The Cayuga and Seneca Lakes Agriculture and Craft Beverage Memory Project

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Logo for Craft Beverage Memory Project
Craft Beverage Memory Project - Image Source

Collection Facts

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Historical Context

The Farm Winery Act was signed into Law on June 4, 1976. The law revolutionized the wine industry in New York State. It allowed struggling grape growers in the state to produce wine in limited quantities, annually up to 50,000 gallons initially, and sell it directly to the consumer.  It also lowered the licensing fee.  Winery tasting rooms were created to sell wine directly from the farm to the consumer.  A Farm Winery owner could also sell their wines directly to wine stores and limited satellite venues without a distributor. By selling directly to the consumer, the farmer was able to increase his or her profits to the farm. The oral history collection includes persons and producers directly involved in the creation of the Farm Winery Act, and the many wineries, cideries, distilleries, and breweries that have subsequently benefited from this Act.

Scope of Collection

The Seneca and Cayuga Lakes Agriculture and Craft Beverage Memory Project features interviews with winery owners, vineyard managers, winemakers, brewers, distillers, cider makers, and other industry specialists established between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. Several interviews include historians, and agricultural specialists, and highlight significant contributions in the field of agriculture, grape growing and winemaking. These contributions are recognized not only in the Finger Lakes, but across New York State, the United States, and the world.  A complimentary Craft Beverage Memory Project Archive has been developed to preserve the history of the craft beverage industry beginning with the Farm Winery Act of 1976. The collection contains documents, wine bottle labels and photographs which have been donated to the library by beverage producers.