Wine thriller to be filmed in Finger Lakes vineyards January 13, 2005 Oliver Styles, and Howard G Goldberg in New York
After last year's Mondovino and Sideways, wine will again hit the big screen, this time in a low-budget independent shocker to be shot this summer.
The vineyards of New York's Finger Lakes wine region will provide the backdrop to Vineyards of Death, an 'adult-oriented, mystery, action, comedy film' written and directed by Finger Lakes resident George Boyce.
French actress Sarah Desage, who recently starred in director Spike Lee's She Hate Me, is said to be starring alongside Boyce, who has cast himself in a main role. Boyce already has film experience, with multiple small roles, and as a broadcaster.
The film revolves around the murder of a winery owner, found dead in his vineyard. His widow (Desage) fights to prove her innocence with the help of a retired NYPD detective (Boyce).
Boyce says he still has not completed the script and is unlikely to have done so prior to shooting.
Shooting in Watkins Glen, also known for its motorsport links and nearby racing circuit, is scheduled to begin in mid-July and although no financial details have been released, it is understood to be a low-budget film with a small cast and crew.
Boyce is currently looking for Watkins Glen residents to lodge the team for his self-styled 'adult-oriented, mystery, action, comedy film.' Hosts are likely to be offered roles as extras in the film.
The town lies at the southern tip of 38-mile-long, 3-mile-wide Seneca Lake, whose eastern and western shores are home to the Finger Lakes' region's most outstanding winemaking. Seneca's eastern side, near Watkins Glen, produces exceptional Rieslings and Cabernet Francs.
Vineyards of Death is due for release in spring 2006.
Pension Fund Investing $100 Million in Vineyards
Finger Lakes receive West Coast investment - (18 Jun 2001)California Vintner Investing in Land Upstate
NEW YORK TIMES NEW YORK SATURDAY, JUNE 16,2001 By HOWARD G. GOLDBERG
Betting on the future of the Finger Lakes wine region, a major California grape grower is buying 105 acres of a 346-acre farm on Seneca Lake to convert the land into a vineyard.
"So far as we know, this is the first investment of California money anywhere in the New York wine industry," said James Trezise, president of the' New York Wine and Grape Foundation, a trade association in Penn Yan in the Finger Lakes.
The buyer is the Robert Young Family Limited Partnership, and the seller is Dave Christiansen, a dairy farmer for 40 years.
Chardonnays made by Chateau St. Jean, a significant Sonoma County, California, producer, from grapes bought from the Robert Young Vineyards in the Alexander Valley, have long ranked among California's most prized.
"We didn't want to miss the opportunity," said Jim Young, the vineyard manager. "The land in the Finger Lakes is ideal for grapes, prices are relatively cheap compared to anything out here and there is a shortage of grapes out there."
The parcel is being acquired for about $3,000 an acre for a total around $315,000, a bargain by California standards. I might add the value is now at over $7,700 un planted or inproved per acre !!
Land of comparable agricultural value in the Alexander Valley, in northern Sonoma County, costs $55,000 to $65,000 an acre, prompting investors to look elsewhere.
On the winegrowing North Fork of Long Island, very little farmland is available for new vines, said David J. Saland, a Jamesport, N.Y., real estate broker. "If you can get it, it goes from $25,000 to $40,000 an acre."
By contrast "the amount of land suitable for vineyards in the Finger Lakes is huge thousands of acres," Mr.. Trezise said. " About $3,000 an acre would be average $5,000 would be on the high side."
John Martini, president of the Anthony Road Wine Company, a Seneca Lake winery, and who managed the Young's' negotiations, said their initial investment, planting included, would reach at least $1.4 million.
Mr. Martini will plant, manage and harvest the new vineyard, buy its grapes and make the wine under his Anthony Road label. The fruit is to include riesling (a local forte), chardonnay, gewürztraminer, pinot gris and cabernet franc. Mr. Martini has been selling his wines in the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan for six years.
The four generation Young family, with 317 acres of vines in the Alexander Valley, has farmed in northern California since 1858. Mr. Young said he had not thought about a name for the Finger Lakes property. He doubted that a Robert Young Vineyards designation would be put on Anthony Road labels.
Although the Finger Lakes, with 68 wineries, is one of the most potentially lucrative wine regions east of the Mississippi, its wines are sold mostly upstate and have never been given the commercial and critical attention downstate that the wines from Long Island's 25 producers have received.
Pension fund invests millions in California by Adam Lechmere, and agencies 9 April 2002 A California pension fund is investing US$100 million (€114m) in vineyard lands after losing the same amount on the Enron collapse.
Calpers – the California Public Employees Retirement System – lost US$105.2m (€120m) as a result of the failure of the energy trading company. Now it has identified the Pacific Northwest wine industry, and California in particular, as a copper bottomed investment opportunity.
Despite the fact that wineries lost millions after September 11, the overall health of the industry is excellent. 2001 in California represented some US$1.8 billion (€2.05b) to vintners, and the average value of grapes has risen in the last year.
'We believe this to be an excellent investment opportunity,' William Crist, president of the Calpers board of administration said.
California produces 92% of all wines in the United States and is worth US$33 billion (€37.5b) a year to the US economy. The California portfolio of the Calpers investment will be completely in the north of the state. The southern region, stretching from Los Angeles to San Diego and including Temecula Valley, is not involved.
The investment is being overseen by fund managers Premier Pacific Vineyards, which specialises in the wine industry.
Pension Fund investing will drive up the price of land up in all the Grape Regions in the U.S.A.
Seneca Lake is the next Napa or Sonoma land rush, again look at the past.
Napa & Sonoma County Acreage Sales Statistic Since 1960
1960 $2,000 to $3,500 1970 $5,000 to $7,500 1980 $11,000 to $23,750 1990 $41,500 to $67,500 2000 $80,000 to $125,000 2001 $125,000 to $150,000