Tierce 'Brothers' go to Washington...or at least their wine does

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Sen. Chuck Schumer (third from left) with Tierce winemakers (from left) Peter Bell, David Whiting and Johannas Reinhardt at the announcement that the Tierce 2010 Dry Riesling will be served at the Jan. 21 Inauguration Luncheon.

The Tierce Brothers go to Washington — or at least their celebrated Seneca Lake wine is going. Tierce 2010 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling will be served at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon on Jan. 21, 2013.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, made the announcement at Century Liquor and Wines in Rochester Jan. 9, saying Tierce Riesling will be served with the first course; a steamed lobster tail with New England clam chowder sauce.

Schumer noted that this Dry Riesling is a special example of New York's finest wines because it is made from the superb Finger Lakes 2010 Riesling vintage produced among three Upstate New York vineyards: Anthony Road Winery and Fox Run Vineyards, both from Yates County, and Red Newt Cellars from Schuyler County. The choice will be a boon for New York's wine industry, which is a significant part of the agricultural economy in Upstate New York, supporting thousands of jobs.

Anthony Road owner John Martini says Schumer contacted Jim Trezise, executive director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation based in Canandaigua, to choose a broad range of wines from all over New York for consideration by a committee made up of the spouses of senators and representatives and the chefs who would be preparing the luncheon. After weighing the menu, only the very best of wines were chosen. Once the selection was made, the three wineries volunteered to donate eight cases of the wine for the inauguration.

"We're very excited that Tierce was chosen," says Martini, "first because it is a feather in the cap for all Finger Lakes wines, and second because it is such a collaborative effort between our winemakers. Too bad the Congress can't collaborate like our wineries can," he adds with a wry chuckle.

Martini says that despite the recognition and the fact that Tierce is always a very limited production, they have no intention of raising the price at the wineries. Schumer said that the choice of a Finger Lakes wine will be a boon for New York's wineries across the state. New York wineries are a significant part of the agricultural economy in New York, supporting thousands of jobs.

"President Obama, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Cabinet will all get a taste of New York's finest wines with the Tierce 2010 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling. I'm pleased to be able to showcase these fantastic New York companies," said Schumer last week.

"Tierce, a dry Riesling, is a unique collaboration among winemakers from Anthony Road Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, (both in Yates County) and Red Newt Cellars (in Schuyler County)," said Trezise. "Each winery made a batch of Riesling from the superb 2010 vintage, then the winemakers spent a full day tasting different blends until they settled on the one they decided was best. The 2010 Tierce has won awards and accolades around the world, and is symbolic of the spontaneous cooperation among Finger Lakes wine producers."

Schumer unveiled further details of the Inaugural luncheon in which the products will be featured and was joined by Anthony Road Winery owners John and Ann Martini and Winemaker Johannes Reinhardt, Fox Run Vineyard owner Scott Osborn and Winemaker Peter Bell, and Red Newt Cellars owner and Winemaker David Whiting.

Tierce has been produced as a collaborative effort between these three wineries since 2005 to showcase the region's world-class wine. Since 2005, each vintage of Tierce has been a Riesling, except for 2007 when they produced a Tierce red. A total of 180 cases of the 2010 Tierce were produced.

In addition to the Tierce 2010 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling, the luncheon menu will feature a number of New York products, including Seaway Trail Honey with the third course, a Hudson Valley apple pie with sour cream ice cream, and aged cheddar cheese. The apples are from Golden Harvest Orchards in Valatie, Columbia County. Cooperstown Cheese Company, in Otsego, will supply the cheese. Crown Maple Syrup of Dutchess County will also be incorporated in the dessert course.

Another of the wines to be served also hails from New York. A 2009 merlot from Bedell Cellars, from North Fork of Long Island, will be served alongside the second course.

The luncheon menu reflects Schumer's choice of a theme for the 57th Inaugural Ceremonies. "Faith in America's Future" commemorates the United States' perseverance and unity and marks the sesquicentennial year of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the new Capitol Dome in 1863.

When the Civil War threatened to bring construction of the Dome to a halt, workers pressed onward, even without pay, until Congress approved additional funding to complete the Dome that would become a symbol of unity and democracy to the entire world.

The menu features American agricultural products that have long been popular in our cuisine, but with an added modern touch. It is a celebration of American farms and agriculture, with a nod to their bright future and continued place in our culture.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is responsible for the oversight and planning of the Presidential Inauguration and related ceremonies on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Members of JCCIC are appointed by the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. In accordance with tradition, the Senate representatives on JCCIC are Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rules Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer, and Rules Committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander. The House members of JCCIC are Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Congress established the date of the 2013 Inauguration as Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, since Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday. This is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally mandated Inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday.

The last time was for President Ronald Reagan's second Inauguration in 1985. When this occurs, the public ceremonies traditionally are held on Monday. Jan. 21, 2013 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It will be the second time that this federal holiday has coincided with a Presidential Inauguration. The first was President Bill Clinton's second Inauguration in 1997.

Includes reporting by John Christensen.