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Atwater Vineyards

Atwater Vineyards
October 24, 2019 | Atwater Vineyards

Who Makes Your Wine? Vinny Aliperti

Winemaker Vinny Aliperti putting grapes into a basket press.Vinny began making wine in the Finger Lakes with the 2000 vintage; in 2001, he became a winemaker at Atwater where he has headed our winemaking operations since 2003. Vinny’s style is often described as crisp and fruit-driven with a focus on creating intense but balanced wines. His dynamic approach has earned him praise both locally and nationally, including several write-ups in The Wine Spectator and New York Cork Report.

Reflecting on the harvest, Vinny explained that with each new vintage comes the excitement and anxiety of the harvest. “We are still a week or two behind thanks to a late start back in the spring and a relatively mild summer. But as is the case in most years, September weather was critically important in shaping the course of the vintage. For the most part we received a good dose of sunshine with below average rainfall. Now that we are into October and grapes like Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been harvested, we turn our gaze to Blaufränkisch and Merlot, and hope the weather continues to stay clear and bright as we head into the second half of the 2019 vintage.”

Winemaker Vinny Aliperti driving a wine tank on a forklift.“This season's main challenge is getting the grapes into the ripeness ‘window’ before they begin to breakdown. Fortunately, most of the grapes still hanging are looking strong but as ripening continues, they also become more vulnerable to disease pressure. We plan to continue monitoring the grapes closely out in the vineyards through sampling and visual inspections and of course we'll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast!”

“Atwater fans may be surprised to know that the wine quality depends on both the subtle and profound differences of each harvest season. Many factors contribute in shaping how the wines will eventually taste. While we all know the weather is a big factor, grape yields, size and integrity of the grapes as well as grape chemistry including sugars, acids and pH all contribute to the final product.”

Winemaker Vinny Aliperti sorting grapes.“Wine production is truly a team effort that starts in the vineyard, winds its way into the cellar, and pops out on the shelf or dinner table. It takes many dedicated people to bring a quality product to fruition and I am fortunate to be part of our competent and hard-working staff here at Atwater who take pride in bringing wines to life.”

When asked his favorite Atwater wine, he responded that “the skin-fermented Gewürztraminer/Chardonnay with spicy Thai food is divine.”

Vinny’s hobbies include running, reading, sailing and cross-country skiing. In 2006, he and his wife, Kim, and embarked on our their wine journey (with Atwater's blessing) when they founded Billsboro Winery in Geneva, NY, 2016 winner of the NY Wine & Food Classic Governor's Cup for its 2015 Syrah.

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2019 at 10:29 AM Permalink to Who Makes Your Wine? Vinny Aliperti Permalink
Atwater Vineyards
October 15, 2019 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - October 2019

Web Cam View of the Vineyard in OctoberBe sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam to watch the seasons change.

Harvest 2019 began on September 24, with staff from the tasting room and office joining the winemakers and vineyard crew to hand-pick an acre of Grüner Veltliner. The vines were planted three years ago, and this was their inaugural harvest. Grüner Veltliner translates to “Green Wine of Veltlin” and is a white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria. The flavor profile is similar to Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc. We look forward to seeing what Vinny and George do with this new to us varietal.

Follow our harvest progress on Instagram and Facebook.


Atwater Harvest Crew Posting in front of Grape Vines

Since the first pick, we've been harvesting steadily, and the fruit quality is good though a little on the light side of our estimated tonage. Climate is one of the most critical aspects in ripening fruit to achieve optimum characteristics in a wine style. With warm days and cool nights the weather this year so far has been beneficial for the crop. We expect harvest to go non-stop until the middle of October as grapes are still ripening on the vine.
As winemaker Vinny Aliperti notes, "Wine production is truly a team effort that starts in the vineyard winds its way into the cellar and pops out on the shelf or dinner table. It takes many dedicated people to bring a quality product to fruition." This collaboration is especially critical during harvest as grapes move from the field to press deck and cellar. To harvest grapes at optimal ripeness, the vineyard staff and winemakers assess the grapes’ acidity and sugar level.

A golden cluster of chardonnay grapes.

As of October 6, we've harvested Grüner, Cayuga, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer grapes, and next we'll be picking Blaufränkisch, Merlot and Riesling. Last off the vines will be Vignoles.

Pictured: A gorgeous cluster of Chardonnay.


As soon as we harvest grapes, they move to the press deck where the winemakers process them according to the wine style. With new grapes arriving on a regular basis, they are putting in long days and working weekends to ensure the best tasting wine for our customers.

Pictured: Chris delivers Grüner Veltliner grapes to Vinny on the press deck.

Winemaker Vinny inspects wine grapes as they are delivered by forklift.

Pinot Noir, one of the early harvested grapes, spent time in bins fermenting and was pressed last week. Vinny and George just moved it to barrels. A separate portion of the juice will also be transformed into Rosé of Pinot Noir which will be carbonated and bottled in the spring as our very popular Bubble Pinot Noir Rosé.

Pictured: George punches down the cap on pinot noir. Carbon dioxide bubbles (released during fermentation) push the grapes, stems, seeds, and clusters to the top of the bins forming a thick cap. Those grapes, stems, and seeds have a lot of magic in them so they need to be mixed back into the juice that sits below to increase skin-to-juice contact and improve flavor, color, tannin, and aroma. This is done twice per day for about 10 days and takes strength as well as balance. 

New Release

Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2016  has a beautiful ruby color and lightly smoky aroma that gives way to ripe red berry jam and plum flavors while a smooth finish provides hints of bittersweet cocoa. We recommend pairing with char-grilled steaks, braised roasts, or grilled vegetables.

End of Vintage, Last Call!

Be sure to grab these wines before they're gone.

Big Blend 2015 (SOLD OUT)
Chardonnay 2015 (SOLD OUT)

Club Exclusive

Navone Vineyards Riesling 2015

90 points, Editors' Choice
Wine Enthusiast

Aromas of candied lemon peel, yellow blossoms and a slightly savory note translate to the medium-bodied palate. This is lightweight and delicate in feel, with a well-honed mineral edge guiding the mix of citrus and white-fruit flavors on the lingering finish.
-Alexander Peartree

Members, log in to purchase here.


You know it's fall when Amanda breaks out the mulled wine kits and glass mugs for warm and steaming Mulled Wine. Perfect for the cooler seasons, our Mandy’s Mulled Wine Kit contains one bottle Sweet Chancellor, one bottle Sweet Catawba, spice bag, and recipe.


Time Posted: Oct 15, 2019 at 9:00 AM Permalink to The Atwater Times - October 2019 Permalink
Atwater Vineyards
September 15, 2019 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - September 2019

Atwater Camera View

Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam and watch "Mr. Pinot"
go about the hard work of scaring away hungry birds.

For the second year in a row, the Finger Lakes was named the “Best Wine Region in North America” by voters in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Poll. A panel of wine industry experts selected the initial nominees, and readers voted for their favorite wine region over a two-week period. We are thankful that visitors to our picturesque region are as enchanted with the area as we are.

USA Today #1 Wine Region

In the VineyardBird Scaring Tools

September began with perfect weather: sunny yet cool. However, as grapes start to ripen, they become attractive to birds who have voracious appetites for the fruit. We employ several methods to keep winged marauders away from our crop.

Noise-making devices like propane powered bird cannons and squawk boxes are positioned throughout the vineyard. You’ll also see a twisty, turning, inflatable orange dancing man affectionately named "Mr. Pinot" who is mesmerizing and humorous to watch but also effective at scaring birds from the vineyard.

Finally, we painstakingly cover some of the rows with bird netting. The grapes birds seem to like best are the red varieties Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Blaufränkisch, and Syrah.

We are about one week behind in growing degree days. While some grape varieties are still going through veraison, others are ripening slowly in the recent cool weather. Towards the end of the month, we expect to begin harvest with Cayuga and Pinot Gris.

In the Cellar

New Wine Tank

We recently received a new 860-gallon stainless-steel red wine fermentation tank from employee-owned Vance Metal.

In business since 1880, they have been a stalwart supporter of the wine industry for decades and have built all our stainless-steel tanks. We’re very excited to put it to use this season!
Here you see Vinny and George with their "Christmas morning" smiles.

New Releases

We're proud to announce three new releases, perfect for fall weather and cooler temperatures.

Vignoles 2018
Dry Riesling Middle Block One 2015
Stone Bridge Red

Low Inventory Alert!

We are running low on the following wines. Be sure to grab your favorites before they're gone.

Big Blend 2015
Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2015
Chardonnay 2015
Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc 2017 (Sold Out)


From the Tasting Room


Have you seen our new t-shirt design? Monster or myth, the Seneca Sea Serpent is a timeless local legend with roots in the indigenous population. Native Americans believed Seneca Lake was bottomless with a monster that lived in its depths. Seneca Lake is 200 feet below sea level and is connected to the Atlantic via Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Could an ancient ocean–dweller have made it all the way to here?

Atwater apparel is available in the Tasting Room or online.

The Vineyard Table, Another Great Year

On September 1, our club members and winemakers, Vinny and George, had a wonderful time at the last Vineyard Table of the season. We celebrated our library wines paired with delicious dishes crafted by the Red Dove Tavern. We appreciate everyone who has joined us for these magical evenings as well as the Atwater and Red Dove staff who made them possible. Please plan on joining us next summer to enjoy delicious food and wine in the heart of our vineyard. Watch our newsletter next spring for the new dates.


Vineyard Table


Time Posted: Sep 15, 2019 at 10:43 AM Permalink to The Atwater Times - September 2019 Permalink
Atwater Vineyards
August 15, 2019 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - August 2019

Dog Days are approaching; you must, therefore, make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.

–The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1817

The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was known by the ancient Greek and Romans to usher in the “dog days” when it seemed to rise just before the sun. As the phrase was translated into English from Latin about five hundred years ago, myriad folk meanings were attached, including the idea of long, hot summer days or hot dogs lounging on the ground for relief from the heat.

This year, dog days begin when Sirius makes its first morning rise in mid-August. Whatever the original meaning of dog days, we’re happy to celebrate them every day in our dog-friendly tasting room.

Dog on Porch



Pinot Noir Grapes

Pinot Noir grapes hand cultivated by our vineyard staff

Our vineyard staff continues to position shoots and pull leaves so the sun and breeze can penetrate the canopy and reduce disease pressure. Veraison has started and during this time some of the fruit is naturally dropped. Although we give careful attention to the growth on the vines throughout the growing season, when grapes are at 75-90% veraison, we make final adjustments by pruning clusters that won't properly ripen, show a certain percentage of hard green grapes within the bunch, or have total green bunches in red varietals. This ensures that the remaining grapes receive more nutrients and sugars from the roots and that the entire vine stays healthy.


A stage in the ripening process of grapes or olives. It is the relatively short period during which the firm, green berries begin to soften and change color. It's the start of each grape taking on the characteristics and personality of their specific varietal.

Here you see a cluster of our Chancellor grapes in veraison.

Veraison on Grapes


Since harvest begins next month, we use this relatively quiet period to get ready for the arrival of grapes on the press deck by cleaning and checking barrels for leaks, organizing the cellar, and inspecting and maintaining the equipment. Vinny and George will also be bottling the 2018 Cabernet Franc, one of our bestselling varieties. Until it is ready for the tasting room, enjoy our 2017 vintage which was just awarded DOUBLE GOLD at the 34th Annual New York Wine Classic.

Riesling 2015

"Sunny, bright aromas of peach, pineapple and tangerine jump from the glass in this late-release Riesling. Semidry in style, it is succulent and juicy yet shows wonderful grip and tension to balance all those tropical- and stone-fruit flavors. Drink now for immediate enjoyment."

90 points, Editors' Choice / Wine Enthusiast


Navone Vineyards Riesling 2015
Wine Club Exclusive Pre-Release

"Aromas of candied lemon peel, yellow blossoms and a slightly savory note translate to the medium-bodied palate. This is lightweight and delicate in feel, with a well-honed mineral edge guiding the mix of citrus and white-fruit flavors on the lingering finish."

90 points, Editors' Choice / Wine Enthusiast

You can receive exclusives and library wines such as this special early release by joining the Atwater's Edge Wine Club.


Navone Vineyards Riesling



Our delicious peach Bellinis are crafted with fruit grown locally at Wickam’s Tango Oaks Farm, just two miles north of Atwater. For a delightful afternoon outing, visit their U-pick farm or farmer’s stand and then join us on our deck for a relaxing cocktail or bottle of wine. To make a peach Bellini at home, place two ounces of peach puree in a glass and top with chilled Bubble Riesling. Garnish with your choice of whole berries.

Peach Bellinis

Don't forget out Atwater After Hours where you can sample those lovely Peach Bellinis.
Now through Columbus Weekend, Thursday - Sun, 5:00 p.m. to sunset
More info: Atwater After Hours


This month, our staff is preparing the first shipment of our newly redesigned the Atwater’s Edge Wine Club. As always, the club provides members with the finest selection of wines, including exclusive, early release (for instance the current featured wine, Dry Riesling Navone Vineyards 2015), and library vintages at a member discount, shipped quarterly. Additionally, the club includes opportunities for special member-only benefits and events such as quarterly pick-up parties, an annual club dinner, and one-of-a-kind experiences in our vineyard and with our winemakers. The primary difference with our redesigned club is that we have introduced three levels of membership: Selene (moon), with three bottles each quarter, Gaia (earth), with six, and Helios (sun), with twelve.

We hope you will join our ever-expanding club family! More information about member benefits and club policies can be found on our website where you can also sign up for membership.


Amanda Packing Wine Club
Amanda, our Wine Club Concierge, lovingly packs each box sent to our club members. She and the rest of the Atwater team are dedicated to giving you superior customer service as a valued member of our wine-loving community.



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Time Posted: Aug 15, 2019 at 9:56 AM Permalink to The Atwater Times - August 2019 Permalink