NEWS & INFORMATION
Hunt Country Vineyards on Keuka Lake is the recipient of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation's Sustainability Award for 2020.
"We congratulate Hunt Country Vineyards for being recognized by their peers as a pioneering winery deploying extensive sustainability practices on their farm and in their winery," says Sam Filler, executive director of the Foundation.
Presented for the first time in 2019, the Sustainability Award recognizes an organization or business that has demonstrated noteworthy sustainable practices and a commitment to conserving natural resources, protecting our environment, and contributing to the overall success of the New York State economy. The winner is determined by nominations from within the wine and grape industry, as well as related businesses and individuals.
"Hunt Country Vineyards sets the standard for what it means to be a sustainable winery operation in New York," says Filler.
"It's wonderful validation of many years of taking care of the land for future generations," says Art Hunt, co-founder and co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards.
"It's great to receive this recognition," says Suzanne Hunt, Art's younger daughter and an international consultant for clean technologies and sustainable farming, who is also helping to run the family business. "The fact that the New York Wine & Grape Foundation created this award shows real leadership. We're honored to be the first winery to receive it."
When Art and Joyce Hunt, his wife and business partner, took over the farm in the 1970s, they realized that they needed to do more to care for the land and their community. Hunt Country Vineyards has since become a regional leader in sustainability. The seventh generation family farm has a 350 solar panel array that provides the majority of the farm's electricity needs. Hunt Country was an early adopter of extensive geothermal heating and cooling, and installed a system which has replaced the conventional A/C and heating in the tasting room, winery and warehouses. Hunt Country is the only Finger Lakes winery to provide free EV charging stations to customers. Several acres of the vineyards have been certified organic and the winery plans to release its first wine made from organically-grown grapes in 2020. Soil health is a priority, and Hunt Country has doubled the soil organic matter in their vineyards over the past decade. The vineyards and farm are managed as a complete ecosystem, providing ample habitat for a diverse community of bees, birds and other wildlife.
"Every winery and farm can do it," says Art. "It's not all or nothing. You can work at it every year without it impacting your bottomline too much and gradually increase your profitability."
The award will be formally presented to Hunt Country Vineyards during the Unity Awards ceremony at the Foundation's B.E.V. NY Conference at the end of February.
This week the New York Wine & Grape Foundation announced the results of the 2018 New York Wine Classic, and our 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine was judged to be the best ice wine in the state!
The New York Wine Classic is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and is open to all 440 wineries in New York. The awards are based on blind tastings by 21 expert judges from across the country. Judges include prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators.
We are thrilled to have such a prominent group of individuals recognize our Ice Wine as one of the best wines in New York. We've been crafting genuine ice wine since 1987, which makes us the longest continuous producer in the United States. There is difficulty and risk involved with making a traditional ice wine like this, but it's worth it!
If you haven't tried this brilliant dessert wine before, please do! We'd love to know what you think too.
This past November, the Hunt family of Hunt Country Vineyards received some truly humbling recognition: a Jefferson Cup for their 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.
The Jefferson Cup is a national invitational in which 750 wines are pre-selected that exemplify top viticulture and winemaking throughout America. The goal is to respect the diversity of American viticulture and reflect Thomas Jefferson's own acceptance of native varieties and hybrid grapes. Jefferson wasn’t just a Founding Father and the third president of the United States; he was also a seminal figure in America’s cultural, culinary and agricultural history — including wine.
This year, the judges found just 62 of the invited wines worthy of Double Gold Medals. These Double Golds automatically became contenders for a Jefferson Cup in their respective categories. The wines were tasted by the entire group of judges and only sixteen were eventually awarded a prestigious Jefferson Cup.
Hunt Country Vineyards’ 2016 Ice Wine received its Jefferson Cup in the Dessert Wine category.
The Hunts produced their first batch of ice wine in 1987, and Hunt Country Vineyards is now the oldest continuous producer of ice wine in the United States. Crafted in the tradition of a German “eis wine”, the Vidal grapes are left on the vines deep into the winter. The Hunts wait for the fruit to freeze solid and then early one morning – before the temperature rises above 15° F in the vineyards – they pick the grapes by hand. The frozen grapes are then pressed for many hours to get a small quantity of intensely flavored juice that concentrates sweetness, flavors and acidity. The resulting wine is deep gold in color and filled with flavors of rich honey, sweet apricot and exotic fruit.
The Hunts are proud to be one of three Finger Lakes wineries that received Jefferson Awards this year, including Fox Run and Wagner vineyards.
“It really says something amazing about our region’s wineries that four out of the sixteen Jefferson Cups were awarded to wines from the Finger Lakes,” says Art Hunt, co-owner and co-founder of Hunt Country Vineyards.