Wood and Wine

by Mark Stash

I can’t help myself. The lyrics from a Monty Python song of “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK, I sleep all night and I work all day,” come to mind when I’m reading a feature article in this issue. The Macedon Center Lumberjack Festival is coming September 8 and 9 this year, and it’s an event that’s different and very entertaining (see page 44). Both men and women compete, and their skill level and athleticism are showcased through axe, saw, and wood.

The New York State Lumberjack Association had several events in 2018, starting in May in Bath, July in Hancock, August in Stony Creek and Owego, and finally the September event in Macedon Center.

The Finger Lakes may not have the traditional history of logging and lumberjacks like the Adirondacks and Catskills, but at one time there were vast forests of white pine, hemlock and spruce that covered the entire state of New York. Deciduous trees were mixed in with many of these conifers as well. In this region, it was mostly cleared by Native Americans for farming purposes, and then by Europeans who moved in to colonize and also farm the region. The soil in the Finger Lakes is good for growing crops of all sorts, including grapes.

Growing grapes is a complicated process. A lot of factors come into play, and soil acidity is one of the most important, along with climate, typography, geology and weather. The Finger Lakes Region tends to have a diverse array of types of grapes that are grown, probably more so than any other area in eastern North America. Because of this, winemakers enjoy a virtual smorgasbord of wines that they can produce. The region is traditionally known for its whites, especially Riesling. And reds are starting to make some headway as well, competing with the best of western vineyards in California and other states.

We’ve focused on that delicious beverage in this issue to showcase some of the wineries and wines. Although we are only scratching the surface when it comes to Finger Lakes wines, we hope that the article on page 28 will give you a taste of what you can enjoy when you hit the road and visit these delightful businesses.


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