North Fork winery wins Governor's Cup

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Harvest East

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Harvest East End event in Cutchogue about the importance of the East End wine industry. (Aug. 24, 2013) (Credit: Randee Daddona)

A North Fork winery that has been selling its special pinot noir and merlot for only six years was honored as New York's best Saturday night.

The winery competed against more than 800 entries across the state in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic.

At McCall Wines in Cutchogue, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo presented the owners with the Governor's Cup award for "Winery of the Year."

"It's beginner's luck," said Russell McCall, owner of the 30-acre vineyard near Great Peconic Bay.

About 1,300 people attended the charity event -- Harvest East End 2013 -- organized by the Long Island Wine Council.

The winery competed against more than 800 rivals across the state in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic.

McCall Wines, the governor said, is an example of the "many world-class wineries that have become a mainstay of Long Island's fast-growing wine industry."

The McCall family has been producing wines, specializing in pinot noir and merlot, since 2007. Their property also has a ranch that's home to white Charolais cattle.

Russell McCall said he'd never entered the Wine & Food competition before.

"I was thrilled," he said of the award. "It is a huge honor."

Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, which runs the competition, said McCall Wines won because of its wines' consistent quality. Seven varietals were judged.

"To come out on top is a very big deal," Trezise said. "They make us proud."

Saturday night's charity fundraising event showcased wines selected from 42 vineyards in the region and more than 30 chefs.

Cuomo said the state's wine industry "is taking off like a rocket."

New York ranks second in the United States for wine and grape production, and Long Island vineyards produce roughly 500,000 cases a year.

The economic impact of Long Island's wineries is also significant. In 2011, more than 1 million visitors spent $90 million in the wine-growing region, officials said.

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