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Otsego County Wine Tourism

Tourism is the life-blood of Otsego County. People come from all over to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Glimmerglass Opera. Now other industries are cropping up to lure in the tourists.
Tourism is the life-blood of Otsego County. People come from all over to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Glimmerglass Opera. Now other industries are cropping up to lure in the tourists. Many vineyards in the Finger Lakes region lost 100-pet of their crop because of the winter weather. But closer to home, the Rustic Ridge Winery, is holding out hope for summer with lost of tourism. The stock market crashed in 2008, and millions lost their jobs. Rick Bennett was one of them.
"I got laid off the day before Thanksgiving, 2008, I took some online business classes, started the next week, I did that through the winter, started building in the spring and I opened up two years to the day, day before Thanksgiving, 2010," he said.
Being laid off was a blessing in disguise he says--allowing him to pursue a passion--wine.
"This is our best seller, this is our Wildcat this is made from a sweet Catawba," he said.
He built the winery on the dairy farm he grew up on--it's now part of the Cooperstown Beverage trail, made up of several breweries and wineries. Starting a vineyard can be a long process, the grapevines take about four years to reach that size and that's about how old they have to be to produce grapes. That means Bennett has not yet been able to make his own wine---he's hoping the harsh winter, didn't ruin what he's been working towards.
"I think mine will be ok because they're a hearty grape," he said.
The winery is one of the many Otsego County businesses that rely on summer-time baseball tourists.
"Every week they bring in 104 little league teams from all over the country, after a couple days of watching baseball, I get a lot of the mothers sisters aunts they're all looking something else to do so I end up with them then," he said.
This year's impressive class of Hall of Fame inductees, means more cash flow for the local economy and Rick hopes, more visitors at the Rustic Ridge Winery. That winery is open daily, but business not expected to be picking up until May. There are seven stops on the Cooperstown Beverage Trail. Here is the link to check them out: http://www.cooperstownbeveragetrail.com/
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