If you follow the wine industry in the Finger Lakes, you know that Riesling is a big part of the story. The community of people who grow the grapes and make the wines is tight knit, not only in our region, but around the world as well.
"So, there's these international conference that occur once per year in far flung places around the Riesling world and draw a pretty star-studded to wherever they're meeting to talk about the history of the grape, the current state of the grape, and given climate change and the fact that this is an agricultural product, where things are headed for."
Kelby James Russell is the winemaker at Red Newt Cellars and co-leader of FLXCursion. They’re bringing that annual Riesling event to the Finger Lakes this July. That’s a pretty big deal for the region.
"We thing of it as, the international coming out party for the Finger Lakes. This is a huge deal. It's something that a lot of us have worked on for a long time, for generation to be frank, bringing the region up in its stature and the wines we've been working on. And, this is the first real conference that's going to happen here that brings in a who's who of wine reviewers and wine producers, really kind of recognizing us as one of their own."
And it’s not just a PR exercise. The professionals who come to FLXCursion will be arriving in the Finger Lakes to do some serious work.
"This is really a chance for winemakers to get together, journalists to get together, researchers from Cornell and wine universities from around to get together and talk about any number of different subjects. We decided for this conference that we wanted to make things a little bit more exciting, maybe play off the fact that the Finger Lakes is an exotic locale to many people coming in. So, rather than do the normal, this is a dry Riesling seminar, this is a semi-dry Riesling seminar, we're doing tastings of Rieslings based on soil type from around the world and taking people to those soil types within the Finger Lakes to show off our own prowess and capabilities in that arena. And, other seminars on sulfur use in Riesling, and climate change in Riesling, and avant garde grapes grown in Riesling regions. We call ourselves the Off Broadway conference for Riesling."
There will be a component of FLXCursion for the public as well. On Sunday, July 21st there will be a Grand Tasting of Rieslings from around the world. That event will be held at the FLX Welcome Center. You can find more information at FLXCursion.com.