Currently the non-profit Queens Farm Museum produces eggs, honey, and fruit which are sold at local markets.

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