Senator Valesky And Assemblyman Magee Push Legislation Touting New York State Wine

David J. Valesky

March 22, 2005

State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) and Assemblyman William Magee (D-Nelson) have introduced legislation that will allow New York winemakers to note the high levels of antioxidants on the labels of New York wines sold within the state.

Studies have long shown the link between moderate red wine consumption and increased heart health, with benefits attributed to naturally occurring antioxidants like resveratrol. A recent study by Cornell University found that the red wines produced in New York State have even higher levels of resveratrol than wines produced in other states.

In particular, the Pinot Noir wines produced in New York contain more resveratrol than similar wine produced in California and abroad. New York’s Merlot and Cabernet Franc wines also showed higher levels of the antioxidant than similar wines produced elsewhere. Researchers attribute the higher concentrations to New York’s humid climate.

"This bill will let local winemakers tout the existence of antioxidants on New York wines," said Valesky, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. "People need to know that the wines produced right here in New York State have even higher levels of antioxidants than other wines."

"We know New York produces the best quality and best tasting wine," said Assemblyman Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. "And now we can say that New York wine, in moderation of course, provides greater health benefits. By permitting New York wineries to market wines with the antioxidant content noted on the label it will also serve to highlight our wines in a competitive market where we compete with wine from all around the world."

The wine and grape industry is an essential part of the state economy, with New York State ranking third in total wine and juice grape production. Over 200 wineries and more than 960 family-owned vineyards produce 200,000,000 bottle of wine annually.

"These labels will help sell a wonderful New York product, and that will benefit the state economy," said Senator Valesky. "Moderate wine consumption is good for your health and it’s also good for the state economy."