finger lakes

Keuka Spring Vineyards

The wildfires that are ravaging parts of Northern California are also impacting the large wine industry in that region. News of that devastation is on the mind of a Finger Lakes winemaker.

We're broadcasting from WEOS, Finger Lakes Public Radio, and we're talking about efforts to revitalize the music scene in downtown Geneva.

The Smith Center for the Arts recently brought in a new director and she has big plans for the performing arts venue. We talk with Susie Monagan about her vision. We also hear from the owner and the musical director of FLX Live, a music bar in downtown Geneva that's bringing new life to the scene. Our guests:

  • Susie Monagan, director of the Smith Center for the Arts
  • Ian Pattison, owner of FLX Live
  • Matthew Elkin, music director and talent buyer for FLX Live

We kick off our annual Summer of Food series with a conversation about women in the wine industry. We’re joined by organizers of an upcoming symposium hosted by the Finger Lakes chapter of Women for WineSense. The organization’s Grand Event later this month will cover a number of subjects, including the science of food and wine, how wine factors into a healthy lifestyle, how dessert wines fit into the craft cocktail scene, and more.

Our guests discuss current issues in the wine industry, and the origins of the Women for WineSense group: why it was formed, how it has evolved, and its goals for the future. Our guests:

  • Donna Schlosser Long, president of the Women for WineSense Finger Lakes Chapter
  • Katie Roller, co-chair for the Women for WineSense Grand Event
  • Michaela Rodeno, co-founder of Women for WineSense
  • Julie Johnson, co-founder of Women for WineSense

Why do so many of us have a negative perception about the town we grew up in? What could make that change? Studies show that negative self-image is a risk to our health. That extends to our view of our hometown or home region.

So for a moment, let's appreciate the work of Chris Clemens, who created Exploring Upstate in 2014. It's a website that highlights the beautiful, the interesting, the downright good around us. We've asked Chris to share his journey on creating the site and his view of upstate New York, warts and all.

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: