There are lots of metrics showing the success of the New York grape and wine industry–growth in the number of wineries, multiplication of tourist visits, increasing reputation for quality wines–but perhaps none is more important than the number of young people who are jumping or diving into this business.

This is quite rare among agricultural businesses, where the younger generation has gone to college and left the farm to pursue other professions.  But the grape and wine industry shows great future promise as the next generation gets its feet wet and hands dirty in the business that outsiders see as “romantic” but in reality is lots of hard work and high risk–but with really good people and products as the reward.

Some of the younger generation came from families already in the business like Brittany Bagley, Jason and Pindar Damianos, Matt Doyle, Jason Hazlitt, Jonathan Hunt, Peter Martini, Kareem Massoud, Evan Miles, Jonathan Oakes, Rob Smith, Ben Stamp, and Greg Tones.  Others like Justin Boyette, Jeffrey Dill and Matt Whalen have entered from different routes.  And some (Peter Martini, Rob Smith, Greg Tones) are graduates of the superb LEAD NY program training the agricultural leaders of tomorrow.

This is just a quick, top-of-the-head list, and we are working on identifying the many other young people who will carry this industry forward.  The fact that they have cast their lot with the grape and wine industry is a strong vote of confidence in the future.

I hope to publish an extensive list of the new generation in the near future, and don’t want to leave anyone out, so please feel free to let me know of others that I may not know about.