When most people think of New York wine is not normally the first thing that comes to mind. However, New York City State is the home of some outstanding wine increasing regions such as the Finger Lakes wine nation. Remarkably, even more kinds of grapes are grown in New York City compared to the golden state.
As a matter of fact, wine making in New York has been going on given that the 1860’s, making New York City one of the oldest wine increasing areas in the Americas.
Some of the New York City wine nation areas include:
- Finger Lakes wine nation
- Central New York city and Lake Ontario
- Hudson River Valley
- Lake Erie and Chautauqua
- Long Island
Explore Finger Lakes Wine Nation
The Finger Lakes wine nation is a series of glacial valleys in central New York City State. Lots of people could not know New York wine from the Finger Lakes, but the reality is that the New York Finger Lakes region grows more type of grapes than in the golden state and many other grape growing regions in the world.
In the early days of New York wine expanding, the focus was on native grapes: the Concord and Niagara, which are still grown. However, no person believed the traditional European wine grapes would certainly endure the chilly winters of New York. However, after much experimentation and hit and miss, a number of rootstocks were found that were hardy enough for New York City winter seasons and the sometimes unforeseeable climate. Dr. Konstantin Frank was a Ukrainian immigrant who was the initial to expand viniferous (typical wine) grapes effectively in the Finger Lakes region in the early 1960’s.
The climate of the Finger Lakes region contributes to grape-growing because the lakes give an extended grower season and a little warmer winter, and the glacial geology offers a rocky, gravely terroir.
One Finger Lakes winery is Lakewood Vineyards on the Seneca Lake. Lakewood is a family wine farm that was started in 1988. Chardonnay was one of their very first vintages. Lakewood differentiates their Chardonnay by maturing in small oak barrels, from New York State oak. This imparts a specific character and local flavor to the wine.
Riesling is now the most popular of the Finger Lakes wines. Hermann Wiemer was just one of the leaders of Finger Lakes Riesling. He had the initial vintage in 1981 from his Hermann J. Wiemer vineyard, also on Seneca Lake. The region has soil as well as environment just like the famous German Riesling wineries. They also produce Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. In general, cool climate varieties are the best in New York City. The Hermann J. Wiemer vineyard used to be an old soybean ranch. It only produces 12-13,000 cases per year, with a goal of staying smaller and focused on good wine.
Across Seneca Lake from Hermann Wiemer is Lamoreaux Landing wine cellars. Mark Wagner took control of the family members grape growing company in 1978, growing premium vinifera grapes. The winery has been open because 1992, with its first vintage from 1990. They expand Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and also Merlot. Lamoreaux concentrates on Cabernet Franc as their primary red, because Cabernet Franc creeping plants actually like the region’s soils, environment, and are adaptable to the year-to-year variant of the New York weather.
Cornell University in the New York Finger Lakes area has actually a program focused on developing new and improved wine ranges for New York wine growing. For example, the new grape variety Traminette was produced by crossing Gewurztraminer with other hardier varieties. Traminette vintages were finally released in 1996. The initial Finger Lakes winery to produce the full, hot Traminette white wines was Gazebo Hill Winery near Naples, New york city.
Sheldrake Factor Vineyard on Cayuga Lake was founded in 1997. They produce Pinot Noir, Red wine, Gamay, as well as Riesling wines. The wine maker at Sheldrake also brought with him from Canada the fine art of making ice wines. They generated their initial ice wine plant in 2000, made from Riesling grapes. For ice wine, they harvest once the grapes have frozen just a little bit (not hard like marbles), which in the Finger Lakes is usually around Christmas or January.
The Finger Lakes Wine Country is definitely a region to explore, both for its up and coming Rieslings and Cabernet Francs, the wide variety of other Finger Lakes wines, and also for the region’s beautiful lakes, rolling hillsides and stunning fall leaf colors.
Other New York wine country regions worth exploring consist of Hudson Valley, Long Island, Lake Erie and Central New York City.