ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Grape growers across the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier are among the 12 finalists set to compete to be the best of the bunch at the inaugural New York Concord Grape Innovation Awards. At stake is over $100,000 in cash, prizes and support from Cornell University experts. 

“New York’s Concord grape growers are leading our nation in the production of this specialty crop that supports our agricultural community and grape-related businesses across New York state,” said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball in a prepared statement. 

The Pleasant Valley Wine Company in Hammondsport and Knapp Farm in Lowman will be competing for cash and prizes in the Best New Concord Grape Beverage competition. The Siena Development Group and ODR Foods, both from Geneva, along with Newfield's Fittnell Farms will be competing in the Best New Concord Grape-Based Product competition. 

Winners from each category will get $20,000 cash, valuable help from Cornell experts and having their winning product be put on sale in Taste New York welcome centers and marketplaces.  

“(I)look forward to seeing the exciting final products at our Taste New York marketplaces statewide,” Ball said. 

According to Cornell University Concord grapes make up roughly 80 percent of the total tonnage of all grapes grown in the New York. That means that 121,000 tons of Concord grapes are grown annually on some 30,000 acres of vineyards.

“Concord vineyards in western New York have a long history of producing healthy and delicious fruit because the variety is so well adapted to the soils and climate in the region,” said Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory, in a prepared statement.

The proposals will be judged on market readiness, innovation, economic impact to the Concord grape industry, potential for expanded utilization of Concord grapes and the percentage of Concord grape in the product.

The six Best New Concord Grape-Based Product finalists are:

Siena Development Group, Geneva, N.Y.

Annie’s Ginger Elixir, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fittnell Farms, Newfield, N.Y.

Chia Smash, Brooklyn, N.Y.

ODR Foods, Geneva, N.Y.

The six Best New Concord Grape Beverage finalists are:

Pleasant Valley Wine Company, Hammondsport, N.Y.

Wild Arc Farm, Pine Bush, N.Y.

Westfield Maid Cooperative, Portland, N.Y.

Blackduck Cidery, Ovid, N.Y.

Naturao/Ramborne LLC, Warners, N.Y.

Knapp Farm, Lowman, N.Y.