Because of the importance of site selection, we invested a significant amount of time determining where we should, quite literally, plant our roots. Tom pored over county soil maps, went on field scouting excursions, and researched the geology of the region to find the most optimal location for growing Pinot Noir.
Our Estate Vineyard is located adjacent to the winery, on the east side of Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake is the longest of the lakes, at 38 miles, and is 435 feet deep at its deepest point. Our vineyard is located about 650 feet from the Cayuga Lake shoreline on Carr’s cove. The proximity to Cayuga Lake, as well as the influence of Lake Ontario provides winter protection for the vines and moderates the temperature throughout the year.
The vineyard is situated on the Onondaga formation – which features limestones and dolostones from the middle Devonian age. The vines are planted in 3 blocks which are underpinned by the limestone, yet each have different soil profiles. The lower block is predominantly a sandy, well-drained soil. The middle and upper block are clay based, with a significant amount of dolomite in the middle block. The presence of limestone within the vineyard will assist the vines with nutrient up-take and provide a solid foundation, so to speak, for our Pinot Noir and Riesling Vines.
Early in the growing season, the emerging buds on the vine are shoot thinned to ensure proper fruit set. Sustainable viticultural methods are practiced throughout the year, creating a greater balance for the vine and surrounding ecosystem.
At veraison, leaf pulling is performed to expose the clusters to the sunlight, maximizing the potential for proper ripening. Additionally, unripe clusters are removed to enable the vines to redirect energy to the primary fruit zone.
Once the fruit has achieved proper intensity, the individual grape clusters are hand picked to ensure gentle handling. After hand picking, the grapes are transferred to the winemaking team, who begin the tasks necessary to preserve the pure essence of the fruit.