It is harvest season for grape growers in the Finger Lakes and utilizing the grapes in their best condition is vital for the wine making process. Tuesday, Congressman Tom Reed announced legislation has been signed into law that will help ensure the grape crop is properly used. Our Bill Mich has the details.
BURDETT, N.Y. -- For grape farmers, getting their crop to processing facilities as quickly as possible after harvest is a critical step in the wine making and grape juice making process.
"The grapes sit in a truck a long time in tight containers, you lose the quality. That's why we have to get them there," said Ted Marks, the owner of Atwater Estate Vineyards.
But previous federal regulations said during harvest season, farm trucks were only allowed to travel a maximum of 100 miles a day, making it hard for some Finger Lakes grape growers and farmers to reach a processing facility in time.
"We were successful in getting a provision put into the final highway bill that went into effect on October 1st this year to relieve our farmers, our grape growers from some hour of service requirements when it comes to their covered farm vehicles," said Congressman Tom Reed.
The new law will allow farmers to travel up to 150 miles a day during harvest season with the ultimate goal of not losing any of the grape crop because of a time crunch. And the congressman went on to add that this new measure goes well beyond just the grapes.
"As we all know, growing up here in the Finger Lakes and in Western New York, this is the way of life. The wine industry, grape growers represent a way of life and we believe that this is going to go a long way in making sure that those jobs and that way of life are protected for generations to come," Reed said.
The perishable nature of grapes means timing is everything for the growers and these 50 extra miles could make a big difference in what their crop can produce each harvest season.
Congressman Tom Reed will be looking for reelection this November and will be opposed on the ballot by Democrat Nate Shinagawa.