Get Ready to Launch This Friday

Late Winery Owner Debra Whiting will be Remembered at Yancey’s Fancy Cheese Launch of the Lakes and during Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Launch of the Lakes

Select wineries of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival will be on-site during Friday night's Launch of the Lakes.


Don your best toga to help the 15th Annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival, presented by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese, get rolling the right way with the Yancey’s Fancy Cheese Launch of the Lakes on Friday, July 15.  The traditional kick-off party will once again feature unique togas, excellent Finger Lakes wines, a wide variety of artisan cheese provided by Yancey’s Fancy, and fireworks – all for only $15!  The night will also serve as a celebration of the life of Red Newt Winery and Bistro co-owner and executive chef Debra Whiting.

The Yancey’s Fancy Cheese Launch of the Lakes starts at 6:00 p.m. and is the best way to get into the sampling spirit with a range of wines and cheese with which to tease your pallet.  Yancey’s Fancy will offer samples of their world-famous cheese and wine will be on sale from several of the participating wineries, not to mention concessions, live music and, of course, fireworks.  The two tasters with the best togas will be blessed by Bacchus, the god of wine, and crowned King and Queen of the 2011 festival!  The 2011 King and Queen will receive exquisite crystal champagne flutes from the Vee Collection compliments of Steuben Glass but that’s not all; they will also receive free admission to the festival in 2012 including the Taster’s Banquet, the Great Western Champagne Breakfast and weekend tasters’ passes. 

Debra Whiting was an ambassador of the food and wine of the Finger Lakes Region as well as a huge supporter of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.  Her efforts helped the festival grow in size and stature making this weekend the perfect time for WGI to pay tribute to a wonderful person.  Festival goers will have two opportunities to be part of the celebration during the event weekend.  The first will be to raise a glass during a special toast for Whiting prior to the blessing of the festival during the Yancey’s Fancy Launch of the Lakes.  The second will be to watch a touching pictorial presentation of her life that will be on display on the second floor of the Media Center on Saturday and Sunday. The proceeds from on-site ticket sales for the Launch of the Lakes will be donated to the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty in the memory of Debra whiting. mor information abou the organization can be found by visiting their website,

Once a year, Watkins Glen International transforms from The Soul of American Road Racing into the Finger Lake’s largest tasting room, where over 600 New York wines will be sampled. The celebration kicks-off on the evening of Friday, July 15th, with fireworks, wine, and togas at “Yancey’s Fancy Cheese Launch of the Lakes.”  Saturday and Sunday the Festival will feature a variety of wine, food, arts and crafts from across the state, culinary classes, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, The RIEDEL Experience, the Brewers’ Garden, brunches with champagne provided by Great Western, pace car rides, live musical entertainment and much more. The festival will once again offer reserved camping areas and plenty of free parking.  For information, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office, toll free, at 866-461-7223, or visit the official website at  In the world of social media, you can also visit the official Facebook page of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival,, or follow Watkins Glen International on Twitter, @WGI.

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