PORTLAND - The new Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory on Route 20 in Portland was the center of attention Tuesday as the official ribbon cutting ceremony of the $5.4 million state-funded facility took place.
State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, and state Assemblyman Bill Parment, D-North Harmony, shared the spotlight as both were identified as being responsible for obtaining the state funding for the facility, which features 50 acres of vineyards for scientists to conduct research to increase grape productivity for wine and juice industries.
Research will also be conducted to develop economically and environmentally sound, sustainable vineyard practices. Parment and Sen. Young agree on the purpose of the new facility and its value to the grape industry.
State Sen. Cathy Young and state Assemblyman Bill Parment help cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the new Cornell Lake Erie Research & Extension Laboratory. Also pictured are Tom Burr, associate dean and director, college of Agriculture and Life Science, Cornell University; Susan Hardy, Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University and NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets Deputy Commissioner Jackie Moody-Czub.
Photo by Joan Josephson
Jim and Penny Deakin, Portland residents and grape farmers, stand outside the new Cornell Lake Erie Research & Extension Laboratory facility built on the vineyard property they formerly owned.
Photo by Joan Josephson
"I'm really excited and impressed with this building with its function and purpose. It's a great day for the grape industry," he said.
The state-funded facility provides researchers with state-of-the-art equipment to study the science of vines and wines.
Research and extension staff from Cornell and Pennsylvania State University, visiting scientists, and growers will conduct field and laboratory research designed to improve production practices and enhance profitability in the grape, wine, and juice industries vital to the Lake Erie region's economy.
The lab reflects a century of accomplishment by Cornell research and extension programs in service to Western New York vineyards and processing businesses.
Since 1909, Cornell has maintained the Vineyard Research Laboratory in nearby Fredonia, which claims a rich history of viticulture advancements in such areas as vineyard management and production systems, grape breeding, pest control, and mechanical harvesting.
Terry Bates, laboratory director, has achieved an international reputation for excellence in viticulture research focusing on vineyard management and innovative viticultural practices.
In his remarks to the gathered audience, Bates referred to Nelson Shaulis and Fred Taschenberg, two men who became leaders in the grape industry and who worked at the Fredonia Laboratory, which was initiated in 1909 with a $10,000 state grant.
It functioned in a converted green house on 30 acres of vineyards and is currently for sale.
Cornell officials hope to sell it to a private developer so the property can be returned to the community's tax base.
As they stood outside the new laboratory Tuesday, Portland residents Jim and Penny Deakin, former owners of the property, said they found the new facility exciting.
Saying she feels the lab vineyard is located on what she considers the best land, Penny Deakin said, "Now it will safely be vineyard land forever."