It is no secret (though it may still seem that way) that The Cellar is NZ's home to the fantastic wines of New York State. I spent a good month over in New York state in the end of 2015 to do some research into the wines that have been sparking interest in the world's most influential wine markets these last few years.
There are two main regions: The Finger Lakes in the north, and Long Island (inclusive of the Hamptons). Riesling is to the Finger Lakes like Sauvignon Blanc is to Marlborough, and what has made the Finger Lakes famous the world over. It is still a fairly new wine region with grapes not planted until the early 1960s (much later than NZ!). This is not due to a lack of progression but rather the fact that it can get so cold/frost ridden up there making vine-growing difficult. The Finger Lakes is just over an hours drive from Niagara falls and the Canadian peninsula - to put the frost into perspective.
Whilst Riesling is the tour-de-force of the Finger Lakes region, there is a real interest in other hardy German grapes such as Gruner Veltliner (white), Blaufrankisch (red aka Lemberger) as well as the more traditional Pinot Noir and Chardonnays. Many of which truly fantastic and found in our selection online here!
Long Island, on the other hand, is a dramatically warmer climate in the autumn and summer seasons. That said it still gets covered with frost during the chilling winters that New York faces, it just doesn't necessarily last as long as it does in the north. Here the grapes of choice are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. So a very typical spread of grapes akin to California's outlook. The only difference being that Long Island is 100% a maritime climate which gives it the heightened acidity, lower alcohol levels and a natural balance to them - where California often gets over-ripe and jammy when not careful.
I am lucky enough to say that NZ now has one of, if not the, largest selections (in terms of producers/grape varietals present) ever to be exported from New York state. We have a range which covers dry crisp whites, juicy Pinot Noirs, meaty Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons to zesty sparkling wines and the most interesting Vermouths you'll ever try! I highly rate all of these wines (with and without bias) and can happily say that they are easily the top producers currently present in the Finger Lakes scene. Some of them are well known internationally (Hermann J Weimer and Dr Frank) and the others are incredibly boutique. Every single wine featured offers great value for money and showcases the best of New York State.