Atwater Vineyards is a family-owned winery located on eighty scenic acres on the eastern side of Seneca Lake. Our unique site boasts a microclimate ideal for grape production, and we are intimately connected to every vine we grow. This hands-on knowledge allows us to lovingly cultivate the grapes in our vineyards with precision, balance, and high quality control. As a result, the winemaking team can create thoughtful wines in a variety of styles with the use of neutral barrels, skin and stem inclusion, and sparkling offerings.
Our vineyards, located on the southeastern hillsides of Seneca Lake, date back to the early 1900s when native varieties like Catawba and Concord dominated the region. In 1970, it was purchased by Minnesota newspaperman and wine entrepreneur Bill Moffett, creator of Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine as well as several prestigious commercial wine competitions and trade shows. He began planting French-American hybrids and vitis vinifera on the farm. Within a few years, Chardonnay, Marechal Foch, Seyval, Chancellor and Chelois took root and flourished.
By early 1980, Moffett sold the land to locals Ed and Joanne Grow who opened Rolling Vineyards Farm Winery under the New York Farm Winery Act of 1976. This new law enabled grape growers to open a winery on their farm, and was the true beginning of today's thriving Finger Lakes Wine Region. Ed continued to plant more grape varieties, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Vidal Blanc, and continued to make and sell wine using the farm's early-century barn as the production facility and tasting room. From 1981 to 1991 Rolling Vineyards continued to operate, and even tied with Wagner Vineyards to win New York State's first "Governor's Cup," the highest award a New York wine can win.
Although, Rolling Vineyards closed in 1991, the vineyards were still cultivated and the grapes contracted out to other wineries in the region. In 1995, the previous tasting room of Rolling Vineyards was rented to Swedish Hill Vineyards to use as a tasting room for their sparkling wine. Dubbed as the "Finger Lakes Champagne House," the tasting room continued to operate out of the old barn until moving to a new building in early 1999.
Later in 1999, local entrepreneur Ted Marks purchased the established vineyards and Atwater opened its doors for wine tastings and sales in September of 2000. With the help of his former son-in-law, Phil Hazlitt, whose winemaking expertise, vineyard knowledge and high standards helped establish our philosophy of creating consistent, clean and innovative wines, Atwater quickly gained reputation as one of the most exciting new wineries of the region.
In December 2020, Ted handed the reigns to Matt Russo and our very own George Nosis who purchased Atwater. Matt has been making wine for thirteen years, and for the last eleven years has been searching for the right winery project. When he and his wife Tonya visited Atwater and met George in the summer of 2020, they knew they’d found the right fit!
George, who started as a winemaker at Atwater in January 2014, has been managing the winery for the past two years as he’s worked with Ted to transfer ownership. He has a particular interest in natural winemaking styles and in the red wines of the region.
They are both extremely excited to bring a new vision to the over 20-year legacy established by Ted Marks and his family to strengthen Atwater Estate Vineyards as a premiere destination to highlight our amazing wines, region, and community.