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Fine Vines: A look at the booming Finger Lakes Wine Industry


FINE VINES: SENECA LAKE WINE TRAIL: Tasting success together

Twenty-five years ago, with the Finger Lakes wine industry on the cusp of a boom, some forward-looking Seneca Lake winery owners pooled their thoughts. Ultimately, they decided there would be strength in numbers.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Fred Frank

    Fred Frank, owner of Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, knew from an early age he would work in the family winery founded by his grandfather, Dr. Konstantin Frank, in 1962. Fred, 54, studied at Cornell University School of Agriculture. After he graduated, his father, Willy, wanted him to get experience with other wine companies before returning to the family business. So, he went to work for Banfi Vintners on Long Island, starting in wine sales. Frank and his wife, Mary Claire, have three children.

  • Wine trails weave throughout the Finger Lakes region

    The Finger Lakes region encompasses five wine trails across five lakes, each with unique qualities and a unique history.

  • FINE VINES: THE ECONOMIC IMPACT: Wine is big business locally

    Shirley Miller left Fox Run Vineyards in Benton last week with three bottles of wine and a smile.

  • Wine in grocery stores remains shelved

    Susan Hayes of Miles Wine Cellars made her position clear when Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio visited Fox Run Vineyards in Benton last summer.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Jim Trezise

    For Jim Trezise, it's not just about the wine. "I wouldn't live anywhere else," said Trezise, director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation since 1985. "I wouldn't do anything else. I love the Finger Lakes region and I love the people of wine as much as I love the wine." The 64-year-old Rochester native served in the Navy, lived in France for three years and worked as a wine lobbyist in Albany. He successfully pushed for the legislation that allowed the sale of wine coolers in grocery stores, deregulated wineries and created the Wine and Grape Foundation. Trezise lives on Keuka Lake near Penn Yan and has two children.

  • FINE VINES: HISTORY 101: Winemaking's roots

    The modern history of viticulture, or the growing of grapes, in the Finger Lakes region is approaching its 200th birthday.

  • Pleasant Valley winery traces heritage to 1860

    HAMMONDSPORT — Pleasant Valley Wine Co. proudly uses the designation “U.S. Bonded Winery No. 1” on its bottle labels and elsewhere.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Peter Bell

    Bell has been making wine in the Finger Lakes since 1990, first at Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars and, since 1995, at Fox Run Vineyards. He holds a bachelor of applied science degree in enology from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, and an honors bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. In 2004, he was a visiting fellow in the University of Adelaide’s wine science department in South Australia. Before coming to the Finger Lakes, Bell worked as a winemaker in Australia and New Zealand. He was a lecturer in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University for many years. He’s a consultant to a number of wineries in the eastern United States and has spoken at conferences around the world. Originally from Toronto, he and his wife, Joanna Purdy, have two grown sons.

  • FINE VINES: TASTING THE DREAM: Starting a winery

    Starting a Finger Lakes winery is a dream more and more people are pursuing.

  • Dill Winery’s owner: ‘I’m an entrepreneur’

    BURDETT — This marks the first full summer season for J.R. Dill Winery, one of the newest wineries in the Finger Lakes.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Oskar Bynke

    Oskar Bynke (pronounced Bink) is estate manager and head of marketing for Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard on Seneca Lake in Starkey. He is a native of the Gotheburg, Sweden, area and has degrees and training in agronomy, including a degree from Cornell University in Ithaca. His Cornell time is what brought him to the Finger Lakes, “where I caught the wine bug.’’ He worked for Moet Hennessy Champagne House in New York City and came to the Hermann J. Wiemer winery in 2003. He went back to New York City for four years, but when Wiemer retired, he asked him and winemaker Fred Merwarth to take over in 2007.

  • FINE VINES: SAFE ON THE TRAILS: The unruly are the exceptions

    Ron Spike has served as Yates County’s sheriff for 20 years. During his tenure, he has seen the number of wineries in the county increase dramatically.

  • Local wineries wary of ‘booze cruises’

    Grapevine Country Tours is nearing its 10th anniversary. One thing has remained constant since Bonnie Osborne started the Fayette business in 2002.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Bob Madill

    Bob Madill, grape grower, general manager and partner at Sheldrake Point Vineyard, was one of the Cayuga Lake winery’s founding owners when it started in 1997. At the time, he was working in the high-tech industry in Canada but longed to get into the wine business. “I just didn’t have enough money to do it all by myself,” he said. “This looked like a project I could come in on.” Later that year he met Chuck Tauck, who is now the senior managing partner and principal owner of Sheldrake Point Vineyard.

  • FINE VINES: VOLUMINOUS VINTNERS: Is there a saturation point?

    Mike Linehan remembers the mid-1970s, a time when five “corporate-giant” wineries dominated the Finger Lakes landscape.

  • Single-vineyard wines are growing in popularity

    As the Finger Lakes wine industry expands and evolves, so does its winemaking techniques.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Art Hunt

    Art Hunt, founder and owner of Hunt Country Vineyards in Jerusalem, and his wife, Joyce, have been making wine for 30 years on a 170-acre family farm high on the western flank overlooking Keuka Lake. Interestingly, Hunt was born in Corning because his father left the farm during the Depression. Hunt and his wife moved to the family homestead in 1973. Today, their son, Jonathan, is the sixth generation of Hunts to till that soil and serves as director of winemaking.

  • FINE VINES: Red vs. White in the Finger Lakes

    “A bottle of red, a bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite.”

  • Finger Lakes earning accolades for its wines

    The Finger Lakes wine region is becoming better known and its award-winning wines are proof of that.

  • Faces of the Finger Lake Wine Industry: The Martini Family

    John and Ann Martini, owners of Anthony Road Wine Co. on Seneca Lake, were neighbors for about a decade in New Jersey and were later married. They lived in Geneva from 1969 to 1972, then moved to Baltimore, but were encouraged by a friend to move back and grow grapes. Ann was a stay-at-home mom and John was traveling the country selling ozone and oxygen generators, but quit his job to return to the area. The couple started off growing grapes for Taylor Wine Co. but opened a tasting room in 1990 with their 1989 crush, producing about 2,000 cases of wine at that time. John Martini, 69, has a bachelor's degree in natural science from Boston College; Ann Martini, 66, has a bachelor's degree in art education from Nazareth College; and their son, Peter, 43, the winery's vineyard manager, has a bachelor's degree in business management from Clarkson University. The couple has four children, Sarah Eighmey, whose husband is Mike; Maeve Feola, whose husband is Peter; Elizabeth Castner, wh…

  • New law loosens state liquor rules for farm wineries

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation loosening State Liquor Authority rules for farm wineries.

  • FINE VINES: THE CLIMATE IS KEY: Hot summer aside, it's cool that makes FL wines unique

    Between Christmas Eve and Christ mas Day of 1980, the temperature plunged from 32 above to 20 below.

  • The big difference between local rieslings and Germany’s: The taste

    On a green hill high above the water, neat rows of grape vines grow in the sun.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Scott Osborn

    Scott Osborn, 62, grew up not far from the Finger Lakes in Pittsford, but his path to Fox Run Vineyards in the town of Benton included a long-distance detour. Osborn lived in California for years, where he worked in real estate. In 1984, he returned to the area to visit family and went on a wine tasting. A sip of Wagner chardonnay, vintage 1982, change his path. “It was like an epiphany to me, because I’d never tasted anything like it,” Osborn said. “I said to myself, ‘This is what I want to make.’” He knew he could only do that in New York. So he eventually returned to the area and worked in the local wine industry until he bought Fox Run in 1993. Osborn and his wife, Ruth, have two children, Jessica and Michael. The family also includes their dog, Mya.

  • FINE VINES: SEASON CYCLE: Vintners’ weather watch never stops

    Weather, when it comes to winemaking, is far from an exact science.

  • Extreme conditions make grapes ‘miserable’

    There have been several good years, and several bad years when it comes to grape growing.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Morten Hallgren

    Morten Hallgren, owner and winemaker at Ravines Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, also signed on last week as winemaker and general manager at White Springs Winery in Geneva. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he moved to the Finger Lakes in 1999 to work at Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars. In 2002, he and his wife, Lisa, opened Ravines. His introduction to winemaking began when he was just 15, when his family bought a winery in Provence, France. After first studying physics and astrophysics, he shifted gears and attended French winemaking school, working in Bordeaux before taking a job as winemaker in Texas and later North Carolina before moving here.

  • FINE VINES: THE PEN & THE CORK: Writers tout growth of local wine industry

    Ask wine writers what they think of the Finger Lakes, and they’ll wax enthusiastic about a young viticultural area just coming into its own —  and note that some connoisseurs have yet to discover the secret.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Gene Pierce

    For Gene Pierce, co-owner of Glenora Wine Cellars, it’s hard to imagine belonging to any world other than the Finger Lakes grape and wine industry. “My dad planted his first grapes on his farm in Dundee when I was 8 years old, so I’ve been doing it all my life,” he says. Pierce helped found Glenora in 1977. The regional winemaking landscape looked quite different back then. “At that time, it was the first and only winery on Seneca Lake,” Pierce stated. Today, Glenora is one of the Finger Lakes’ largest wineries, producing 45,000 cases of wine per year and hosting 85,000 visitors in its tasting room, inn and restaurant. Pierce also co-owns Knapp Winery on Cayuga Lake. He and business partner Scott Welliver bought 27-year-old Knapp 11 years ago. Pierce has three children: a daughter, Heather, who is a stay-at-home mom to three young sons; a son, Eric, who works as a chef for Wegmans; and another daughter, Kerry, who is “one of those indispensable people who’s a jack-of-all-trades…

  • FINE VINES: RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Wineries help feed growth of regional cuisine

    In the tiny kitchen of a 20-seat eatery, the culinary team of the Brown Hound Bistro in Naples is creating art — unique food with a regional flair that visitors have ranked among the best in the Finger Lakes.

  • Wine & Culinary Center a popular destination

    CANANDAIGUA — As the spotlight shines more brightly on local food and award-winning Finger Lakes wines, those who want to explore regional products can start their journey at a single source — the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Samantha Buyskes

    For South African-raised chef Samantha Buyskes, the Finger Lakes region is the right place to pursue a passion for pairing fresh local ingredients with herbs, seasonings and fine wines. Buyskes, who moved to the Finger Lakes area about 10 years ago, opened Simply Red Bistro in Trumansburg in 2002. She moved the eatery to Sheldrake Point Vineyard about five years ago, and recently opened another location at Ithaca’s La Tourelle Resort that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. Earlier this year she appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped.” Buyskes, 39, lives on Cayuga Lake with her daughter Madi, 5.

  • FINE VINES: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Winery owners say expanded markets are key to growth

    Many people know the Napa Valley is one of the pre-eminent wine regions in the world, but Jim Trezise sees some troubling signs in the famed northern California area.

  • Also often paired with wine? Festivals — and lots of them

    BENTON — Since it began in 1993, Fox Run Vineyards has been a mainstay and visible presence on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Kristine Fiorilla

    Kristine Fiorilla, manager of Belhurst Winery and gift shop, moved back to the Finger Lakes area in 2003 from New York City, where she worked in the high-end restaurant and wine business. She is now in her fourth year at the winery. “Last year was our biggest year in terms of awards. It was a phenomenal year for us,” she said. “It just proves the hard work we put in gets us to where we want to be. To take a small winery and turn it into a very successful venture in a very short period of time is something we are proud of.” Fiorilla and her 4-year-old son, Fares (pronounced Fer-ez), live in Geneva. His name is Arabic for “knight.” “He loves the Belhurst, the property,” Fiorilla said. “I call him the mayor of the property. He comes around and knows everybody here. It’s his family.”

  • FINE VINES: 20 things you didn't know about the Finger Lakes wine industry

    The Finger Lakes wine industry means business - big business - for the area. But it's not all business and no fun. Even for the serious FL wine connoisseur, there are bound to be some tidbits that are brand new.

  • Finger Lakes wineries make 'case' for clubs

    Join the club, reap the rewards.

  • Faces of the Finger Lakes Wine Industry: Sam Argetsinger

    Sam Argetsinger, 59, works 38 acres of vineyards, including grapes at his Burdett Farm. Growing up, Argetsinger worked in his family and neighbor's vineyards. He attended Syracuse University and went on to do timber harvesting across the U.S. In 1996, he purchased some of the vineyards that were once part of his family's farm and started his career in grape growing. He has two sons, Beren and Will, and a daughter, Bree. Argetsinger said he's a friend to the traditional Iroquois Long House people and translates Iroquois languages.

  • ‘Fine Vines’ winners savor good fortune

    GENEVA — Not long ago, Ronald and Lori Yates were driving through Seneca Falls when they noticed the refurbished Gould Hotel, now the Hotel Clarence.


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