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Atwater Vineyards

Atwater Vineyards
April 18, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - April 2020

View from the Atwater deck of Seneca LakeMissing wine country?
Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam and visit us from the comfort of your home!

In the Vineyard

Vineyard worker tying shoots.

Farming does not stop for anything, and we are grateful that we have been designated an "essential” business. In the vineyards, we are well acquainted with social distancing. It is often a solitary job, and even when there are a few of us working, we have a good amount of space between us—we are staying very safe!

Currently, we are working on tying the vines to the "fruit wires.” The wires will carry the weight of the fruit as the grapes ripen. We are also in the process of converting some varieties to "improved" trellis systems, which can make tying a bit challenging. When vines are trained a certain way for a long time, it can be difficult to retrain them. We will get them straightened out with a little time and effort.


On a side note, it’s been fun having help from winemaker Vinny during the past few weeks. He is getting back to his roots! We’ve been discussing our hopes and dreams for the vintage in depth which is always fun and productive.

Wine Cellar Updates

Wine barrels

In March, Vinny and George topped the barrels, and now the wine is aging before bottling begins in the summer.

Because wine barrels are porous, the liquid evaporates over time and creates “headspace” which increases the surface area of the wine and makes it vulnerable to oxidation. Topping the barrels replaces the evaporated wine, limiting oxygen contact and inhibiting microbial growth. The winemakers top the barrels with wine held back earlier in the winemaking process.


Pinot Noir 2017 among daffodils.


Pinot Noir 2017

New Release


We destemmed 80% of the hand-picked and hand-sorted pinot noir grapes while leaving 20% in whole clusters. They underwent an eight-day fermentation in open-top bins. The wine was then transferred to neutral French oak barrels where it aged nine months. Its resulting deep ruby red color entices you to inhale aromas of violet, spice and cherry cola. Flavors of juicy ripe cherry and cranberry meld into velvety tannins on the finish.



Pétillant Naturel 2019

New Release

Hand-harvested, estate grown Riesling and Gewürztraminer were whole-cluster pressed together in our wood basket press and fermented using a pied de cuve of indigenous yeasts. At 1.4 brix, the wine was bottled unfiltered and allowed to finish fermentation for carbonation. No sulfur was added and the wine has been left on its lees. Light, natural, and fizzy, it has a refreshing, spontaneous style.



Petillant Natural - New Release


From the Tasting Room

Winemaker, George Nosis, packing wine.

Although we are closed for tastings, we’re still busy preparing orders for pickup, local delivery, and shipping, and our tasting room has been converted to a mini warehouse. We are also now able to ship to Arizona and North Carolina!

Ground Shipping

Our $10 per case ground shipping special lasts through the end of April. Quantity and club discounts apply.

Curbside Pick-up

Order online and choose the "Pickup" option at checkout. When you arrive, park in the marked space and call (607) 546-8463 to let us know you’ve arrived. We'll bring your wine out to you and load it in your vehicle.

Local Delivery

Order wine by noon Monday through Friday for same-day local delivery. Call us at (607) 546-8463 or place an order online and select the "Local Delivery" shipping option. There is a six bottle minimum and a twenty-five-mile radius delivery limit.


Staff Updates


Aimee attending a teleconference.


Many of our staff members were out of the area—and Matteo was even out of the country—when the President issued social distancing guidelines. All are healthy, but they’re sheltering in place for the time being. Other employees are staggering shifts and telecommuting to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Some employees working from home have gained new co-workers: four-legged furry friends who don’t necessarily respect office etiquette during video conference calls!

Lily had a prime spot on Aimee’s lap for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail marketing teleconference.

We’ll be bringing you updates on our social media channels about how our staff is weathering the stay-at-home order.

Amanda, with her new co-workers.

Amanda’s new co-worker, Storm, got tired of watching from the sidelines and decided to take over while Bali was upset her favorite break spot in the sun was occupied. 


Check out our Events Calendar for the latest events at and around Atwater Vineyards.

Time Posted: Apr 18, 2020 at 7:36 AM
Atwater Vineyards
April 17, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

Atwater Coloring Pages

Atwater coloring pages.

Kids and adults love to color: it’s both fun and creative. But there are other benefits, too. Coloring can help with relaxation, stress reduction, and displacing negative emotions, something most of us can use right now!

We’re happy to bring you three free coloring pages based on our bestselling t-shirt and sweatshirt designs.

Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, we’d love to see it! If you care to share, please post on social media and tag #atwaterwine.


Serpent (PDF)

Bubbly Octopus (PDF)

Wine Vine (PDF)

Time Posted: Apr 17, 2020 at 11:20 AM
Atwater Vineyards
April 9, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

Trellis Management at Atwater Vineyards in the Finger Lakes of New York

Trellis Management
Chris King, Vineyard Manager

Understanding and effectively utilizing our resources is key to growing grapes and that begins with canopy management. Canopy management defines how we use the space in the vineyard and refers to anything that physically manipulates how the vines grow. It starts with plant spacing and includes pruning, tying, leaf removal, shoot and fruit thinning, hedging, and trellising. In this post, we will discuss trellising and how we train the vines to grow in the way that most benefits our winemaking goals.

Many different trellis designs and systems are used throughout the world, some simple, and some very complex. Atwater exists in a cool climate growing region, so our major concern is maximizing sun exposure for better fruit quality and disease control. The characteristics of the different varieties we are growing help us to decide how to trellis them. We consider such things as growth habit, susceptibility to disease, and the ripening characteristics of each variety. Hybrid and native varieties are typically more disease resistant and easier to ripen consistently than are vinifera varieties, for example.

Vinifera Grapes

At Atwater Vineyards, 90% of our vineyard is comprised of vinifera varieties which can make unique and complex wines and are highly influenced by growing practices. For these types of grapes, we use either a Vertical Shoot Positioned (VSP) or, more typically, a Scott Henry (SH) system. In VSP, all of the growing shoots are trained up (vertically) with sets of “catch wires.” Scott Henry is also a VSP system, but it is divided so that half of the shoots are trained down instead of up.

VSP vs. SH  credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart

VSP vs. SH
credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart

When we divide the canopy, the fruit is more exposed and all of the space is utilized which reduces disease pressure, promotes fruitfulness of the shoots, and increases ripeness. To do this, we make several passes through the vineyard to move wires and train shoots. Around bloom (mid-June), we separate the top and bottom tiers and begin rolling the bottom part of the canopy down as well as training the top part of the canopy up. As the shoots continue to grow, we make another pass or two to train shoots between the top set of catch wires.

When we divide the canopy, the fruit is more exposed and all of the space is utilized which reduces disease pressure, promotes fruitfulness of the shoots, and increases ripeness. To do this, we make several passes through the vineyard to move wires and train shoots. Around bloom (mid-June), we separate the top and bottom tiers and begin rolling the bottom part of the canopy down as well as training the top part of the canopy up. As the shoots continue to grow, we make another pass or two to train shoots between the top set of catch wires.

Photo of black clips used to manage vineyard wires.

The black clips in the picture allow wires to be hooked and unhooked from those particular locations. We start with them in positions below the growing shoots and move them up as the shoots grow longer.

Photo of vines, an open canopy with good fruit exposure that makes beautiful wine.

The result is an open canopy with good fruit exposure that makes beautiful wine.

Hybird Grapes

We use Umbrella Kniffin and High Wire Cordon systems for hybrid grapes because they are very low maintenance and well-suited to hybrids since they encourage a naturally open canopy.

Drawing of trellis system.

Umbrella Kniffin

High Wire Cordon

credit: Sunlight into Wine by Richard Smart 

Umbrella Kniffin is a cane pruned system, and High Wire Cordon is a spur pruned system. When we prune our vines, we can either leave canes or cordons. Fruit is produced on new growth coming from two-year-old wood. We can either remove all but a few canes (usually two to four) that grew the previous season or we can shorten many of the canes that grew last year to very short canes or “spurs.”  While pruning is a discussion unto itself, the basic premise is that we are trying to judge how many buds we can leave so that we have enough green growth (leaves and shoots) to support the amount of fruit that is growing. If we have too much fruit and not enough leaves, the grapes will not ripen properly and the vines will weaken over time, and if we have too many leaves and not enough fruit, the fruit will also not ripen properly and disease will be more prevalent.  Both of Umbrella Kniffin and High Wire Cordon encourage shoots to naturally grow in a way that gives good fruit exposure when pruned properly and paired with the appropriate variety. 

By beginning with effective trellis management, we are able to produce the maximum amount of healthy, flavorful grapes at harvest.

Time Posted: Apr 9, 2020 at 9:45 AM
Atwater Vineyards
March 15, 2020 | Atwater Vineyards

The Atwater Times - March 2020

View from Atwater's deck overlooking Seneca Lake.Be sure to tune in to our LIVE webcam to watch March transition from a lion to a lamb.



Vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake

We’ve passed the time of year when we expect to get our major cold events and have not seen significant bud damage, so we decided to push through and finish pruning the vineyards. Now we hope we don’t have a frost event after the vines have started to grow in the spring!

With pruning done, we’ve returned to trellis work to get things ready for tying. We’re repairing posts and wires now so that we can then tighten the wires. The canes left after pruning will be wrapped around the wires for support. The wires need to be tight so that they can support the weight of the fruit as the vines grow.


Our winemakers have been undertaking blending trials of skin-fermented, barrel-aged Vignoles 2016, Riesling 2016, and Gewürztraminer 2017. Vinny and George are also preparing to bottle our 2019 Vignoles and Stone Bridge White at the end of March.

Bottle of Fahrenheit on a table overlooking Seneca Lake

New Release
Fahrenheit 2016

Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were handpicked and frozen for three weeks then whole-clustered pressed, cold-settled, racked and fermented in stainless steel. After fermentation was stopped, the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine has aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and orange marmalade, intriguing flavors of apricot, honey, allspice, and strawberry jam, and a delightful silky texture.

Purchase Fahrenheit


Tasting room photo showing tables in the tasting room.

We've rearranged our tasting room to give you more room to sit and enjoy our wines. Please join us for a tasting and see our new look!

Spring holidays are on the horizon, and we will be posting wine cocktail recipes Amanda developed for you to use for brunches and other special events. Our first featured drink is the MoonWalk. Check out our social media in the upcoming weeks for more delicious cocktails.



1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz. orange liqueur
3 drops rose water

Shake with ice

Top with Sparking Gewürztraminer 2013

 Photo of MoonWalk cocktail in a champagne flute.



Club party hayride.

Our annual Wine Club Party will be held on June 13th from 5:00 until sunset. Enjoy hayride tours throughout the vineyards, vertical wine tastings with the winemakers, great music with Aaron Lipp & the Slacktones, catered hors d'oeuvres with a full buffet dinner and delectable desserts. Close the evening by watching the sun set over the vineyards and Seneca Lake. Get your tickets here.

Time Posted: Mar 15, 2020 at 9:04 AM