Dixon Schwabl CEO Lauren Dixon discussed the regional importance of the wine and craft beer industry highlighted by this year’s Finger Lakes Riesling & Craft Beer Festival set for August 8 and 9 in Canandiagua during our Why ROC conversation Wednesday on News 8 at Sunrise.

The festival will be held at the New York Wine & Culinary Center and along the Canandaigua City Pier.  Nearly 20 wineries, 12 breweries, Yancy’s Fancy Cheese and 16 food vendors will be featured, along with 50 other vendors with a variety of goods. 

The grape and wine industry generates more than $4.8 billion annually for New York State’s economy, and the Finger Lakes accounts for about 75 percent of that total with more than 130 wineries.  In addition, the craft beer industry is booming, generating $19.6 billion annually and rising.  The industry grew 59 percent from 2013 to 2014 as the state loosened regulations.  Dixon, the co-founder of the Finger Lakes Riesling & Craft Beer Festival, said the number of craft breweries more than doubled from 2012 to January of this year from 95 to 207.

Riesling grapes and wines thrive in the Finger Lakes because of our cool climate, with vineyards on sloping hillsides that generally have a thin layer of topsoil covering shale left by Ice Age glaciers.  The conditions are similar to the famous wine regions of Germany, where the Riesling originated according to Jim Trezise of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

The festival reflects the growth and the importance of the wine and craft beer industries in our region.  As thousands gather to celebrate in August, two area non profits – the Canandaigua YMCA and New York Wine & Culinary Center – will also benefit from proceeds.

For more information about the festival, visit the Riesling Festival website, click here.  

For more information about Greater Rochester Enterprise, click here.