Progress 2018: Cayuga County Wineries Find Success Off the Beaten Path
Wineries are facing many challenges on the eastern side of Cayuga Lake — remote locations, a growing craft beverage industry, climate change — but owners and managers are
“I think it’s a really exciting time to be here,” said Susan Higgins, co-proprietor of Heart and Hands Wine Co. in Union Springs. “It’s a nice community, and I think people are really supportive of one another, which is really fantastic.”
The eastern side of the lake is like another world from the western side. With significantly fewer wineries and more sweeping vistas of farmland and water, establishments are turning away from the trail model and thinking more destination. It’s a move that hasn’t impacted the camaraderie wineries share, but it has changed their methods of attracting visitors.
Finger Lakes Cheese on the Rise
Vintners have unearthed the cool-climate secrets of the Finger Lakes, where 140 wineries are producing Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling and more. At the same time chefs are discovering rich, impressive cheeses to complement carefully tended grapes.
“The time is now,” says Christopher Bates, local chef and winemaker. Bates moved back to his home area to establish Element Winery and creative restaurants like FLX Wienery and FLX Table.
“There are some great things starting to pop up, [and] some really exciting cheeses [are] being made here. As we become more of a gastronomic destination, the demand for more traditional, Old World-style cheeses grows, too,” he says.
Fall Wine Events Across the Country
Wineries kick off the harvest parties as early as this weekend, from collaborative tastings in Chicago and Alexandria, Va., to grape stomps in Sonoma County and Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Whether you want to discover Washington, Texas or New York wine, there’s a fall event full of samples.
NY State Fair: The evolution of the slushie (and what’s new for 2017)
The wine slushie — cold, refreshing, slightly intoxicating and typically sweet — has become the quintessential care-free beverage to celebrate the New York State Fair and the end of summer.
According to lore, the slushie arrived at the New York State Fair in 1991, courtesy of Merritt Estate Winery in Chautauqua County, in the state’s Lake Erie wine region. For about ten years, Merritt Estate was the only fair vendor serving the slushie.
Now, the wine slushie — sometimes called the wine slush — is among the State Fair’s most recognizable treats. In recent online polls of readers’ fan favorites conducted by syracuse.com | Nyup.com, it has often placed second only to the Italian sausage sandwich.
And, as with many notable foods and beverages, the slushie has evolved over the years. It now comes in many flavors and varieties. Several are making their debut at the 2017 State Fair.
Wine Slushies? Yes, please!
It’s a lively summer weekend day at Three Brothers Wineries and Estates in Geneva and the theme park-style complex is buzzing with visitors winding their way through several tasting rooms, a brewery and a coffee shop.
Among the popular attractions: a tiki hut-style building, ringed with grass skirts, serving wine slushies from a window.
At 7 years old, Lev Saltonstall knew what he wanted to do when he grew up: He wanted to work with wine.
The son of Treleaven Wines owners Pete and Tacie Saltonstall, Lev was born and raised at the King Ferry winery. Every day, he said, the school bus picked him up and dropped him off at the winery on Lake Road, where he began doing his own tours in the first grade.
Wine Slang 101: How to Talk Like a Sommelier
You slink into the classy restaurant and take your seat, perusing the lengthy drinks menu before ultimately giving up and asking the man in a sharp suit for a recommendation. The next thing that comes out of his mouth seems like a spy code:
“We have a great vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon from a winery on the WahlukeSlope in the Columbia Valley AVA. Lean, restrained, acidy and alive, with puckerytannins and a velvety mouthfeel. It was the talk of the Grand Tasting at last year’s Taste Washington.”
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail: Treleaven in King Ferry kicks off winter weekend schedule
Contrary to popular belief, the fun doesn’t stop when the temperature drops along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. One particular member winery continues to offer exciting experiences throughout the winter months. Treleaven, located along the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in King Ferry, has a full schedule of fun to-dos for the weekends to come.
9 Upstate NY vineyards score gold medals from international wine judges
Upstate New York is packed with vineyards proving that they have what it takes to produce internationally acclaimed wine.
The Tasters Guild, an international society of wine enthusiasts, recently released its 2016 wine judging results, and nine Upstate NY vineyards earned coveted double gold medals for their products.
Wineries Believe Dry Summer May Have been a Blessing for Grapes
Most farmers would rather forget 2016 after a hot, dry summer and a historic drought. Lindsay Stevens at Treleaven Winery in King Ferry could not wait to start working with the grapes harvested today. The grapes are smaller than usual but have more intense flavors.
“The sugar is high, the acid is low,” said Stevens.
Existing vines had deep roots and could handle the drought. On Thursday, the Treleaven Winery brought in fresh Reisling grapes. Using machines workers first separated the grapes from the stems, then gently squeezing out the juice.
Stevens says grapes actually do well in a stressful growing environment and naturally add flavor to help their seeds be spread out.
Cayuga County winery marks summer’s final days
With the recent addition of a large pavilion that includes a stage and garden area, the King Ferry Winery has expanded to include many family-friendly events.
The most notable of these events may have been the second annual Treleaven’s Field Day held Saturday afternoon at the winery on Lake Road in King Ferry.
“Its our way of celebrating the end of summer,” said the winery’s president, Pete Saltonstall. “Its just a day of relaxation and fun for the entire family.”
A complex Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc that suits the summer
Leah and David Valvo of Wineforecaster review wines, offer tips and explore the Finger Lakes wine region here each week. This week they open a 2013 Cabernet Franc from Treleaven. Treleaven by King Ferry Winery is located on the east side of Cayuga Lake, south of Aurora.
Vineyards and Delight Finger Lakes
The region of the Finger Lakes, known by its long parallel lakes shaped fingers, is located in western New York, south of Lake Ontario. It’s a nature area, hills, lakes, fertile land and vineyards. The wine is also a good reason to spend a few days. And between tastings, there are several local delicacies to their teeth!
Here are some recommendations to fully enjoy the verdant region ofFinger Lakes , east to west.
USA, East Coast: Welcome to New York – It’s Been Waiting for You
This issue emphasizes the Finger Lakes region (“FLX”) and finds more of what I saw on Long Island – a group of wineries without the recognition they deserve who just happen to be making terrific wine. Of course, per my normal habit of trying to keep up with the flow of wines, there is more than just FLX here, including some impressive wines from Long Island and Virginia. The focal point, however, is FLX.
Twelve Dog-Friendly Wineries for Dog Lovers and Wine Lovers
For wine lovers who are also dog parents, finding a winery that’s dog friendly allows you to put two things you love into one great experience! Luckily, a lot of wineries welcome dogs on their grounds, some in their tasting room and cellars, and a few even hold special dog events. Here’s a list of wineries to add to your list the next time you’re looking to do some sniffing and sipping of wine with your pup.
Cayuga County winery celebrates Mother’s Day with paint party
Sunday was a first in many ways for Moravia woman Faye Hacker.
It was the first time Hacker had ever taken part in a paint party, testing her skills at Sunday’s Sip ‘n’ Paint Mother’s Day Party at Treleaven by King Ferry Winery. She said she was encouraged by her daughter, Sara Herman, who had previously done a class and thought the winery event would be fun.
Sunday was also the first Mother’s Day the two have celebrated without Hacker’s mother or father, who both died last year. Hacker said her family traditionally went to her parents’ house for dinner on Mother’s Day to spend time together.
The Bigger Picture
Chances are good you’ve never known anyone named Malvina. Possibly because the woman I met recently named Malvina Cook Rafferty Hunt is one of a kind.
Malvie, as she likes to be called, is 100 years old and still quite active.
I talked with her Sunday at Treleaven by King Ferry Winery on the east side of Cayuga Lake. She was there working part time as she does during most Cayuga Wine Trail events.
Two Styles of Chardonnay, Plus Chardonel
To be considered by customers, restaurants and distributors, many wineries include at least one Chardonnay on their wine list. The variety has a number of clones and can be grown reasonably successfully in climates from warm to hot to cool. With its mild flavors, Chardonnay wines can be made in a range of styles. So it comes as no surprise that Chardonnay is a popular topic at wine conferences. This year’s Eastern Winery Exposition, held March 8-10 in Lancaster, Pa., included two winemaker roundtable discussions about Chardonnay: one covering the “elegant, fresh” style, and a second about the “rich, full-bodied” style. A third session looked at Chardonel, a New York hybrid of Chardonnay and Seyval, that is similar in flavors to its Chardonnay parent, while being easier to grow, more cold tolerant and often more productive.
Treleaven Meritage 2012 – The Rise of a New Finger Lakes Blend
Purple-colored with blackberry, cranberry, red plum and flakes of cinnamon baking spice, this Meritage is aromatic and fragrant as though it were built on the back of cabernet franc as its main blending grape component.
Aromas on the nose continue to the palate as flavors with the high tannin content making itself known on the attack, along with medium-plus acidity softening into black and red fruit on the slightly chalky finish.
Cayuga Wine Trail Celebrates the Season
Couldn’t make it to New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras? Don’t sweat it, because the Cayuga Wine Trail is hosting its very own version this weekend at all 16 wineries.
Ticket holders traveled from winery to winery Saturday sampling authentic Mardi Gras recipes such as Creole stew, jambalaya, and many Cajun recipes paired with local wines — all the while collecting strands of beads and clues to the 16-clue scavenger hunt that will win one ticket holder a case of fine local wines.
Treleaven Reserve Cabernet Franc 2011 – Red Cherry with a Trace of Stone Fruit
Treleaven’s Cayuga Lake’s deep ruby-colored cabernet franc has a nose of freshly-macerated red cherry and blackberry that carries to your palate. The wine is smooth, medium-bodied and straight
forward showing intermediate complexity for the grape.
The cab franc finishes with a trace of stone fruit that give it a pleasurable lift at the end. This is a delicious spring to summer sipping wine that hits the spot without overwhelming with alcohol.
Tell your sister.
Cinema Vinifera: King Ferry Winery resumes movie nights with ‘Jurassic World’ and more
01/06/2016 Treleaven by King Ferry Winery will resume Wine & Movie Night, a winter series it started last year, with Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” Saturday, Jan. 9. The series sees the winery open at 6 p.m. for tastings, then screen a movie (with no previews) in the barrel room at 7 p.m. The tasting room will remain open through the movie for refills or bottle purchases.
Picking by Hand
Picking grapes is the hardest part of growing grapes,” said Aaron Roisen, winemaker at Hosmer Vineyards, in Ovid. “It’s the most difficult process. You’ve got to bend over. The canopy could be in the way. It can be wet. You’re scrambling for time. It’s difficult work.”
That said, he will sometimes have the grapes hand-picked if the crop is sparse. “There’s been a lot of winter injury,” he said, “when the grapes are all over the canopy. We have migrant workers who come in but once apple picking starts, it’s hard to get them to hand-pick grapes.” Most of the time, Roisen has his grapes machine-picked.
Spotlighting the super women on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
As many of you know, the Finger Lakes hosted the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference in August. As a benefit of the trail’s sponsorship of the conference, I had the luxury of participating. I chatted with many of the writers and got a sense for what they thought about the region and our wines. In addition to the interactions with our visitors, the part of the conference that resonated most with me was a session called “Women in the Wine World, Seneca.” Three panelists, including Meaghan Frank, general manager of Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellar, spoke of their experience working in the wine industry, a traditionally male field.
Food truck frenzy at King Ferry Winery will see Ithaca, Syracuse business join bands for Field Day
King Ferry Winery is getting some help with its Labor Day weekend cookout.
To celebrate the American worker, the Cayuga Lake winery will invite Alexander’s Food Truck, of Ithaca, and Mami’s Kitchen, of Syracuse, will serve food during the winery’s Field Day Saturday. The Delta Mike Shaw Band will perform at 1 p.m. and Bad Alibi at 5 p.m., and wine slushies, craft beer and lawn games will round out the end-of-summer bash.
UPDATED: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail finishes in top 10 in USA Today poll
The Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail finished in seventh place in a USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice vote for the Best Food Trail in the country.
The seasonal trail, established in 2011 by the Cayuga County Office of Tourism, consists of 20 bakeries, farms and other savory stops in the area. USA Today previously recognized it in the spring, shortly after positive mentions The Daily Meal and Yahoo Travel.
Finger Lakes Wines and Grapes: Humid July brings risk of mildew
July has brought us warm, humid weather, and more rain! At mid-month we have had about 4 inches of rain, following the 7-plus inches in June. This has made the vineyards very soggy and has promoted downy mildew growth. So enough already, Mother Nature! Downy mildew is a fungus that affects grapes and many garden vegetables. If unchecked, it can cause the grapevine leaves to wither, turn brown and fall off, eventually defoliating the vine. This in turn, can destroy the whole crop. So vineyard managers must be on top of their spray programs this summer, applying fungicides every 10 to 14 days.
Bike ride in King Ferry supports healthy hearts
A ride through the countryside followed by music and refreshments was the goal behind the Summerpalooza and Ride for Heart Health at King Ferry Winery in King Ferry Saturday.
The event included 30-, 50- and 70-mile bicycle rides with the registration fee supporting Cayuga Heart Institute. Bands played during the afternoon at the winery and a special menu was prepared for the day.
Wine Review: Treleaven 2013 Melange from King Ferry Winery
Each week here wine reviewers Leah and David Valvo share their thoughts on Finger Lakes wines.
This week they taste the Treleaven 2013 Melange from King Ferry Winery on the east side of Cayuga Lake. This is a red table wine with a beautiful and transparent crimson red color. The nose is very faint but does deliver a medley of beets, plum and tobacco. There is a hint of pepper in the mouth with a residual suggestion of vegetables as well. A very easy wine to drink and something that we think would go well with appetizers and light summertime dishes.
Ride for Heart Health Planned in King Ferry
What does cycling, wine, and heart issues have in common? Ride for Heart Health — an annual bike ride held at King Ferry Winery, maker of Treleaven wines, which benefits the Cayuga Heart Institute (CHI) at Cayuga Medical Center (CMC).
Heart disease remains the number one killer in America. This ride allows the CHI to partner with Peter Saltonstall, of King Ferry Winery, to expose the menace of heart disease with community education.
It’s Been a Marvelous 99 Years for Malvie Cook ’38
Not many retired teachers can boast that they have a former pupil who is 87 years old. But for Malvina “Malvie” Cook Hunt ’38, who will be handed a bouquet as the “Most Mature” attendee during Alumni Reunion 2015, seeing one-time students as elderly adults is just another part of what will soon be a century of experience.
Malvie, who was born before women could vote, supermarkets were invented or America had fought a world war, will turn 100 on Oct. 5. Until then, she considers herself 99 years young.
The long cold winters of Upstate New York aren’t all that bad. Despite our complaining, we wouldn’t have it any other way: That bone-chilling weather makes for some of the most luscious dessert wines in the world.
Wine and beer industry representatives: NY fracking ban is the right decision
Representatives from New York’s wine and beer industry — which are both dependent on fresh, local water — expressed support and relief after today’s announcement that the Cuomo administration intends to ban fracking in New York state.
In particular, winery owners in the Finger Lakes have opposed the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract natural gas because of its potential to harm the pristine lakes.
Inventive Wine Pairings Around the World
We’re used to pairing our wines with a selection of fine cheeses. But just as vino has varietals, so does how we may enjoy it. Have you ever considered pairing your wine with music or fine art? Hummus or cookies? The world has become a playground for wine pairings, and there are a number of countries and places out there looking to make your glass of wine stand out amongst the rest with their creative pairings.
From Australia to America, there are a lot of wine pairing traditions and practices out there, some of which may change the way you once saw (and devoured) cheese with your wine.
The Barrel Room wine-tasting bar opens in Victor
One of Victor’s most beloved and historic carriage houses has been brought back to life with the launch of The Barrel Room, a new wine-tasting bar and retail outlet in the village of Victor. The picturesque structure is the former location of Trailblazers Bike Shop at 72 W. Main St., and since its opening on June 21, spotlights some of Cayuga-based King Ferry Winery’s finest artisan wines: Treleaven Wines.
King Ferry Winery opens satellite in Victor
King Ferry Winery has opened a satellite store in Victor.
The Barrel Room, which is in a renovated carriage house at 72 W. Main St. (Route 96), opened Friday. Its hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Wine tastings and flights will be served in a tasting bar featuring bottle racks made from retired wine barrels and counters faced with barrel staves. People may sit down and sip glasses of wine in another area, and a gift shop will offer wine-themed items and local cheeses.
Finger Lakes winemakers to Cuomo: Ban fracking in New York
Every year, more and more New Yorkers take the phrase “eat local” to heart, so much so that it’s becoming a must for new restaurants to source their food and drink locally.
The farm-based beverage industries are not only a source of New York pride, but are growing at a tremendous pace. Since 2011, the number of wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries is up 72 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rightly pointed out that such growth is yielding huge economic benefits for our state and is unparalleled in the industry nationwide — and the numbers back him up.
Harvest Festival highlights offerings of King Ferry Winery
The staff at the King Ferry Winery knows that there is no better place to be in the fall than outside tasting some local wine.
For more than 20 years, the winery on Cayuga Lake has hosted its annual Harvest Festival to show off its products, old and new, and bring in the public for some fall fun. On Saturday, this year’s weekend-long event kicked off with activities such as food, music, winery tours and plenty of wine tasting.
Wine and fracking don’t mix, say vineyard owners
The hillside vineyards of New York’s Finger Lakes region make money producing fine Rieslings and inviting tourists to sip white wine by the water’s edge. Now winery owners are worried about the prospect of a grittier kind of economic development: gas drilling.
Some grape growers fear that if shale gas drilling, or fracking, is allowed in this region of postcard-perfect hills and crystal-clear lakes, the muddy well sites and rumbling trucks will not only endanger the environment but threaten the Finger Lakes’ reputation for pristine beauty.
In their view, wine does not pair well with drilling.
N.Y. Honors Winemakers, Grapegrowers
“Diversity is our strength; Unity is our power” is New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s slogan to convey the overriding need for the state’s wine and grape industry to work together to achieve success. Each year the NYWGF holds a Unity Banquet and presents awards to those who have made important contributions to the New York industry. The 2011 Unity Banquet was held at the Belhurst in Geneva, N.Y., as the final event in the foundation’s annual seminar. Jim Trezise, NYWGF president, presented nine awards.
Q&A: Lindsay Stevens, Winemaker, King Ferry Winery/Treleaven Wines
Lindsay Stevens, winemaker at King Ferry Winery/Treleaven Wines grew up in the Finger Lakes region and she went to college there as well, earning her bachelor’s degree in Food Science, concentrating in Fermentations, in the fall of 2004 at Cornell University just before they began enrolling students into their Enology curriculum.
During her years at Cornell she worked part-time in the vineyard and tasting room of Sheldrake Point Vineyards.
After completing her schooling, she served as the full-time cellar assistant at Sheldrake for two years.
In August 2007, Lindsay moved on to King Ferry where she continues the winemaking traditions set forth by owners Peter and Tacie Saltonstall.
The scent of new wine wafted from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars and into the muggy air outside, as New York grape growers and other officials eagerly awaited the arrival of Gov. George Pataki earlier this month. A small army of reporters and photographers recorded the long-awaited signing of a new law regulating interstate shipment of New York wines.
Before signing the bill at a table near a vineyard, Pataki said, “I’ve had a lot of Lamoreaux wine, and it is truly outstanding.” He traced the impact of the “explosion” of New York’s wine and grape industry, saying, “Thirty years ago, there were less than two dozen wineries. Today there are over 200 wineries.” Agriculture, Pataki said, “is not just a part of our past, but part of our future.”
Bargains Uncorked – Supremes Overturn Wine Laws
Wine lovers and grape growers from Montauk to Niagara Falls yesterday toasted freedom.
They were drunk with joy after the U.S. Supreme Court found the New York law barring interstate shipments of wine unconstitutional, heralding lower prices for consumers and bigger markets for vineyard owners.
The ruling by the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, should lead to a new state law that would allow scores of mostly small, family-run New York wineries to ship wine to customers in other states, industry experts and state legislators said.
Wineries can ship out of state
One of the first phone calls that King Ferry Winery owner Peter Saltonstall received Monday was from a friend in Vermont.
“He said, ‘Now you can send me some wine,'” Saltonstall said. “I told him, ‘Not yet.’ This is very exciting and I’ve been working on it four years, but it doesn’t fix it automatically.”
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned prior judgments and ruled that wineries can ship their product out of state.
Justices ruled state laws must treat wineries equally regardless of their location. The ruling struck down laws in New York and Michigan – where it’s illegal to order wine from another state or ship it there – as discriminatory because they allow in-state wineries, but not out-of-state businesses, to ship directly to consumers.
Small Vintners Join Forces in Press for Marketing Power
When holiday season nears, Pete Saltonstall’s phone starts ringing a bit more. As owner of the King Ferry Winery in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, tourists that visited his winery earlier that year often call to order a case of Chardonnay.
His response — not by choice — is often a reluctant “no.”
That’s because it’s illegal to ship wine across state lines in New York. “Most of the times they are gracious, and say they understand, and other times they get angry,” he adds, “Here you are making your customers angry at you, and it just drives you mad.”
Mr. Saltonstall’s frustration is a familiar feeling for many small vintners across the nation. Some 87% of the wine drunk in the U.S. is produced by the 50 biggest vintners. The 3,700 or so smaller wineries, meanwhile, are struggling to break out of the market’s cellar, aggravated by a combination of conflicting state laws regarding interstate shipping, little distributor support, and a lack of marketing firepower.