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Northforker file photo
Northforker file photo

The Long Island Wine Council will soon tout the region’s award-winning wines to people halfway around the world, thanks to a $285,000 grant from New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council.

Expanding on the wine council’s current Access East End promotion — which targets the metro New York City area — the funds will help attract tourists from Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan and Sweden, and import more New York wine to those countries.

Ads highlighting Long Island’s quality wines and the region’s proximity to New York City will be placed in wine publications in those countries, according to Steve Bate, executive director of the wine council.

“We want to remind wine and food tourists that we are here and get them to try the wines when they come to New York,” Bate said, adding that the wine council has previously done limited advertising in the U.K.

About two-thirds of the grant will go toward marketing efforts and the rest will go toward hosting events, Bate said.

The PR push will benefit local vintners in two ways, Bate said. It will promote tourism and raise awareness of Long Island wines to oenophiles living in other countries.

“We continue to want tourism traffic out here. Long Island has been gaining stature internationally as a region,” he said. “The other part is to generate even more awareness of our region.”

A portion of the grant will also allow the wine council to translate its website, LIwines.com, into languages other than English.

The grant was part of $709.2 million in economic and community development funding that will be distributed statewide. The awards were announced on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been a champion of the local adult beverage industry since taking office on 2010, Bate noted. His administration has relaxed State Liquor Authority regulations on wineries and the governor has also created the Taste New York initiative and hosted beer, wine, spirits and cider summits.

“Four years ago we decided to take a different approach on economic development – emphasizing cooperation and investing in local assets instead of continuing the State’s old and ineffective top-down mentality,” Gov. Cuomo said in statement. “That’s what the Regional Councils are all about, and today is proof that they are continuing to drive an economic renaissance in every region of the State.”

Also included in the state grants was $59,300 awarded to East End Arts to help finance Long Island Wine Country’s annual Winterfest festival. The event features live music at local wineries over six winter weekends.

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