We love July in Finger Lakes Wine Country. Our region offers sunshine and picnics, swimming, boating and waterfall exploration, farm markets, and so much more. It’s no wonder that the Finger Lakes Region was named "Best Wine Region" in a nationwide poll by voters in the USA Today Reader's Choice Contest 2018. We’re very proud of the quality of wines and the landscape’s beauty.
IN THE VINEYARD
Because we’ve had lots of rain and little sunshine, we’re about a week behind normal for this time of the year, but our vineyards are in bloom and starting to set fruit. At this time of year, we focus on the vines and their shoot positioning. Using a hands-on approach, we spread out the vines growing shoots as much as possible on the trellis to keep an open canopy for maximum sun penetration and to improve air circulation.
Additionally, we’ve placed grow tubes over the new vines we planted in early June. Grow tubes help promote upward growth and protect the vulnerable plants from animal pests. We've also planted a wildflower mix cover cropbetween the vineyard rows containing buckwheat, oats, clover, sunflower, peas, and other seeds that will contribute to a better soil structure by increasing organic content and nutrients including nitrogen and will also protect the soil from erosion.
In July, Vinny and George will be bottling our 2018 Sparkling Cuvée, a blend of 38% Riesling, 34% Pinot Gris, and 28% Gewürztraminer, all picked on September 14, 2018, and co-fermented in stainless steel.
Before putting the wine in bottles, they will build up a strong yeast culture, a process that takes five days to complete. Each subsequent day they will monitor and “feed” the culture with a combination of sugar and wine to increase the number of viable yeast cells. Once the culture is added to the base wine with an additional bit of sugar, they’ll bottle the wine. There, the yeast will slowly begin a secondary fermentation in the bottle which converts the sugar to carbon dioxide which gives the wine its exhilarating bubbles over a five years aging process.
While you are waiting for this delicious sparkling wine, please try our current méthode champenoise, the Sparkling Gewürztraminer 2013.
On August 3, National White Wine Day, raise a glass of our Chardonnay 2015. Our Chardonnay will delight your senses with aromas of apricot, peach, and tropical pineapple. Its layered texture offers deep flavors of macintosh apple, vanilla crème, and tangerine.
We love this wine with golden roasted chicken and cream-based pastas. It also complements grilled salmon or butternut squash and mushroom risotto quite nicely.
Our staff is lucky to meet interesting people every day. We consider our tasting room a welcoming stop for local guests as well as travelers from neighboring states, across the country, or around the world. Tasting room hosts are well versed on our wines and the area and are happy to share recommendations about the region.
One of our valued hosts is Nora Lampman who joined our Tasting Room staff in 2013 when she and her husband retired and moved to the area to be near their daughter and grandchildren. She loves the natural beauty of the area and the many new friends they’ve made.
Her family has had a connection to Atwater since 2003 when their grandchildren’s father was a winemaker here, but her job as a Tasting Room host was her first time employed in wine hospitality. With the help of her coworkers, she has enjoyed expanding her knowledge and appreciation of wine. Now, she enjoys sharing that knowledge with our guests, and she also appreciates learning from them as they share their stories from around the world.
The Rosé of Cabernet Franc is her favorite Atwater wine. When not drinking the Rosé, the Cabernet Franc or Dry Riesling is on the Lampmans’ table. The next time you visit the Tasting Room, please say hello to Nora!
Wine Enthusiast Mention and Graft wine + cider bar
We are also pleased that Alexander Peartree highlights Atwater as a "noteworthy stop" on Seneca Lake for newcomers visiting the area (“FLX Time,” Wine Enthusiast, July 2019). He also mentions Graft wine + cider bar, our restaurant on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.
Graft has received many accolades since it opened in Fall 2015. The concept of a bar and kitchen with an all New York drink list and a daily changing menu has been embraced by tourists and locals alike.
Sadly, Graft will be closing on July 27, 2019. Partner and Chef Christina Mckeough is relocating with her family to Philadelphia while co-owners Katie Marks and Ted Marks are changing gears after being in the wine business for twenty years. However, they believe in the constant revitalization of Watkins Glen and look forward to what's coming next in this special space.
ATWATER AFTER HOURS
Thursday - Sun, 5:00 p.m. to sunset
More info: Atwater After Hours.
Don't forget to visit us for After Hours during these long summer evenings! Relax with a gorgeous view, sparkling wine cocktails, and small bites. But, don't take our word for it...
June's full moon, on the 17th, is named "Strawberry Moon" after the delicious wild berries that start to ripen during the month. We look forward to enjoying them in all their forms but are especially excited to add local berries to an Atwater Bubble Riesling Bellini on a hot summer day.
Dreaming of a visit to Atwater? Tune in to our LIVE Webcam to take in our gorgeous views and catch action in the vineyard. Also, be sure to check out Atwater After Hours...more information below.
We have twice tilled the areas where we will plant new Lagrein and Zweigelt vines. These vines were grafted to 3309 rootstock, a proven rootstock for our vineyard. They recently arrived on site, and we planted them on June 7th with the help of a GPS guided planting system to ensure straight rows. Check out video of our planting here.
In the rest of the vineyards, we are using the Green Hoe tractor attachment. The Green Grape Hoe specializes in mechanical in-row cultivation and weed control by taking down the hills and weeds around the vine trunks. Weed management is an integral part of overall vineyard management systems, and frequent cultivation lowers weed seed populations in the soil, thus reducing weed density. Using the Green Hoe tractor attachment is safer and faster than hoeing by hand, and it allows us to use fewer herbicides on the farm.
2018 Stone Bridge Red
Vinny and George will be bottling the 2018 Stone Bridge Red made from Marechal Foch and Chancellor grapes during June.
Stone Bridge Red is a versatile wine that appeals to a variety of palates. With soft tannins, this dry red wine pairs well with everyday food. If you'd like to be notified when it is released, please click here.
This month, we’re releasing our 2014 Gewürztraminer ($18.00), formerly a Club Exclusive, to the public. It was fermented and aged nine months in neutral French oak barrels.The result is a dry and complex wine that shines bright with peach blossom and delicate floral aromas while it’s cool, slightly tart lychee palate is a thing of beauty. Richly textured, it’s creamy, caramel-like finish lingers.
Stock up on this gorgeous summer-pleaser here.
Please extend a warm welcome to our newest Tasting Room host, Matteo Calla.
Matteo came to the Finger Lakes to pursue a PhD in German literature at Cornell and fell in love with the region for its natural beauty and its people who are both open-minded and down-to-earth.
Although he grew up in an Italian family where wine was a daily staple, he only entered the wine industry after finishing his doctorate.
For one season he worked for Barry Family Cellars, doing both sales and production and learning a lot in a short time. Because wine brings together people from all walks of life, he thinks the best part of working in the tasting room is getting to talk about wine with a diverse mix of guests.
Lately he’s been particularly interested in white wine from Alsace, especially rich, creamy, and fragrant Gewürtztraminer and Pinot Gris. His favorite Atwater wine is the 2014 Gewürtztraminer which he likes because it’s round and dry, with loads of floral, honey, and spice notes that somehow never get out of hand.
The next time you visit, please tell Matteo hello, and feel free to test his knowledge on Mann, Kafka or Goethe!
Memorial Day weekend, we began our seasonal evening service, Atwater After Hours.
During these relaxing nights with a gorgeous view, we serve a selection of sparkling wine cocktails developed by Amanda, our own mixologist.
Visit us between 5:00 and sunset to try these delicious indulgences paired with cheese and charcuterie plates or a selection of a la carte items:
Bellinis are made using Bubble Riesling with Raspberry, Orange Peach Mango, or White Peach juice (when in season)
Riesling in the Bush features Finger Lakes Harvest's Lime Shrub topped with Bubble Riesling
Ginger Lime Fizz, our bestselling cocktail, starts with our méthode champenoise 2013 Sparkling Gewürztraminer which is then infused with fresh lime and ginger syrup
Rosé 75 is a favorite on the deck, and you can make it at home with Amanda’s signature recipe.
For the most up-to-date list of events, please visit our Events Calendar.
Atwater is now on Pinterest! Please follow us for news, announcements, and special offers; inspiration for wine-themed parties; ideas for wine and food pairings; and suggestions for cork and bottle upcycling and DIY. We’re also posting links to enrich your wine tasting experience and get the most out of your visit to the Finger Lakes. If you’re interested in any other types of content, please let us know. We look forward to seeing you there.
Hooray for May!
The deck awning was installed on May 1st and it is so nice to have it back again. The weather is improving, it is greening up everywhere so fast you can almost see it happening right before your eyes. In fact, you can! Just visit our LIVE Webcam.
We've completed the tasks of trimming and tying the canes for the entire vineyard on schedule, but as always, trellis work continues. Bud break occurred yesterday, with the tiny buds loving the warm temperatures and intermittent sunshine. Our two red French hybrids, Chancellor and Marechal Foch are usually the first varieties to show and they didn't disappoint.
To take advantage of the unique properties of our microclimate, we are adding two new red-wine grape varieties to our vineyard: Lagrein, which is an ancient grape variety from northeastern Italy, and Zweigelt, the most widely planted red-wine grape in Austria. In preparation for the young vines, we are tilling the soil and pulling stones out of two vineyard blocks. We expect the first harvest of these grapes will be around 2024. With time in the cellar, release of the wines will be a year or so later. The path to making great wines is a long one that requires patience!
This month, Vinny and George will be bottling the 2018 Vignoles and 2018 Pinot Gris.
From the semi-sweet 2018 Vignoles, a bright and silky wine, you can expect mouthwatering, complex aromas with flavors of honey, tropical fruit, and caramel apple.
Club Members will receive an exclusive preview of this vintage at our party on June 15th. If you would like to be notified when this delicious wine is available, please sign up here.
While the 2018 Pinot Gris will return to the cellar for aging, our 2017 Pinot Gris is now available for purchase. This crisp wine offers juicy notes of sweet and spicy orange blossom mixed with vanilla crème and tangy white peach and pear flavors finishing with a rounded, vibrant feel.
We are proud to share our latest review from Wine Enthusiast which gave our 2016 North Block Five Pinot Noir 90 points!
"Light ruby in color, aromas of tart red berries and pomegranate frame the nose, with delicate accents of red flowers and woodland spice providing depth. There's a real sense of vitality on the palate. It's loaded with fresh acidity that props up all the tangy red-fruit flavors, with shades of spice and granite broadening out the feel." -A.P. June, 2019
For the most up-to-date list of events, please visit our Events Calendar.