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Dave Vaala
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I started working in the Hunt Country tasting room about two years ago while working on a degree in environmental science at RIT. I don't speak on behalf of Hunt Country or any of the members of the Hunt family but as a person with an environmental/ecological background. That said, I despise the word sustainability. It is the sexy megafauna of green business and environmental practices. People want to slap "sustainable" on everything but the problem (in my opinion) is that it is not a small scale appellation. Sustainability requires many working parts. For a single company (in this discussion, a winery) to be considered sustainable is an incredibly tall order. Should it be pursued? absolutely; for every step forward is a step closer. Hunt Country Vineyards, as I see it is simply a piece of the community acting locally and thinking globally (for instance, 100% of their wines come from New York State grapes), which has always been the take home message of sustainability for me. As Suzanne pointed out the Hunts are constantly on a quest to find new ways to improve their farm's environmental approach. Their excitement in new approaches is not limited to the environmental footprint of their farm but also in the products they produce as a business. It seems as if HCV always has a new hybrid growing in some small corner of the vineyard. The winery is always willing to give a new grape a shot, after all that's the history of winemaking. Everyone knows Riesling, it has its own month here in the Finger Lakes (May). Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region have a reputation of high quality but that isn't groundbreaking information. Valvin Muscat however is still in its infancy yet it surprises many of the people who come into the winery and try it; and that is exciting. It is a great feeling to pour a varietal/grape that a customer has never heard of and to see them truly enjoy it. Is Valvin Muscat the next Riesling? Who knows (that is a tall order). But it takes time for something so new to find its place in an industry that is so large. Not many people were clammoring for more of Johnny Depp after Nightmare on Elm Street....