Be 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Navone Vineyards Riesling 2015
90 points, Editors' Choice
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.
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FROM THE TASTING ROOM
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.
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.
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.
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.
We're proud to announce three new releases, perfect for fall weather and cooler temperatures.
Low Inventory Alert!
We are running low on the following wines. Be sure to grab your favorites before they're gone.
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.
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.
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.
IN THE VINEYARD
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.
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.
"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.
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.
ATWATER AFTER HOURS
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, 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.
Visit our Calendar of Events
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...