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Finger Lakes winemaker is semifinalist in James Beard awards

A winemaker noted for pushing the edges of what can be produced well in the Finger Lakes region has been named a semifinalist in the wine, spirits and beer producer category of the annual James Beard awards.

Nancy Irelan, co-owner and winemaker at Red Tail Ridge Winery on Seneca Lake, joins a list of 20 vintners, brewers and distillers from around the country on the best producer list. It appears to be the first time an Upstate beverage producer has received a Beard nomination.

The James Beard Awards, considered the “Oscars” of the American food and drink world, is best known for honoring the top restaurants and chefs in the nation. There are both national and regional awards in those categories.

No Upstate New York chef or restaurant received a national category nomination this year. Two Upstate restaurants’ chefs were nominated as best in the Northeast region: Victor Parra Gonzalez of Las Puertas in Buffalo and Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis in Hudson. Parra Gonzalez was also nominated last year.
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