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New life being breathed into grapegrowers association

For the skeptics who are unsure of how grapes can grow in the area, much less make wine, McDowell explained what is unique about the North Country that allows for these grapes to grow successfully.

"[The area] is one of the sunniest, driest areas of the state," he said, although this year may not have seemed the case. "It's probably one of the poorer grape growing years we've seen, but we finished harvesting this weekend ... and we had extraordinary quality."

Low altitude and good soil also contribute to a positive growing environment.

Today, there are four wineries licensed in the area, with the pioneer winery being Stone House Vineyard in Mooers, owned by Phil and Bonnie Favereau.

"The Champlain Valley has the ideal climate and terrain for growing cold-hardy grapes and is becoming New York State's newest quality wine-making region," according to LCGGA.

For more information about the association, contact Dan Vesco at 846-8544.

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