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      Wine and cheese competition to debut at 2013 New York State Fair

      The first annual Pride of NY Wine and Cheese Competiton will be held during next year's Great New York State Fair festivities, State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said Thursday.

      Aubertine says it is the first in a series of new events that are aimed at getting people more involved in the fair.

      Details on the competition are still under developement but Aubertine is encouraging all New Yorkers to email ideas for this event and any ideas for the 2013 Great New York State Fair to statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov. Aubertine says they can also let the department know what they liked and disliked about the 2012 fair.

      "The Pride of NY Wine and Cheese Competition is only the beginning," said Aubertine in a media release. "Our staff has a lot of ideas that we think will work for next year, but we also want to hear from our fellow New Yorkers about what they want to see."

      "We appreciate the department's support of the grape and wine industry as well as all of agriculture, as well as the Wine Village and wine competition associated with the Great New York State Fair," said Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.

      Aubertine says that since the New York Wine and Grape Foundation's creation in 1985, the wine industry has become one of the state's fastest growing industries in the agricultural and tourism sectors, generating more than $3.7 billion annually.

      Cheese is also a significant industry in the state. Aubertine says New York ranks fourth nationally in cheese production and leads the nation in the production of cream cheese and cottage cheese.