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When most people think about American wines, they think California, Washington state and Oregon all of which feature world-class winemakers and wines and have temperate climates and microclimates that enable vitis Vinifera grapevines to thrive. But in the United States, the third largest wine producer is across the continent in the cold-climate state of New York. Of course, it is necessary to put this statistic in proper perspective; namely, that New York has the 4th largest population by state in the United States, so the destination of a lot of this production is to a large home market. In contrast, wines produced in the smaller states of Washington and Oregon have more renown, thus reaching more markets outside of their respective states. And then there is California, which dwarfs every other state by exponential factors in every category of winemaking, from vines planted to consumption to production to total acreage to the number of AVAs.
Source: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/wine-production-by-state
Regardless, we’re still talking a lot of vitis Vinifera-sourced wine production in New York, especially for a state with long, cold, snowy winters. We emphasize “vitis Vinifera” in this context because only about 15% of New York’s total grapes come from vitis Vinifera vines, which are not native to the Americas. Over 80% of vineyards in New York comprise vitis Labrusca, which are native to North America and include varietals such as the Concord and Catawba grapes. But vitis Labrusca varietals do not begin to compare to vitis Vinifera for winemaking and are used mostly to produce sacramental wines or grape juice (e.g., Manischewitz, Welch’s).
For the uninitiated, an AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the equivalent of an appellation in Europe. It is an official delimited grape-growing region with specific geographic or climatic features that distinguish it from other areas, which is sanctioned by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Unlike in Europe, AVAs do not go as far as dictating varietals and blends, mostly because there are no vitis Vinifera grapes that are native to any American regions.
New York has 11 AVAs. 
Again, for perspective and to illustrate the limitations that a cold-weather state has for the proliferation of Vitis vinifera, Washington state has 20 AVAs and Oregon has 20. California has 147! And to add even more perspective, only five AVAs within two regions are significant players in even the New York wine market let alone outside of the state: three are in the Finger Lakes region, the Finger Lakes AVA, Cayuga Lake AVA, and Seneca Lake AVA; and one is in Long Island, the Northfork AVA. There more AVAs within these regions, and there are three more regions, also, but these two regions and five AVAs dominate the market given their microclimates, in turn attracting increasingly more winemaking talent. And of course, we’ve sourced your wines from these two regions.


he huge glacier-formed lakes of the Finger Lakes are a crucial factor to viticulture in the region as they insulate vineyards from the harsh, icy winters of northern New York and then in the summer, they cool them, providing both the length and climate-controlled growing seasons needed for vitis Vinifera to thrive. The seasons are short, however, and for the most part cool, which is why the hardy Riesling grape is the star in this region as it flourishes in short, cool seasons, such as in the mountain climates of Alsace in France and northern Italy, and the northeastern continental climates of Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe.

As such, an influx of modern European winemakers saw the potential of growing Riesling in the Finger Lakes in the mid-20th century. However, there have been vineyards in the region for much longer, and other varietals have been targeted for the climate, such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Malbec and Chardonnay, and a quirky varietal native to the country of Georgia called Teinturier, or Saperavi.
Source: http://www.wineandvinesearch.com/united_states/new_york/finger-lakes.php

Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke
Featured June Amaro Wine Club New York wine: Hermann J. Wiemer Riesling Dry Seneca Lake (2021)

Hermann Wiemer emigrated from Bernkastel, Germany in the 1960s where he founded a winery in the Finger Lakes. He came from family with over 300 years of winemaking history in the Mosel where arguably the most renowned Riesling wines in the world hail. His family was so reputable in the industry that his father was tasked by the German government to restore vines in the Mosel region that had been destroyed after World War II. It was from his father that Hermann learned to graft vines, a skill he used to plant his first vineyards next to Seneca Lake in 1976. Since 2007, the winery has been taken over by Hermann’s apprentice Fred Merwarth along with the agronomist Oskar Bynke who are both dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming.
This wine is sourced from all three of the estates vineyards on the west side of Seneca Lake from vines that average 20 years of age. The grapes are hand-harvested, whole-cluster pressed and not fined or filtered for a Riesling that rivals those of the “Old World”.

FOOD PAIRINGS: seafood, Thai, sushi, veggies, garlic and lighter poultry. 
Featured June Amaro Wine Club New York wine: Standing Stone Vineyards Teinturier Saperavi (2022)
VARIETALS: Teinturier (Saperavi)

Between 1972 and 1975, Charles Fournier and Guy Devaux planted Chardonnay and Riesling vines on what would become the Standing Stone site. The Standing Stone Vineyard was later established in 1991 by the Macinski family and expanded to include other varietals, and very recently the estate was expanded and folded into the properties of Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke of Hermann J. Wiemer.

The Saperavi grape is native to the country of Georgia, which is credited with being the birthplace of winemaking over 5,000 years ago. What makes the varietal especially unique is that its pulp is also pigmented to the color of the skins. The pulp in most grapes is clear. And, in fact, when a wine is made from a red grape without fermenting along with the skins, the clear pulp results in a white-colored wine that is classified as a white wine. But the Saperavi pulp, when pressed and not allowed to ferment with the skins, produces pink-colored wine. Now technically a rosé wine is made from red grapes with some skin contact to produce a pink-colored wine. So what do we call this wine that has only been pressed with no skin contact? The producer chooses to call it a rosé, but it must be noted that even limited contact with grape skins passes on chemical components, including tannins, that are lacking in wine without skin contact. So are we drinking a white wine or rosé wine? We’ll let you decide.

Merwarth and Bynke purposely source these Saperavi grapes from young vines (3-5 years of age) on the North and Long blocks of the Standing Stone estate. They’re hand-picked, direct pressed and there is no fining or filtering, and only 485 cases are produced.

FOOD PAIRINGS: soft cheeses, cured meats, lamb dishes, roast pork, veal, chicken stew
The Standing Stone Vineyards vines are planted literally next to the lake, which provides the microclimate that allows them to flourish.


Long Island juts out into the Atlantic but with the continent to its north to form the body of water called the Long Island Sound, which contributes to a microclimate on the north side of the island. The word “fork” in “North Fork” becomes obvious when you look at the region on a map. At this most eastern section of Long Island the island forks north and south. The northern fork, North Fork, has the Long Island Sound to its north and enclosed bays to the south, both acting as buffers to harsh Atlantic winds and storms, helping to moderate temperature fluctuations and extend the growing season at least a month longer than in other regions in New York, and summers are hotter than in the rest of New York, but with cooling breezes. Many viticulturists compare the climate, and even some of the terrain, to parts of Bordeaux. As such, Merlot, Chardonnay, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc are the most prevalent varietals in the region.
Source: http://www.wineandvinesearch.com/united_states/new_york/long-island.php
Onabay Vineyards are in view of Pecanic Bay, and the Long Island Sound is two miles to the north
Featured June Amaro Wine Club New York wine: Onabay Vineyards Cabernet Franc Côt-Fermented North Fork of Long Island (2020)
VARIETALS: 88% Cabernet Franc, 12% Côt (Malbec)

Although Onabay Vineyards as an estate is new to the North Fork AVA, the land has a long farming history, and the Anderson family is already on its second generation of winemakers. Onabay combines original plantings from the 1990s with more recent high-density plantings.

For this wine, they hand-harvest the grapes and co-ferment the two different varietals together. They age the wine 18 months in French oak barrels knowing that the high acidity of the juice will temper any heavy-handedness the oak may impart.

FOOD PAIRINGS: creamy French cheeses, terrine, grilled fare, pomme gratin, penne with mushrooms