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Drink Local

When most students think “buying local,” they think farmers’ markets and lunch at the Food Co-op. But taking the at-home focus a step further, one of the best ways to support New York state’s economy is by getting drunk. We’re talking about some of the best wines in the country, grown and produced inside state lines.

Paige Gittelman/Editorial Artist

You may know the Seneca Lake Wine Trail from your fraternity’s last wine tour, or from the Facebook photos of your friend’s fraternity’s last wine tour. Many of these vineyards are within an hour of campus, with reasonably-priced wines that taste better than the Franzia most of us are used to. And in addition to providing a fun outing and picturesque cover photos, wine tours are a great way to contribute to your local economy.

But you don’t have to rent out a party bus for the afternoon to buy local. Most wine and liquor stores have entire sections featuring New York wines, which are all too often overlooked for the attractively inexpensive Yellowtail. For about the same price, you can still bottle up a great night while giving New York farmers and small businesses a much-needed boost.

According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, wine contributes $3.76 billion to the NYS economy every year. Do you really want to be sending that money over to the West Coast? Spend your parents’ cash on the 1,438 family vineyards we have here. It would make your folks proud to know they have raised such a locally conscious child/potentially unconscious partier.

And buying New York state wine the next time you try to class up your suite party doesn’t just help out the vineyards. By purchasing in-state wines, you’re contributing to the agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and packaging industries — among others — right here at home.

The wineries in New York produce around 20 million gallons of wine per year, fourth in the country behind California, Oregon and Washington. Finger Lakes wines are respected worldwide, and New York is known to produce a fantastic dry riesling. Why go to school in upstate New York if you’re not going to support the things that make this area unique? Be proud of where you go to school and sample the local goods.

Wine is the most underrated college beverage. We often think of it — at least the kind that comes from a box rather than a bottle — as classy, upscale and perhaps out-of-reach. But the thing is, you can still pre-game to “Timber” blasting on the iHome if you swap out the shots of Pinnacle Whipped for a local wine, preferably enjoyed straight out of the bottle. It’s still college.