Watkins Glen, NY – It’s a big year for a number of the wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, as they mark major milestones and anniversaries!
· 10 Years: Zugibe Vineyards
· 20 Years: Atwater Estate Vineyards, The Inn at Glenora, Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora
· 25 Years: Fox Run Vineyards (under Scott and Ruth Osborn’s ownership)
· 30 Years: Fulkerson Winery, Lakewood Vineyards
· 40 Years: Wagner Vineyards, Fulkerson Grape Juice Plant
Interested in celebrating with them? Visit the event calendar on the wine trail website to find anniversary celebrations and many other winery events throughout the summer! You can find our event calendar here: www.senecalakewine.com/calendar.
Milestones and anniversaries naturally lead to questions about the history of wine on Seneca Lake. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail was established in 1986 and Seneca Lake has a long history of grape growing and winemaking, dating back to the 1800s. The first winery on Seneca Lake opened in 1866, the Seneca Lake Grape Wine Company. At the time it had the largest vineyard in the state and within a few short years, it was producing more than 10,000 gallons of commercial wine. In 1882, New York State opened its Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Its grape breeding and research programs helped establish Seneca Lake as a prominent player in the grape growing and winemaking industries. But with the passage of Prohibition in 1919, many vineyards were torn out and much of what remained was replanted with grape varieties for juice or fruit.
Despite the repeal of Prohibition, the wine and grape industry struggled to rebuild, until the arrival of viticultural pioneers including Charles Fournier and Dr. Konstantin Frank. Seneca Lake soon emerged as a highly favorable microclimate, especially conducive to Vinifera grapes. With successful plantings by Fournier on the east side and Hermann Wiemer on the west side, plus the creation of a wine research program at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, a glimmer of hope on Seneca became a beacon. With the signing of the New York Farm Winery Act in 1976, the wine industry was officially reborn in the Empire State.
The Seneca Lake American Viticultural Area was first designated in 1988, thanks to the tireless efforts of Bev Stamp of Lakewood Vineyards. From humble beginnings, Seneca Lake has grown to encompass one of the most well-respected and heralded grape growing and wine making regions in the United States. To learn more about the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and its 31 member wineries, visit www.senecalakewine.com.