Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon...Oregon Pinot Noir...Long Island Merlot... Finger Lakes Riesling--just a few of the regions that have become famous by adopting a "signature wine" that they can do consistently well across vintages and wineries.
And now a group of Hudson Valley wineries has decided to hitch their wagon to Cabernet Franc, a medium-bodied red wine that grows well in the cool-climate region and is rapidly increasing in popularity.
Spearheading the effort, Doug and Mary Ellen Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery, along with the publishers of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, spread the idea and received an eager audience of industry colleagues. As a result, the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition was formed to encourage more vineyard plantings of the grape and boost recognition of the region's distinctive Cabernet Franc wines. (In other parts of the State, there are the Long Island Merlot Alliance, and the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance focused on Riesling.)
Used primarily in a cameo role as a blending grape in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc has become increasingly popular among New York producers due to its cold-hardy nature, medium body, food friendliness, and other characteristics. Coincidentally, it is one of the "parents" of both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties.
Some people fear that choosing a "signature wine" will type-cast a region as a one-trick pony, but long experience has proven otherwise. What it does ideally is draw attention to the region for consistent quality of that wine as an enticement to try others. Works like a charm.
Best wishes for success to our Hudson Valley colleagues.