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But what about the Riesling?

keuka wine.jpg
Jason Coburn
via Flickr
Winemakers in the Finger Lakes region say hydrofracking could ruin the reputation of New York's wine country.

Hydrofracking's been big around here lately. As New York considers whether to pursue the controversial drilling technique, passions are running high on both sides of the debate. Supporters say drilling will provide a much needed shot in the arm for an ailing economy. Opponents say that the potential economic benefits are not worth the risk of environmental ruin.

But, cooler heads may ask, what about the wine?

Art Hunt runs Hunt Country Vineyards near Branchport, N.Y. He's also an active member of the preservation group Keuka Lake Association.

"The Finger Lakes region really is a uniquely perfect area for wine grapes," said Hunt. He points to the medals that Finger Lakes wines have won in recent competitions and the millions of tourism dollars that local vineyards bring to the area.

Hydrofracking, he says, could put an end to all that.

"You only have one chance to screw it up," Hunt said. "You can't un-poison the water."

Hunt says that traditional natural gas drilling has occurred in region for years. But high-volume hydraulic fracturing poses the threat of long-term environmental destruction. According to Hunt, wine grapes are especially sensitive to the chemicals used in hydrofracking.

"It's a real treasure to have clean water," said Hunt. "We realize how valuable this resource is."

Hunt says representatives of the Keuka Lake Association have signed up to speak at the EPA hearing in Binghamton on Monday.

The Innovation Trail will be bringing you full coverage of the event. We'll be live-blogging the hearing, and you can also follow along on our Twitter feed, where we'll be live-tweeting the proceedings.

WXXI/Finger Lakes reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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