Everyone has those long days at work, and when they're over, some just want to sit back and have a drink. But did you ever wonder where that drink is coming from? We visit with a new vineyard and a more familiar brewery. Both agree there's no better place for their business and ingredients than right here in Central New York.
"'We like to make uncommon wines in an uncommon region is what we like to say," says Ben Reilley, Director of Operations at Owera Vineyards.
"'Watch people's reactions when they try our wines and they say whoa wait a minute, you're in Syracuse making this? Absolutely," says Kristie Fondario, Director of Sales at Owera Vineyards.
The Owera Vineyards opened up shop 3 years ago.
"'We are in Cazenovia making wine, that is unusual," says Fondario.
So how do they do it?
"'We have Marquette and Frontenac Gris grapes. And those are actually Minnesota cold hearty varietals, so that they can withstand temperatures here in Cazenovia," says Reilley.
And these grapes can withstand up to 40 degrees below, so Central New York weather is no problem.
"'We can let these hang all the way through the winter, we can make an ice wine with them, we can harvest them in the dead of February if we wanted to," says Reilley.
Owera makes reds, whites, and blush wines. In just a few short years, they've already won 20 awards and are expanding each day.
"'We started with 3500 hundred gallon and this year we're doing 9000 gallons so that's huge for us," says Fondario.
But Owera is all about keeping their product right here. That's why they self distribute to area liquor stores all over Central New York.
"'We want to surround where people might be coming from; from Utica, from Oneida, from Rome, and we want to make sure we're in those stores so when people come to Cazenovia on a Sunday, they can pick up their favorite wines on a Tuesday," says Reilley.
And while you're at the store picking up your wine, you may also see a lot of beer options.
"'This brewery has been here since 1888 and we've been around through a lot of tough times and I think it really speaks something to have a product that really has made national headlines right here from Central New York," says Meghan Fraser, public relations for F.X. Matt Brewing Company.
Here's a name that might ring a bell: Saranac.
"'We're able to use the same hops that really were growing since the early 1800s so we have a brewery that was founded then, we have a hop farm that has a rich heritage dating back to the 1800s, so to us, we think it's really special to support a local farm while making a local beer," says Fraser.
Just one century ago, New York State was the largest hop growing area in the country. And one hops specialist says there's been a revival of interest.
"We have a lot of craft brewers and micro-brewers. There's over 100 in the state now," says Steve Miller, New York State hop specialist at Cornell University.
And Steve Miller says that's spurring more local interest in hop farming.
"Growers are able to sell on a much smaller scale because they couldn't sell to the major brewers, we didn't have enough acreage. But with all the new micro-brewers, we were able to sell those people," says Miller.
He says its a full circle effect when it comes to the Central New York economy.
"There's jobs not only with the brewers, but also jobs for people growing hops, and processing them, and even people building equipment to help supply the hop growers," says Miller.
"'We have this little saying that all things come back to Utica. We've always been here, we're not going anywhere and I think that is just really something that Central New York and really New York state as a while should take pride in," says Fraser.
So, the next time you're at your favorite liquor or grocery store, take a look around. You may be surprised at the products grown and made right here in Central New York.