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Culinary skills

SUNY Adirondack culinary students prepare food Wednesday at the Adirondack Culinary Arts building in Queensbury. Partial ticket proceeds from a June wine and food festival in Lake George will go to the SUNY Adirondack Foundation.

LAKE GEORGE  In this region, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for wine — and other beverages.

At the upcoming Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, at least a dozen wineries will be pouring samples along with several distilleries and breweries at an outdoor farmers market-type setup.

Also, the two-day sampling event has a growing list of vendors that include local gourmet food producers, food trucks and a few carefully selected beverage crafters.

The bigger picture vision for the event — the first of its kind in the first full season of the festival space at Charles R. Wood Park — is to reverberate a message to the Northeast and beyond that this region boasts a cornucopia of beverage and food makers. The Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail now lists 14 wineries while the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail and Map now has 22 stops. Though the region isn’t known like other areas of the state for grape growing, it has cultivated talent and enthusiasm for the product.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Adirondack Winery President Sasha Pardy. “It’s a mix of farm vineyards and sourced grapes.”

On Wednesday, Adirondack Festivals LLC, a company formed by Adirondack Winery owners Michael and Sasha Pardy, teamed with the SUNY Adirondack Culinary Arts Program for an announcement of what to expect at the festival planned for the weekend of June 27 and 28 at the Charles R. Wood Park festival space.

The festival is a milestone for the winery, which is celebrating its seventh year with a new branding initiative and growing distribution and wine list.

“I think a lot of this is bringing new energy to our village,” said Carmela Mastrantoni, whose family owns the Lake George Olive Oil Co., one of the vendors.

Robin McDougall, who owns Lake George Distilling Co., with her husband John, on Route 149 in Fort Ann, said they make spirits with New York grains and non-GMO corn. She said the festival will provide great exposure.

Pardy said they hope to attract at least 3,000 people and generate 750-room rentals based on experience with other festivals and the fact that it will be summer in Lake George.

“We know it’ll draw folks from all over the Northeast, giving them another reason to make Lake George their vacation destination in 2015,” Pardy said, adding that industry studies show wine-related tourists household incomes are roughly 14 percent higher than average tourists. The New York Wine and Grape Foundation estimates the wine industry — 400 wineries — has an annual $4.8 billion economic impact on the state.

Organizers hope to make this an annual event and will be funneling resources into the next year while donating partial ticket proceeds to the SUNY Adirondack Foundation.

Tickets in advance cost $20 and are $25 at the gate. Each comes with a souvenir glass and tastings. Designated driver tickets cost $10.

SUNY Adirondack Foundation Assistant Director Jill Vogel said it was a natural fit for the growing culinary program, and the foundation will help provide volunteers for the festival.

The students will have a tent where they will be preparing and selling food using vendor products at the festival. Culinary program instructor Matthew Bolton said the students will use as much in-season local ingredients as possible.

The event received $13,500 in occupancy tax money through Warren County and the town and village of Lake George.

For updated and ticket purchase information, visit www.adirondackwineandfoodfestival.com.

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Follow Amanda May Metzger on Twitter @AmandaWhistle and read her blog at poststar.com/app/blogs.

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