New York’s Finger Lakes takes home “Best of Show” in San Diego

Vineyard Finger LakesWhile many New Yorkers may be familiar with the wines produced in the Finger Lakes a.v.a the rest of the wine going nation was just introduced to the region in a big way last week.

A quick primer: The Finger Lakes are 11 glacial lakes located in Upstate New York spanning the area between Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca.  The Finger Lakes a.v.a is massive at just over 2.6 million acres however there are only 11,000 acres under vine.Finger Lakes New York In addition the sub a.v.a’s of Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake are located inside of Finger Lakes a.v.a.  There are over 200 wineries located in the Finger Lakes area.  The deep lakes, some over 600 feet deep, create a moderating lake effect and cool climate which is often compared to Germany’s Rhine.

Over 1,600 wines were entered in the 28th annual San Diego International Wine Competition.  A panel of 28 judges including sommeliers, wine makers and wine writers awarded 669 silver medals, 205 gold medals and 66 platinum medals.

3 of those gold medals were awarded to Dr Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars.  Dr Frank moved to New York from Europe in 1951 and by 1962 he founded Vinifera Cellars and quickly put the Finger Lakes region on the map as capable of producing world class wines.  Dr Frank is credited with pioneering grafting European vitis vinifera onto native rootstock.  The three gold medals were for the 2009 Gewurztraminer Reserve, the 2008 Rkatsiteli and the 2010 Riesling semi dry.  You may be wondering what a Rkatsiteli is…it is one of the oldest varietals and dates back to 3000 b.c. in what is now known as Georgia (eastern Europe)

Finger Lakes Vineyard

Winter vines at Casa Larga

Casa Larga Vineyards took home 2 of the 66 platinum medals for their 2008 Cabernet Franc ice wine and their 2007 vidal blanc ice wine.  Casa Larga was founded in 1974 and is now one of the leading producers of ice wines in the region.

And last but not least is Belhurst Estate.  Belhurst Estate took home a platinum medal for their 2009 Dry Riesling, Seneca Lake.  But wait there’s more, this wine also took home “Best Riesling”.  But wait! there’s even more!  This wine also took home the “Best of Show White Wine” award.

Seneca Lake New York

Belhurst Castle

Belhurst Estate Winery is located in a castle over looking Seneca lake.  The Winery is popular tourist destination for the setting as well as the wine.

This year’s San Diego International Wine competition introduced the wine going public to many wines from regions less well known including the Finger Lakes and even Mexico ( read this post on the $5 Rose that won best Rose ) Have you tried any of the New York wines, any from the Finger Lakes a.v.a?

Links: Dr. Konstantin Frank Casa Larga Vineyards Belhurst Estate

San Diego International Wine competition results

Photos courtesy of Meg Colombo

Devoured Culinary Classic ready to woo and wow!

Calgary PhotographerDevoured (  Independently edible award-winning culinary event, a showcase of Arizona’s finest local restaurants, chefs, wineries and industry purveyors in a distinctly Phoenix setting.  Hosted by Phoenix Art Museum, benefiting Local First Arizona and Phoenix Art Museum, and produced by R Entertainment Co.


Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N. Central Ave) Central Avenue and McDowell Rd.

Dorrance Sculpture Garden and Great Hall

  • FREE Parking
  • METRO Lightrail: McDowell Rd/Central Ave stop


Friday Saturday & Sunday, March 11, 12 & 13

Fri., March 11, Devoured *Palette to Palate, 7:30pm (limited to 250 guests)

New this year at Devoured. Phoenix Art Museum Great Hall

An adventurous pairing of artists & chefs – developed by Local First Arizona & the Men’s Arts Council of Phoenix Art Museum. Integrating harmonious styles of food & art – and exploring the results! Featuring St. Francis Chef Aaron Chamberlin & painter James Angel; Petite Maison Chef James Porter & painter Randy Slack; Caffé Boa Chef Payton Curry & painter Geoffrey Gersten; Barrio Café Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza & painter Lalo Cota

*heavy hors d’oeuvres & Arizona wines

Sat. & Sun., March 12 & 13, Devoured Culinary Classic, 11am-4pm

A grand tour of Arizona’s finest culinary talents & pioneering winemakers…Taste, discover & meet them – up close & personal.


Devoured, a grand culinary experience…at a remarkable value

Tickets & Information at

Tickets via or call 1.866.977.6849

Daily Tickets.  $59 through March 11; $69 at the door.

Two-day Tickets.  $90 in advance through March 11. $118 at the door.

Weekend Pass. (3days). $118 through March 11

Museum Members.  2-days $90. Members call 602.257.2124


SubZero/Wolf Ferguson’s Chef Demonstration Stage


11:30 – Jacques Qualin, J&G Steakhouse

12:30 – Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café

1:30 – Anthony Dias Blue – James Beard Award winner & among world’s leading wine experts…Mr. Blue talk Arizona Wine scene

2:30 – Julia Baker, Julia Baker Confections

3:30 – Aaron May, Vitamin T


11:30 – Payton Curry, Guerrilla Gourmet

12:30 – Bernie Kantak, Citizen Public House, with mixologist Richie Moe

1:30 – Matt Smith, Boa Bistro/Caffé Boa, with Empty Glass Wines

2:30 – Justin Beckett, Beckett’s Table

*each chef’s dish featured with a suggested wine pairing

AJ’S Fine Foods Dessert Lounge. A new feature inside Phoenix Art Museum’s Great Hall featuring AJ’s bakery specialties; Urban Cookies, Delicious Dishes and Espressions Coffee Roastery.

Musical Entertainment


11:00am – What Laura Says

1:30pm – Hot Birds and the Chili Sauce


11:00am – Steve Ansel & The Jackson Street Band

12:15pm – Roger Clyne (& promoting his new tequila, Mexican Moonshine)

1:30pm – Calumet


In its debut year, Devoured was named 2010 Critic’s Choice for culinary events by The Arizona Republic. Additionally…

  • Named Best Culinary Festival 2010 by Phoenix New Times
  • Named one of 5 Best Dining Developments of 2010 by The Arizona Republic’s food & restaurant critic Howard Seftel, (second only to reopening of Nobuo at Teeter House).
  • “Here’s the excuse you were looking for to put your diet on hiatus…” – Jess Harter, East Valley Tribune
  • “Tasty treats can be found at just about any festival, but true foodies should seek out Devoured Phoenix…” WHERE Magazine