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North Country becoming wine country for local grape growers

And, so far, it's working, said Davis. In fact, Cornell University has found success with cold-hardy grape growing in the Western New York city of Geneva and in Minnesota.

"Our trial here at the Willsboro farm is really looking at some of these new varieties and some of the experimental wines that haven't even been released yet. So, it is fairly new," said Davis. "We're really just starting to see some of these varieties available for northern wine production."

The results of the trials at the Willsboro farm - which have included French hybrid white grapes and red grapes - have been impressive, said Davis, and even more so when Lamoy won awards for entries using the grapes grown there.

"I really didn't know what to expect in terms of quality," admitted Davis. "But, in the Champlain Valley, we have sort of a unique climate that seems to be pretty well-adapted for grape growing. And, I think Richard is really talented in terms of his ability to make wine. So, I wasn't surprised he won from that perspective. He knows a lot about it."

That's because Lamoy has been dabbling in grape growing and winemaking since the late 1970s, becoming more serious about the endeavor about four years ago. The research conducted at the E.V. Baker Farm is much like the work Lamoy does at Hid-In Pines Vineyard, a three-acre vineyard he owns in Morrisonville.

"The preliminary research here," said Lamoy, "is showing the potential for different varieties to respond to different training system and canopy management combinations. Cold-hardy grapes can be a valuable crop for Northern New York and I am pleased to contribute to research that adds to our ability to grow them."

Lamoy plans to apply for his winery license and enter wine made from his own 2009 harvest in the 2010 WineMaker contest.

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