Yates County is unique in the number of lakes it fronts, the number of wineries it possesses, its extensive organic industry and the diversity of farm products it grows. Yates County is central to an ever growing wine and organic industry, and more recently local entrepreneurs have founded a number of microbreweries and its first distillery. As of 2014 there were 130 wineries in the Finger Lakes region with Yates County accounting for 35 and growing. Lesser known is the fact Yates County is home to 40+ of the more than 100 organic farms and businesses in the region.
Yates County is one of the very few places in the country where the number of farms is increasing. In 2012, there were approximately 919 farms in Yates County generating sales of approximately $117 million, up from 722 in 2002 generating approximately $50 million. This is an increase in farm revenue of over 130 percent over 10 years! These farms purchase and maintain a large amount of farm equipment and overall these enterprises spend over $40 million annually in products, services, labor, utilities and feed, in addition to requiring lots of non-agricultural support services.
In addition to being a thriving farming community, thirty five wineries call Yates County home, and the county is number two in grape growing New York State. These wineries are responsible for employing more than 750 people and contribute more than $30 million in annual economic impact in Yates County. With the more recent addition of 4 microbreweries, numerous growers of hops, and a distillery, Yates County is becoming a real player of the fast growing craft beverage industry.
With over 1,700 acres of vineyards, Yates County is the second largest grape grower, despite being the smallest county in New York. The Yates county economy boasts some of the most highly regarded winery operations in the United States and the world. We have 35 wineries and two wine trails, numbers that cannot be matched by any other area in New York. A quick shot snapshot from 2010 is sure to impress:
- 35 International and National award winning wineries
- Estimated 2010 retail wine sales of $17.9 million
- Economic impact of wine sales on the county of $41.1 million
- Over 802 full and part time employees
Despite its small size, Yates County is growing more organic products than any other county in New York and was dubbed as New York’s organic capital by former Governor Spitzer. Organic farming has reached a critical mass in Yates County with over 40 organic farms and businesses growing hay, grain, milk, berries, vegetables, and other products for sale to buyers inside and outside of the region. The scale in organics that we have achieved is vital, as it facilitates the transition of even more non-organic farms looking to transition into organic production because the know now to do this is already here in the community..
In addition to production and dairy farms, Yates County houses lavender farms, wineries and numerous food storage and processing facilities that are all certified organic. There continues to be a number of local outlets that carry organic goods, including wholesale bulk food stores, many wineries, the Finger Lakes Produce Auction, and The Windmill Farm and Craft Market.